PersonalBee & Squidoo (fight! fight! fight!)

I first wrote about thepersonalbee (blog) in this post: Tracking memes… and our world views

I went back for a visit today. Hmmm… it's relaxing.


I really like the simple interface. Not to ajaxified, not to techy. The left hand column "popular public bees" is so simple and inviting. (I didn't immediately see that this was a scrollable region though).


Look at the simplicity of their message:


DISCOVER the news you care about.

SHARE the news with friends, family or colleagues.

BUILD your own news website or add news to your own blog or site.

So simple. I looked at some of the Bees and chose to view the Iraq one. Check out the 4 views. The search panel is well placed to the right hand side.

I ventured over to Squidoo to find their lens for "Iraq war" and searched for it. Their search engine suggested the tag "iraqwar" so I took that, and it told me "Congratulations you're the first to search for this term" and then offered to build a lens for it. Wow. No lens for the tag iraqwar that YOU suggested? Anyway, I persisted and searched for the "best lense" about Iraq.

Do yourself a favor and compare these two pages that are covering the same topic: Squidoo Iraq and Personal Bee Iraq

Alexaholic doesn't agree with me though. I wondered why Personalbee isn't doing better. I went to their blog. I found the following:

  • The UI that I like is brand new. I am convinced it will work well for them!
  • It seems that the Bee creation process was far complicated – they eventually needed a help file online and are now making a Bee creation wizard

How does Personalbee make money (from Siliconbeat)?

How does it make money? The Personal Bee writes a cookie to your browser, which sees the news that you are reading. The cookie is operated by a third-party company, called Revenue Science, which collects information about you from other sites you travel too. All this information helps Revenue Science serve up ads to other publishers — ads that are specific to what the system perceives your interests are. (ABC News, ESPN, Financial Times, Newsweek all serve the same Revenue Science cookie, so Personal Bee is not exceptional here).

Revenue Science serves up ads on other Web sites that you surf, but not on Personal Bee, which has decided not to run ads.


Another good review on it.

Let me give you my three favorite reasons to like Personal Bee:

  1. I choose who’s important. I can calibrate Personal Bee to let me choose what RSS feeds are important to me on any particular topic.
  2. Time relevance. Personal Bee  places a three-day time frame around an event.
  3. Phrase Clouds replace Tag Clouds.

One Response to “PersonalBee & Squidoo (fight! fight! fight!)”

  1. Ted Shelton Says:

    …and coming next week a set of wizards for making your own Bees. And following that an improved discovery process for finding Bees (there are almost enough now – 65 – to need such a tool…).

    We are taking a very different approach to building awareness for The Personal Bee then Squidoo took. I am interested in the snowball, rolling along, gathering speed, growing in size… not the big bang of a flashy launch. So I am not afraid to quietly release a product that isn’t entirely finished. I just don’t yell too loudly about it. As we learn from our users what is important and what isn’t, we improve it, and start to speak more loudly.

    Also, we are building a product for the mass market. So we know that many of the 53,651 readers of Techcrunch are going to look at what we are doing and say “gee, where is the ajax wizardry” and move on. So if the measure of how we are doing is the number of write-ups we have gotten from web 2.0 technorati… well, that isn’t our goal.

    But most important, as you correctly point out the new interface is very recent. When you compare the alexa stats between the Bee and Squidoo — remember that our beta went live on April 10th. Squidoo went live in December.

    Now, all of this is not to say that we don’t have a lot of room for improvement. One review (Pete Cashmore’s Mashable) recently described our UI as “clunky” — which I agree with and can’t wait to fix. And there are a lot of our social media features that we need to make more intuitive.

    One example that we are struggling with right now — we have five star ratings for articles. Does anyone need or want five stars? What about simplifying to the Digg It model? We are experimenting.

    So – thank you for coming by and looking, thank you for the kind things that you say and please consider this an open invitation to join our community, our list of Beekeepers, and our list of partners that are putting Bee widgets on their blogs…


    Ted Shelton, CEO
    The Personal Bee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: