I'm trying to figure out what the hubbub is about the My Yahoo competitor Pageflakes tonight. Both TechCrunch and Mashable have just fallen over each other to cover what appears to be somewhat minor news about Pageflakes. These stories (and, obviously, this one too) are based on an embargoed press release that Pageflakes CEO Dan Cohen sent out last night, in which he boasts that, "over 100,000 Pagecasters...are enriching the lives of millions of Internet users around the world."
In English, this means that Pageflakes' community features are a success. And although the hype around this news is a bit much, these features, while not at all new, are really good. Pageflakes lets you easily share your own page with the entire Web, and another sharing option lets you make pages that can be edited by groups.
Dedicated "metagator" sites like OriginalSignal and PopUrls (two of my favorite reference sources) may not be long for this world. Pageflakes makes it possible for anyone to almost become their own Original Signal. For example, here's a (very lame, but you get the idea) Web 2.0 page I built in about 30 seconds.
I don't agree with Cohen that, "The mashed-up page is the ultimate user contribution," as he said to me in an IM. To me, the ultimate user contribution is original content--blogs, videos, and so on. Assembling and editing is a craft, to be sure, but creating is the core activity that makes aggregation businesses work.
But there are some cool Pageflakes community-created pages, which you can check out in the Pageflakes directory. There are some good ones in there. I like what Pageflakes enables, and it is good to see aggregation pages emerge as a new art form. Sort of.