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Flavors offers a centralized (and confusing) social hub

Flavors lets you put all your social networking eggs in one basket, but frankly you may not want to

Technology trends and news by Nathan Pensky
November 29, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/221d

For those struggling with chronic, social-networking addiction, you may want to check out the personalized Web content aggregation site Flavors.me, which allows users to connect all their various Web-centric selves, like Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm, into one big super-stream. Oh, the humanity!

What's more, Flavors.me, which launched in 2009, rolled out some interesting new updates Tuesday, allowing users to actually "follow" each other on the site for the first time, rather than just offering an aggregation hub. They've also updated their music player, making their application of online music services like HypeMachine, SoundCloud, 8Tracks, and Bandcamp more effective.

Other updates include new logo views for enterprise-level Flavors pages, mobile optimization, customized font and wallpaper options, as well as the new "tour date service," SongKick, which offers social networking solutions for music fans to share band tour info, and a new e-commerce hub, called Goodsie. In other words, yeah, a lot is going on over there.

Flavors allows users to connect over 30 different popular Web portals, including most of the biggies, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Foursquare, Last.fm, Netflix, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, and YouTube. Also, importantly, Flavors pulls together these services "natively," or with the value of the original site somewhat intact. The pictures pulled in from Flickr look as good as they do on Flickr, and the maps on Foursquare are still interactive, etc.

But if this is all still sounding a bit like Facebook, then you've been paying attention. Because even Flavors CEO Jonathan Marcus readily acknolwedges that there are major similarities between the two, while still touting his site as a better option, in a recent interview.

"The two key differences [between Flavors and Facebook] are the control over what is actually brought in," said Marcus to AllThingsD. "On Facebook, you don't have control. [For example], if you want to integrate Vimeo, you have to integrate your whole account.

"And then [the second difference] is the way in which that content is visualized. With Facebook, everything is really small. The font is 9 point. It's generally headlines of everything. So if you get a video, it's a video thumbnail. At Flavors, we've really tried to create a canvas where the content can shine."

All that said, it perhaps makes sense that the least "native" application on Flavors is Facebook, which only allows one aspect of a user's profile to be viewed at a time, as opposed to the more "everything but the kitchen sink" dashboard view on Facebook.

Other notable competitors include About.me, chi.mp, and UnHub. However, those other other sites don't allow users to "follow" each other, as has been implemented by Flavors in their new updates. As it is, in terms of social networking ability, Flavors's only competitor is Facebook.

Flavors has 750,000 users, most of them on free accounts. The site also offers a premium service for $20 per year, offering the user more control, the above-stated mobile application, and the option to create a customized url. Flavors, along with Goodsie, is owned by holding company HiiDef, which has secured $2.6M from investors like David Tisch of TechStars, Vimeo founder Jake Lodwick, Joey Levin of Mindspark, and John Foley of Barnes & Noble, among others.

The bad news about Flavors? It isn't exactly transparent or user-friendly. I have accounts on all of the major social netwokring hubs, and this one flat-out confused me. Opening a Flavors account took way longer than it should have, and after I was done, even after watching the site demo, I still wasn't entirely sure how it worked.

For the time being, we're going to have to put Flavors in the "this one has potential, but let's wait and see" pile. Hopefully Flavors doesn't go the way of Power.com, which raised some $5 million in venture capital. Powere.com is a similar social networking aggregation site that drew lawsuits from Facebook, had access blocked by MySpace, and went belly up in April 2011. (See an interview with Power.com back during its launch in 2008.)

Flavors could not be reached for immediate comment.


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