Building The RSS Platform

from the very-cool dept

Tim writes “Mark Fletcher, of Bloglines, has just built one of the more innovative web services I have seen in a while. Remember how during the Web 1.0 boom, people talked a lot about making money by disintermediation? Mark has figured out how to (potentially) make money by creating an intermediary between content publisher and content consumer. His web services will enable users to have both the better UI and customizability of their favorite desktop RSS aggregator and all the advantages of server based RSS aggregation, such as only seeing each item once. The service could also potentially alleviate the much ballyhooed content provider RSS bandwidth explosion problem, if it ever appears. Yahoo just opened the beta of its makeover of MyYahoo to an RSS based portal, and Jeremy Zawodny says that he “fully expect folks to compare [the new My]Yahoo to Bloglines.” With the release of the new web services, Mark has taken the competition to a whole new level, one which Yahoo, as a content aggregator itself that has yet to roll out any significant web services other than RSS support, will have to work to catch up to. Over the past year Bloglines has consistently and steadily added new features like search and hosted weblogs, while growing the number of subscribers rapidly at the same time. All this without visibly suffering from the scalability and speed problems that have afflicted other high visibility players in the Weblogging / Search / RSS / Social Software space. So far, Bloglines has underpromised and overdelivered.” To fill in the details, Bloglines is offering web services to let other RSS readers pull from Bloglines, rather than directly from the RSS feed itself. This does a variety of things. Most importantly, though, it could help get rid of the biggest complaint many people have with RSS: that it acts like a denial of service attack on servers — removing the pain from individual websites (since Bloglines only picks up the feed once per hour). Combine this with Carlo Zottmann’s bootleg RSS feed service, where he creates RSS feeds for sites that don’t have any for a (very) small fee, and you have solved most of my complaints concerning RSS. This also shows how web services involving RSS are getting more useful, and more creative every day. For example, I’ve been playing around with (also from Zottmann) Watchcow, a new site for watching Amazon prices as they change via RSS. Combine all of this, and you begin to realize that RSS is about a lot more than just a simple way to read the news. Either way, it’s looking like Bloglines is quickly adding in for itself all of the “features” that plenty of other companies seem to be basing their business on (Technorati, Feedster, Feedburner, etc.), and building a more complete (and more stable) platform.

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Comments on “Building The RSS Platform”

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Bob says:

This is old technology

Since 2002, NewsInterceptor is a freeware that offers thousands of RSS and non RSS news feeds. This is a client/server tool, so there?s only 1 hit on the RSS for thousands of subscribers. Since the version 2.0, you can add your own RSS in the software. So, I don’t think Bloglines have a scoop here! If you want to know more, you can visit their web site at

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