The already highly competitive startpage space saw an interesting new play tonight when YourMinis.com relaunched with a changed site and a new strategy.
YourMinis is a beautiful aggregation of RSS feeds and web functionality that competes with Pageflakes, Netvibes and a long list of other startpage services. YourMinis reports having more than 800,000 user accounts but remains well behind its leading competitors. It does score high in the Wow department – I’ve never added a live PandaCam from the San Diego Zoo to Netvibes with two clicks, for example.
Just minutes ago the site relaunched with an HTML home page placing new emphasis on highlighting users, featured widgets and topical widget collections. The startpage has been moved to yourminis.com/start Over the next few weeks the company will roll out a public API for developers to use in building their own YourMinis widgets.
The company will also demonstrate integration with Apollo at the Adobe conference next week – meaning that YourMinis widgets will be able to be constructed on the web and used on the desktop.
Highlighting the social in a startpage application sounds interesting, but I’m not sure how much demand there is for it. I would love to be proven wrong about that – may a million minis bloom and be gobbled up by users hungry for well compiled startpage tabs. Looking at the featured Chicago Cubs page that appears on the left (as a mini mini, if you will) I can imagine the appeal. Top blogs, video sources and other dynamic feeds on a given topic compiled by someone who wants to share their knowledge on that topic. Unfortunately things like that have been tried many times already. Presumably being ugly isn’t the only problem with Squidoo, for example.
A good API and Apollo integration could be interesting but I think the strength of YourMinis will remain the sharp visual appeal of the service and its solid handling of the basics. If that’s not good enough to build traction for the company in the face of as much competition as it faces, I don’t know what will be.