Brad Feld

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Busy RSS Week For Our Portfolio Companies

Jun 11, 2005
Category Investments

My RSS world continues to be busy as both Technorati and Feedburner had lots of action this week.

Technorati released the beta of their new site.  Dave Sifry has a post up about the features as does Niall Kennedy, who includes some fun old Technorati designs from 11/02, 6/04, and 7/04.  Awesome progress guys (as of today: 11.2m weblogs watched and 1.2 billion links tracked.)

On Monday, the Feedburner guys put out an analysis of their existing aggregated podcast metrics.  Feedburner now manages feeds for 6,000 podcasts and are seeing solid growth in the number of per-podcast subscribers (average of 33 – up from 15 in February; average of 65 if you eliminate the podcasts with less than 4 subs).

On Thursday, Feedburner announced their SmartFeed Mobile Server.  This allows commercial publishers to publish once to all their feed subscribers across a wide variety of mobile devices.  It augments Feedburner’s SmartFeed service that deploys the right format of your feed to various user-agents (so – it’s “subscriber aware, rather than “publisher driven”).  I’ve heard lots of folks complain lately that feeds are starting to look goofy in different devices (e.g. I love stuff on the web, but my Trio sucks).  If you are a feed publisher, Feedburner’s services address this issue automagically for you.

On Friday, Feedburner responded to feedback from several notable RSS folks that Feedburner was inappropriately creating “lock in” when someone had Feedburner start managing their feed.  Specifically, if you changed your mind for some reason and didn’t want Feedburner to manage your feed, there was no simple way to get your subscribers redirected to another feed.  While the Feedburner guys had not heard this request from very many of the customers, it became clear about a week ago that this was something we should address as part of “being a good citizen.”  Eric Lunt cranked on it and rolled it out in less then a week of determining the importance of it.  The Feedburner gang is clear that “it’s your feed” as evidenced both by this functionality as well as Eric declaring “[While] we think we have the best feed management service, we think that providing publishers with the ability to do whatever they want is always the right answer, and most importantly, we think your subscribers are your subscribers, not ours or anybody else’s.”

And – for those of you that like tagging, podcasting, and the ability to quickly roll new functionality by combining different services, Fred Wilson figured out how to use and Feedburner to create his own podcast/playlist from the music he’s been listening to.  Eric took it one step further and inserted an elevator pitch (Fred is a VC after all) into the stream, so Fred created a feed for “fred’selevatorpitch”.

Who said VCs aren’t nerds.