Broadband Mechanics provides the PeopleAggregator white label social networking system both as a downloadable and a hosted solution.
View a chart that we compiled in Summer 2007 that compares this company’s SaaS social networking product to other hosted solutions. Also, check out another chart compiled around the same time that compares this company’s downloadable solution to a different set of competitors.
|Launch Date||July 15, 2006|
|Tags||social-networking, white-label, wiki, open-social-networking, open-is-the-new-black, distributed-friending|
Broadband Mechanics’ PeopleAggregator is an experiment in building social networks around open standards so that people can easily move between networks, whether or not those networks are run by the same owners or contain the same features. If the social networking world were run the way Broadband Mechanics’ CEO Marc Canter envisions, Facebook users would easily be able to carry their identity (including all the information they owned on Facebook) over to MySpace, Orkut, and Friendster. Then any changes to their identities on those networks could be brought back over to Facebook.
As a model for this sort of interoperability, PeopleAggregator (which comes in both hosted and downloadable versions) implements the OpenID authentication system and strives to support all open standard identity schemes. Broadband Mechanics also provides an API that is meant to enable the import and export of data to or from a PeopleAggregator network. As a long run strategy, the company entreats web service providers to embrace open standards that facilitate interfacing between social networks and non-social networks such as Google Calendar, YouTube, and Yahoo Messanger.
Five years from now, we may look back on PeopleAggregator and consider it a pioneering product. However, in its present condition the platform is clunky and unsatisfying. Others seem to agree: the largest network on PeopleAggregator, Poker Players Alliance, with 499 members gave up on PeopleAggregator and moved its operations to an old school, phpBB forum.
PeopleAggregator could be improved in a number of obvious ways. For starters, the company could and should promptly clean up the platform’s landing page, which is littered with nonsensical text that doesn’t exactly create sellar a first impression. More substantially, the company ought to allow for at least some management of advertisements and to permit more control over the structure and styling of networks. Unless you are banking on open standards as the way of the future, there’s not much for you here.