Brad Feld

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FeedBurner Networks – The Venture Capital Network

Aug 04, 2006
Category Investments

FeedBurner is beta testing a new set of functionality – called “Networks” that is planned for a September launch.  I’m coordinating one of the beta Networks – the Venture Capital Network.

A FeedBurner Network is a collection of blogs that fit within a particular topic.  The goal is to create high quality collections of similar types of publishers.  For example, if you are interested in reading Venture Capital bloggers, you currently have to manually poke around to find them.  Some bloggers have taken it upon themselves to compile a list of Venture Capital bloggers (65 – where did all those come from?) and you can use Technorati to find Blogs about Venture Capital.  But – none of these approaches is particularly organized, scales, or is really manageable.

A FeedBurner Network is managed by a coordinator.  At this stage the coordinator is the gatekeeper for the network, although it will evolve so that all members of a network can promote other potential members.  As a result, the content is “filtered and selected” by the network coordinator (and ultimately members) so that there aren’t “fake” Venture Capital blogs as part of the network.  The result should be a higher quality network and a quick and easy way to find “Venture Capital bloggers.”

Obviously, Venture Capital bloggers is a niche network.  However, it has a surprisingly large readership.  I’ve invited 13 VC bloggers into the network at this point and the network already has 46,000 subscribers.  I’m continuing to gradually invite VC bloggers into the network (if you are a VC blogger, haven’t been invited, but want to be in the network, email me) as I make sure all the FeedBurner stuff (remember – this is an early beta) is rock solid.

There are benefits to subscribers:

  • It’s easy to find high quality relevant bloggers / feeds for a specific topic through the aggregation into a Network.
  • There will be a “micro-portal” for each Network – you’ll be able to go to a landing page that lists all the members of the network, selectively subscribe to their feeds, or explore their blogs.
  • You’ll be able to subscribe to the spliced Network feed (for example, here is the spliced feed for the Venture Capital Network).

There are also benefits to publishers:

  • The “micro-portal” will be another place for subscribers to find your blog / feed.
  • You will get new readers as a result of people that subscribe to the spliced feed (this will show up in your subscriber metrics.)
  • Advertisers will be able buy ads in the Network with higher quality advertising that is relevant to the readers of feeds in the Network.
  • You’ll have Network oriented publicity tools (think stuff like “Widget with the latest X headlines in the Network”, or the Banner that I have on the top left of my blog stating that I’m part of the network) which will help cross-promote feeds in the network.
  • You might make some new friends via your fellow Network members.

The guys at FeedBurner have a lot of other ideas about this which they’ll roll out in phase 2 of the Network product at the end of the year.  For now, we’re testing a few networks – Venture Capital being one of them – and would love any and all feedback subscribers and publishers have.