Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry has been working on a new startup since January, when Betabeat broke the news that he was leaving HuffPo. We knew it would be called RebelMouse and that it was a “social platform.” But we didn’t know much else about the stealthy site until today, when RebelMouse launches to the public.
RebelMouse is an easy personal website builder similar to About.me, which pulls in information from sites like LinkedIn and WordPress, where a user may already be established. RebelMouse does the same for social sites—the goal is to be your ”social front page.”
Log in with Twitter or Facebook, and RebelMouse creates a page annotated with your photo, name, bio and follower stats, and pulls content from your Twitter and Facebook streams. Tweets and status updates are laid out in newspaper columns, creating a Pinterest-y collage of photos, video and text. You can also post directly to RebelMouse and share to Twitter and Facebook. Items can also be dragged around and rearranged as you decide which photo should be front and center and which of your recent witty tweets should take lead left.
“People struggle way too much with their websites and still hate them. they are getting good on facebook, good on twitter and embarrassed of their sites,” Mr. Berry said in an email. RebelMouse is an attempt to make it simple and easy to keep a page “fresh, updated and social,” he said.
While RebelMouse doesn’t feel very rebellious, its particular mix of features and user-friendly dashboard make it pretty fun. But it’s not all games. RebelMouse has a miniature stats page for each post that tracks pageviews, clicks and distribution. RebelMouse’s stats team is “working on awesome stuff to help you understand how things are performing on each network” and that users can expect “a series of launches around that” over the next several weeks and months, Mr. Berry said.
And although a RebelMouse page is free and will always be free, Mr. Berry said, he’s charging $3 a month for individuals who want a custom domain and $3 a week for businesses. Sponsored content and ecommerce will be integrated into future releases.
Asked about the pricing, Mr. Berry explained that is wife is the CTO for Avaaz.org, which has done testing on the issue of recurring payments. “$3 is the price of a cup of coffee. its nothing. for individuals to pay that once a month and for businesses to pay that once a week is a no brainer.”
We wondered if the stats page alone would be enough to pull fashion brands from Tumblr, as they’ve been requesting an analytics feature for a long time. “We have influencers signed up in tons of verticals,” Mr. Berry wrote, adding that “the fashion boutique industry will get really interested when the ecommerce platform launches later this summer.”
Also in the works: mobile apps and “a very powerful discovery and consumption platform,” Mr. Berry said.
Ultimately, Mr. Berry has high hopes RebelMouse can achieve that ultimate marker of authoritativeness: “we do think that people will change their email signatures and twitter bio’s etc to point to their rebelmouse pages.”