PeopleAggregator has trouth-mubble

Every since Tara Hunt wrote about PeopleAggregator a few days ago, I’ve been wondering what PeopleAggregator is, precisely.

Marc Canter gave some more details today on his blog, a note that they are launching, and also provided a link to Richard MacManus’ explanation of the service.

According to MacManus, PeopleAggregator is the following (and I’m really, really editing here to try to just come up with the bones of the system, while taking out all of the speculation as to what this could become):

  • a social network system
  • that is the first ever open network (meaning you can get your data out)
  • an identity management system (perhaps not first and foremost, but certainly a necessary part of the service)
  • a place to create and access all the data you create all over the web (photos at Flickr, blog posts at, song preferences at, profiles at MySpace, and so on …

While not an elegant and simple message, taken by itself this appears to make some sense, be fairly differentiated from what a lot of other people are doing, and provide some value to individuals. (What value it provides to Flickr or MySpace, I haven’t a clue.)

But PeopleAggregator’s message on their home page is entirely different again. Right on the first page, PA is three things to three distinctly different types of people. The type of people I’m most interested in are people like myself, so here’s what the message to the hoi polloi is:

The PeopleAggregator is a feature rich, personal publishing oriented system.

Hrmm … sounds different. A lot simpler, but not very much like an open hub for all your digital detritus.

So in an attempt to learn more and get the definitive answer, you delve into the multi-slide presentation – a very PowerPoint(less) type of presentation.

Here there’s a ton of jargon (“social network web service,” “identity hub,” “open APIs, “normalized namespace,” before you actually get into the features. Several pages of features, which appear fairly standard for a social network, and then back into the jargon with “Identity Hub Architecture.”

I’m a fairly technical person – I’ve led a web development team, built a simple content management system from scratch, know all the TLAs (three-letter-acronyms), and can be pretty sure I know what they’re doing, but I’m not totally certain. Everywhere I look, the message is a little different.

For instance, the Broadband Mechanics home page (Marc Canter’s company, the creator of People Aggregator) has an entirely new piece of jargon, Digital Lifestyle Aggregators, and a significantly different message.

At that, I give up. What precisely does PeopleAggregator do? I suspect they don’t precisely know themselves. That may be because the company and the concept are in the very early stages, and I think that’s exactly what Tara Hunt said in her first post.

OK. I can understand that. I’ve been there.

My only advice: figure it out fast. Right now, there are too many words, too many messages.

PeopleAggregator: stop talking, I’m trying to understand you!

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hrm, interesting.

    Same basic building block, of course: the blocky outline of a human body, same number of people (3), but very different placement, sizing, overlapping, and coloration.

    It doesn’t strike me as a copy, though.

  • I think PeopleAggregator has the right concept of creating an open social network, they are just implementing it in the wrong ways.

    First, if they expect other companies to utilize their open-network structure, PeopleAggregator should NOT have a central login site. Second, they should be in the business of aggregating user-to-user relationships, NOT the data. Once you have the relationships, the data will flow by itself.

    The way I envision an open-network is one company aggregates user-to-user relationships. Those relationships can be taken anywhere, and used for just about anything. If Flickr wants to implement it, then their existing social structure will be carried over. If another company implements it, then you now have the ability to communicate across services and share information (from Service A to Service B).

  • I’m wondering if the whole concept of an “open social network” is an oxymoron. After all, aren’t social networks defined by their edges as much as (or more so) than their centers?

    That said, I do want a service that aggregates digital me. But that seems to be only a tiny piece of what PeopleAggregator wants to be.

  • I am trying to find the best way to get a proper value of things being put on ebay.
    Is the best way simply to look at “finished auctions” or are there services. These are both electronics and stuff I’ve had since childhood?