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What Should We Do With Our Pageflake?

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 11:14 UK time, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

So yesterday Herd blog wrote a post praising the Internet blog's use of Pageflakes.

Then all of a sudden our Pageflakes changed.

A load of flakes that we hadn't subscribed to suddenly appeared (I'm sure the E! channel is very nice but it's got nothing to do with the BBC), including a "sponsored links" flake (or advert as I prefer to call it).

We have removed the flakes we don't want. But the advert cannot be removed or even moved to a less prominent position.

I understand that Pageflakes have to make money. But we've had our flake for nearly a year with no advertising on it so it's irritating for it to suddenly appear now. And my anguished plea on the Pakeflakes forum has (at time of writing) so far gone unanswered.

So I have a dilemma.

I love Pageflakes. It's an essential tool for me to track conversation about the BBC.

fat_flake.jpgBut I hate the ad. I don't need a Jaguar car and I already know the answer to the question "Why am I fat?".

Does anyone apart from me actually use the Internet blog's pageflake? Because if you don't we may scrap the flake and find another way.

Or there any alternatives I could use which will not serve up ads?

Nick Reynolds is editor, BBC Internet blog


  • Comment number 1.

    I do. Although I admit I suppose I could set up my own with exactly the same feeds in it. Given that I'm already having major headaches with Outlook today, I'd prefer it if I didn't have to set up my own pageflakes thingy with all those BBC feeds in. My to-do list is growing steadily.

  • Comment number 2.

    Netvibes doesn't use adverts. At least, not yet.

  • Comment number 3.

    I would be relatively easy to create something that did the same job yourselves. But I imagine it would hard for it to be a priority for your development team.

  • Comment number 4.

    @thegreatgonzo ... We're looking into perhaps trying an open source alternative. Open to suggestions.

    @almostwitty ... Have been experimenting with Netvibes. Their T+Cs say they can add adverts if they wish, although as you say, they haven't as yet. Wouldn't want to make up the page again only to find it covered in ads at a later stage, particularly as there doesn't seem to be a standard import/export format for this sort of thing (unlike, for example the OPML file for RSS feed readers).

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't use the BBC's pageflake but that is mainly because I use netvibes rather than pageflakes. If you had it on netvibes then I'd have added it to one of my tabs.

    I can see the sponsored content box but not the adverts (because the adblock plus extension on firefox is removing them). I'd guess it won't be long before somebody will come up with a greasemonkey or stylish script that will remove it (for firefox users at least).

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Nick, well the last thing I intended with my post was that Pageflakes would start messing around with what's on there!

    As previous comments have said, Netvibes doesn't serve up ads, and it's one of the reasons why we chose it (netvibes.com/cowpr.com) for our stuff.

    Having said that, CNET did identify Netvibes as potentially one of 11 tech businesses that would suffer in the recession (http://tinyurl.com/44275f%29 so you may be on safer ground with Pageflakes

    The fact remains though, what you guys have done with your page is both incredibly comprehensive and transparent.

  • Comment number 7.

    What is the problem, surely you of all people know that these services have to be paid for somehow. Instead of whinging abot it why not click on one of the adverts every now and again to support a service that you claim to love using.

    Netvibes will go the same route if they become more popular and have to upgrade their servers time after time.

    If you really want an advert free version then pay up and get you're own.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Nick,

    The question your blog is about is really - "Should the BBC (which people like because it is ad-free) do free(and therefore use less license money) stuff on free sites (like Pageflake)(which have to have advertising to be free)?"

    A good but difficult question for the beeb.

    Mr. Sambrook to lead methinks.


  • Comment number 9.


  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is the question which drives the future of the internet, really. The clamour grows for software and services to move online rather than be tied to the desktop, and with that comes equal clamour for those services to be cost-free to the user.

    Those same users then complain when they get those services covered in advertising.

    It is a simply economic proposition.

    If you want a service to be provided free of charge then you have to be prepared to live with the service provider covering its costs from somewhere else, and that somewhere else will usually be advertising revenue.

    If you are prepared to pay for a service then you have a right to expect not to have the service covered in adverts.

    It really isn't rocket science and, whilst I understand the BBC's dilemma in this, you did't really expect to use the Pageflake service indefinitely at no cost, without advertising appearing at some point, did you?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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