Ex-Yahoo Exec now Pageflakes CEO

Dan Cohen, till very recently Head of My Yahoo business for Sunnyvale, California-based web media and search company, has joined personalized web page start-up Pageflakes as its chief executive officer, according to our sources.

Cohen left Yahoo towards the end of 2006, proving our theory that Yahoo is the favorite farm system for start-up talent. Our sources say he has been working with Pageflakes for a few weeks.

The company is likely to announce a major facelift, including addition of some “social features” that would allow affinity groups – families, Yankee fans, friends – to set up communal pages where they can aggregate photos, videos and other content they want to share amongst themselves. Multiple people can post and maintain the pages, and the access can be restricted.

Cohen, who left Google to join Yahoo, has his work cutout – he has to improve the service and its performance if he wants Pageflakes to catch up with Netvibes. The biggest challenge for Cohen will be to convince users to switch away from dominant My Yahoo service . Google and Microsoft are no pushovers either. He will also have to work hard to repair the reputation of the little start-up, which took a beating due to some bugs.

The company was co-founded in October 2005 by Christoph Janz, Omar AL Zabir, Ole Braundenburg and Shahedul Huq Khandkar. It received seed funding from Benchmark Capital in May 2006. The amount invested in the company is said to range between $1 million to $3 million.

Despite an early start, the company has seemingly failed to keep up with Netvibes. At the DLD conference, Tariq Krim, founder and CEO of Paris-based Netvibes, claimed that the company now has 10 million users. In September 2006, NetVibes claimed to have 5 million users. There has been no independent verification of that data

pageflakesscreenshot5.png.

WebWorkerDaily recently reviewed most of the popular AJAX-based start pages, and felt that the whole group was still a work in progress. There are still no clear business models for many of these companies and not everyone is enamored by the personalized web pages, as seen by the still dominant position enjoyed by My Yahoo.


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