I haven’t really integrated feed readers into my daily routine for several reasons.
I like going to my favorite sites and blogs and not only reading the content, but also reading the comments to the content.
In the online world, there is a saying that “content is king.” Content is king for several reasons.
1. Content draws readers. When readers like content and forward the content to their friends, good content draws even more readers.
2. With more readers, content brings more advertising dollars. Advertisers like eyeballs. Advertisers are more interested in sites that have larger readership simply because the higher traffic allows the advertisers to introduce their product to more people.
3. Probably most important to bloggers is that content brings together a community of people with similar interests to engage in discussions. Bloggers create content to engage their readers and the engagement is reflected not only in site visits, but also in the comments to posts. Good or bad, we like reading what you think about what we say.
RSS and newsfeed readers are therefore good and bad.
RSS and newsfeed readers are helpful to the people reading the content because they organize all of the content in one central location. When time is at a premium, it is a lot easier to skim a feed in the morning than it is to read through a couple of dozen web sites. On the other hand, feed readers can be harmful to a blogger’s morale. If everyone reads posts through feeds, then traffic to web sites drops off. When traffic suffers, there’s less feedback to the bloggers, and when there’s less feedback, there is less motivation to sit down and try to create content during your free time.
I get the whole feedback/convenience concept which is why I throw affiliate links into my posts. If people want to support the blog and don’t want to visit, the opportunity is there. If not, I can just imagine the tens or hundreds of thousands of anonymous readers subscribed to my posts and how much I am changing the opinions of medical professionals all over the world. Hey – a guy can dream, right?
When Google closed down its reader, there were a lot of questions about which feed reader to use as a replacement. Feedly.com kind of surfaced as the leader. As Feedly became more popular, it began to implement changes that were not so user friendly.
Last month, Feedly tried to require all of its users to have Google+ accounts. An expression of outrage by its current users got Feedly to remove the requirement.
Now Feedly has apparently attempted to lay claim to the content created by independent bloggers.
I read a story on a site called the Digital Reader about how Feedly had secretly changed the way in which it links to content in its reader. Usually, if a reader sees something he or she likes in a post on an RSS reader or a newsfeed, the reader can click on a link to the post within the newsfeed which takes the reader to the publisher’s website.
Feedly apparently began hijacking all of the links to the blogger’s content. When readers clicked on the links to articles within their Feedly feeds, they were directed to other links on the Feedly site instead of the links to the site of the publisher who actually created the content. If Feedly readers wanted to e-mail their friends a link to the content, again, the links would direct those friends to Feedly, not to the original publisher’s site.
In the comments section to the Digital Reader article, Feedly defended its actions, stating that its link theft “helps content creators increase their readership in feedly” and by stating that publishers could simply ask Feedly not to hijack links to the publisher’s material. That’s great, assuming that bloggers even know that Feedly has hijacked the blogger’s links.
What Feedly did was similar to me taking a John Gresham novel, putting a book cover over it with my name and some ads that I get paid for, and offering it to others for free. Great business model for Feedly, not so great for the bloggers.
Feedly apparently changed its tune and stopped redirecting links to its site last night … for now. But Feedly’s actions are a wake up call for bloggers and for those who read blog content. You don’t want to support good content, there will be fewer and fewer people willing to create it. I can only watch so many links to videos of stupid cats and skaterboi handrail crotch shots.
The fact that Feedly changed its tune and reversed course after it got called out for doing so means about as much as a bank robber going back to the bank and giving back the money after learning that he’s been identified by a couple of witnesses. Everyone is a saint when they know others are watching them.
Some dumbass to the Digital Reader post commented that “Content is the commodity, and it. is. cheap.” If publishers didn’t want to abide by Feedly’s theft of content, the dumbass said that he would just “take my attention elsewhere.”
I’m sure that if “Brandon” spent a couple of days on a project at work and then someone else gave it to the boss and took credit for it (assuming he’s not just living in his mommy’s basement and playing XBox all day), he’d have no problems with it because if he complained about others taking credit for his work, the end users of his labors would just “take their attention elsewhere.” My seven year old daughter has better logic than Brandon.
I pulled together a few other options for feed readers besides Feedly. As I said, I’m not a feed reader aficionado, but these were repeatedly mentioned in comments sections on other sites. I’ve used Netvibes in the past and liked it as a home page.
Let me know in the comments section if there are other worthy newsfeed readers out there that you are using.
Best RSS Newsfeed Readers
Newsblur.com (free, $24/year for premium account)
Feedbin.me ($3/month or $30/year)
Also, the SeaMonkey Project is a complete web browser, e-mail program, and newsfeed. Great for the desktop.
Newzie.com (desktop app – free)
Greatnews (desktop app)
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