RSS Woes Continue

If somebody had told me that The Old Reader is run by Russians, I would have never subscribed to it. Trust it to the Russians to get bored with a project just when it’s about to start bringing in money and requiring hard work.

Now The Old Reader is scheduled to die within two weeks, and I need a new place to move my blogroll. Is there anything but the hateful Feedly?

Is there a reason why nobody is creating a website for reading RSS feeds? It’s obvious that the demand is huge and there is a lot of money to be made from the project. Why is nobody jumping on the opportunity? Here is a ready-made pool of hundreds of thousands of users in the first week and tens of thousands in each subsequent day, but nobody wants these users. What is up with that? Websites are going out of their way to entice at least a few thousand to visit them, yet here is an opportunity going to waste.

The whole thing is completely bizarre. First, Google Reader goes out of business for no discernible reason. No The Old Reader throws potential profits out of the window and regales the users with some touchy-feely blabber about the psychological issues of its creators. Like we haven’t clocked on to their issues after seeing the endless pictures of kittens they have been posting on the website for days.

How is a person supposed to blog without a reliable RSS reader?

15 thoughts on “RSS Woes Continue

  1. Whenever you make these posts I keep asking: why do you not use a RSS reader that lives on your own computer? You wouldn’t *need* to care about someone continuing to provide good service, just find one program that works for you and never worry about this again. Seriously, unless you travel a lot without a laptop, there’s little point for a web-based feed reader.


    1. I don’t know Clarissa well enough, but I use TOR type readers because I can easily access them from any computer and any cellphone. And I use a ton of different devices.


  2. If I were a crazy conspiracy person (I’m not am I?) I’d say the Powers That Be have had enough of people blogging and being able to keep up with each other because they don’t like the wisdom of crowds that’s emerging on a whole host of ideas that are not to the PTB’s liking. Rather than do anything crude they’re slowly winding the projec down (through a host of petty irritations and inconveniences). I’d also assume that those in charge of the Old Reader were bought off.

    Good thing I’m not a crazy conspiracy person.


      1. Or at least you have some company in your delusions which is better than nothing, I suppose.

        On the one hand, I would assume that in the natural life cycle of web activity we’re well past “peak blog” but that alone doesnt’ come close to explaining all the data points I’ve been noticing/collecting on content management…


      2. I don’t know about PTB, but I do get the feeling that Google and Facebook (and the other big internet companies) have lately begun to discourage blogs and blogging in subtle ways. Maybe Google wants us to move all our discourse to Google+ and Facebook wants us to move them to Facebook. It will be a pity if this happens.


        1. I know several people who do the equivalent of blogging on Facebook. They publish great stuff and I have no idea why they choose to limit it to a tiny circle of people who know them already and who have heard all of this from them a hundred times before.


      1. I’ll probably migrate to Digg next. Despite all it’s rumor of despise and death, it has been going strong for quite a while now. It is one of the few news aggregators that have not died yet.

        Wherever you take your feeds via the OPML file, keep a copy of it stored on your PC or somewhere save. Not every reader is as friendly as TOR or GR and lets you export your feeds so you can use them elsewhere.


  3. Apple is also at war against RSS:

    In this age of format wars, corporate takeovers, legal battles and patent trolling, RSS is one of few great standards we can all rely on. Which could be exactly why the control freaks of the internet want to kill it.

    Andrew Stewart appeals to the self interest of the “social web:”

    Here is the part that I think these social networks are missing: who is going to seed the content? Content gets disseminated through the network, but it has to get there in the first place. How does that happen? The answer is that it comes from the “small minority” of RSS users who keep tabs on content producers, harvesting content for the social networks to consume and make viral.

    So Google, Twitter, Yammer, et al. are destroying the means of the primary consumers that everything else feeds off of.

    Sure. Content providers post their content to social networks, readers subscribe through the network, and content gets pushed through the social network plumbing. But a human being can only follow so many simultaneous Twitter feeds, and the intermix of Instagrams and friends’ internal monologues doesn’t quite have the simple, aggregated throughput that an RSS reader confines itself to. RSS subscribers fly through an order of magnitude more content, skimming off just the cream to feed the insatiable social net.

    Hopefully somebody who is somebody in Big Social will take that into consideration. You also want to read this.


    1. What lots of people don’t like about RSS is that it gives you easy access to content on a buckload of sides at the same time. As most RSS users have more than they can read, this essentially means that individual sites are competing directly against each other for your attention.

      For big sites that want to profit off their visitors, this is a horror. They go to great lengths to bind their visitors to their website. This is why more and more sites require accounts to access certain content (You need to log in to read Stuff that isn’t rated E for Everyone or play videos).

      And this is why many “communities” want RSS to die. Because instead of skimming the cream of dozens of websites, they imagine you would “commit” to a site or two and stick to them and maybe even pay for advanced features.

      And even if you don’t, RSS gives you the advantage of checking whether an article is worth your time or not, before you click on it and expose yourself to their ads. Without it, you would have to open the article, see it is shitcontent and the authors would get their revenue anyway.

      So killing RSS is to kill competition, bind users to yourself and reduce the necessary quality of content to generate revenue from.


      1. “Because instead of skimming the cream of dozens of websites, they imagine you would “commit” to a site or two and stick to them and maybe even pay for advanced features.”

        – Idiots.

        “So killing RSS is to kill competition, bind users to yourself and reduce the necessary quality of content to generate revenue from.”

        – Yes, I think this makes a lot of sense.


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