The Personalized Homepage War: Who Matters

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Blogged Hopes to Become the Yelp of Blog Directories

It’s time for an update on the personalized homepage wars – Netvibes and Pageflakes tend to get most of the press attention, and they are certainly pushing the envelope and trying to find new ways to make their services useful to users. But those two services have less than 4% of the market for personalized homepages between them (I have emailed both companies to see if their internal stats match what we have below).

About a year ago I posted the visitor stats for the big players in this space – MyYahoo, iGoogle, MyMSN and MyAOL/MyNetscape. All of these services provide a drag and drop interface that allows users to put whatever content they like on their home page, through specialized modules or via RSS feeds. Most of them support third party widgets as well. At that time, Yahoo had significantly more visitors than all of the other services combined – 70% of the 72 million or so visitors to all of the sites combined. At the time, Netvibes and Pageflakes were not large enough to be tracked by Comscore. Now they are.

One thing to note on the data – it does not take into account duplications (where a user visits multiple of these sites, they are counted as users of all of the sites), so the numbers are really only to show relative size).

Based on January 2008 Comscore stats, Yahoo still leads the category, although they’ve dipped about 6% to 47 million monthly visitors. Their market share has dropped to 57%. Google, on the strength of homepage promotion of iGoogle, has tripled to 22 million monthly visitors, putting them in second place with 26% market share. MyMSN and MyAOL/MyNetscape are next, with 10% and 3.3% market share, respectively. Then, at the end, Netvibes and Pageflakes.

Not on the chart is GlobalGrind, a hip-hop centric personalized home page that launched in September 2007. They now have 144,000 monthly unique visitors of their own. Not bad for a site that’s less than six months old.

A total of $20 million or so in venture capital has gone into Pageflakes and Netvibes. But without a major portal or search engine to feed them new users, growth is going to continue to be hard v. the big guys. And since all the big portals already have their own products, they won’t be looking to acquire these startups unless they get a lot of users on their site. It’s going to be a long haul.

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