Flavors.me, the dead-simple service for building your own personal profile page, is launching a major redesign on Tuesday, with features that position it to take on the blogging juggernaut that is the Tumblr pageview machine. Among a number of improvements to the service’s tools, user interface and design, the most notable new addition is that of a “follow” button which will now appear on every Flavors.me profile page. This button lets you follow the posts from other Flavors.me users, which includes their aggregated updates from around the social Web, such Twitter posts, Facebook status updates, blog posts, Instagram photos and Foursquare check-ins.
But more importantly, the “follow” button is laying the groundwork for Flavors.me’s next move: support for content creation.
According to Flavors.me CEO Jonathan Marcus, content creation is “a big next step” for the company. Currently, the service acts as a tool that helps users aggregate their postings from around the Web, by generating a personal profile page that lets them introduce themselves via a brief bio and a set of links. When you click on the links, the content – a post, a photo, a check-in, a song, etc. – displays directly on the Flavors.me page. The service does not, however, lend itself to original content creation as of yet.
Instead, Flavors.me is generally regarded only as the smaller competitor to the now AOL-owned About.me (Disclosure: AOL is TechCrunch’s parent company). About.me already has a user directory of sorts and “star” button that lets you save your favorite user profiles. These are similar to the features that Flavors.me is now adding. But where AOL is working on deeper About.me integration into AOL properties like mail and AIM, Flavors.me wants to expand into more of a personal publishing platform.
“We started out with the Flavors.me profile, then added the streams,” explains Marcus, referring to the new social features, “so the next step is to create content on Flavors.me itself.” That content wouldn’t necessarily have to be a blog post, he says. It could also be static content, like your resume, for example. Users will also be able to favorite and reblog others’ posts further down the road.
While these additions haven’t yet gone live, Marcus notes that heading down this path isn’t a strategic shift for the company. “Social has always been the bigger vision,” he says. With these upgrades, the first of which are rolling out now, “people will have a reason to come back and engage with Flavors.me on a daily basis.”
In terms of what’s coming with Tuesday’s upgrade, Flavors.me is rolling out a number of improvements, including a fullscreen lightbox option for viewing photos and videos, slideshow support, several new visualization options for content (e.g., column options that range from 1 to 6), the ability to pull in all your photos, not just the latest, an expanded selection of fonts (now over 200), new layout options and more. In total, the company has added 25 or so of the top feature requests from its users in this upgrade, including much-needed mobile support. Given that 10% of Flavors.me users arrive via mobile, that alone was an important addition.
As far as the “follow” option goes, the support has been thoughtfully designed. It’s not an all-or-nothing toggle switch delivering a firehose of updates or nothing at all. Instead, you can choose to follow select services from select users through a variety of easy-to-access filtering options that let you turn off updates from certain noisy individuals or services. That way, you can turn off someone’s Twitter updates, for example, while still enjoying their Instagram shares. And you don’t need to be a member of any service to view the posts.
There aren’t too many new services available in the upgrade, just Songkick and sister property Goodsie, but Marcus says Google+ support is only a few weeks out. For the up-and-coming Pinterest, however, they’re still waiting on the API. Altogether, Flavors.me now supports more than 30 services.
Flavors.me has 750,000 users, 6% to 7% of which have upgraded to the premium (paid) version which offers an unlimited number of services, analytics and the ability to completely remove the Flavors.me branding. The company is owned and operated by HiiDef, which closed $3 Million+ in funding in September led by Alex Zubillaga of Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Additional angel investors include Dave Morin of Path, David Tisch of TechStars, Vimeo founder Jake Lodwick, Joey Levin of Mindspark, and John Foley of Barnes & Noble.
Current Flavors.me users won’t need to do anything to upgrade to the new version, the update will roll out automatically.