Paul Berry, the former CTO of the Huffington Post, is pulling back the covers today on his stealth social publishing start-up RebelMouse, allowing users to get a look at the service and sign-up on the waiting list. The service is a publishing tool that lets people pull in and present their Twitter and Facebook content and mix it with stuff from the web, creating a very personal and dynamic page that represents who they are.
It’s like a flexible version of a Tumblr or WordPress site that is easy to configure, allowing users to create a very robust page out of existing and new content. It can serve as a more personal representation of a user, more than a Facebook, Pinterest or About.me page. RebelMouse users who sign-up for the waiting list today will soon be allowed to view the work of some early private beta testers. The site will open to the public in the next two to six weeks.
Berry told me the idea behind the site came from people constantly asking him for advice on how to create their own site. He said that can be too much of a struggle for people, something he set about trying to solve after leaving HuffPo in February.
“Right now, most of the world is on Facebook or Twitter, usually both. You’re spending way too much time and struggle and getting way too unsatisfactory results on your own website,” said Berry. “You need something to bring it together, to show who you are and that’s true of individuals and companies.”
Berry said the goal is to create something that’s fresh and social. So users can pick and choose what content they’ve shared through Facebook and Twitter and turn it into a post on a larger page. Or they can create an original post with their own media. There’s a bookmarklet for pulling in images from other sites, similar to Pinterest. And there’s analytics for each post so you can see how many people are reading it.
What’s cool about RebelMouse is you can easily arrange the different posts and freeze specific posts to a location, while the rest of the content is updated around it. That allows users to get out of the reverse chronological order that is common on most blogging platforms.
“Reverse chronological is very stone age,” Berry said. “It doesn’t represent how you’re thinking. There should be an element of recency but you should be able to highlight stuff you care about most.”
RebelMouse, the second start-up out of Berry’s SoHo Tech Labs incubator, will be working through the feedback of its private beta testers and adding new features before it opens up. The site will soon have more discovery features to allow people to easily browse what other people are doing. And there will be more sources of content including Instagram, Tumblr, RSS and others. Berry said RebelMouse is also adding a commerce function so people can sell things directly on their RebelMouse pages. And they’re also working on finding a way to connect creators with brands, who might be interested in sponsoring posts.
RebelMouse will be free to people who have their page hosted on the site. It will charge individuals $3 a month to power a domain. Bigger blogs and corporate pages will be charged $3 a week.
For the notoriously impatient Berry, who hates creating anything in stealth mode, it’s a big milestone to finally start lifting the covers on RebelMouse. The goal now is to quickly set the service loose and see how viral and sticky it can get.