The guys from PayPerPost might cause a lot of controversy, but there is one thing that I doubt anyone could deny, even their most harsh critics… they are smart.
They bring out interesting, useful, sometimes controversial or disruptive products, but they are certainly market leaders not the following pack.
In the case of RSSBrief, they are taking on an existing market, RSS Readers, and in many ways it seems they might also step into reputation management and RSS Search.
I have a feeling even Jason Calacanis is going to like RSSBrief because it will help him with reputation management for Mahalo… but when it is finished.
The closest I have seen to RSSBrief was Myfeedz, but that didn’t quite hit the mark for me, it might be better for other people. Myfeedz really gives an overview of the whole blogosphere.
RSSBrief tries to give an overview of specific blogs, or specific blog posts, extractng core details about the content – an “executive overview” to help you determine whether the full content is relevant.
Some people might argue that that is the purpose of an opening paragraph, but opening paragraphs are either lacking in specific information, or more often than not these days, carefully crafted to entice you to read the full article.
(more after the jump)
I offer full feeds but many people don’t, and opening paragraphs might not tell you what you need to know. That is a fake “after the jump” just to prove a point.
I wonder if PayPerPost will be presenting RSSBrief which is part of their Argus platform at Techcrunch40 – maybe they will get to come face-to-face with Google – just imagine if they won the top prize and having it presented by Google and Michael Arrington.
I haven’t seen a list of people presenting published – maybe having the PPP guys there would have been just too much to handle.
On the plus side, the service does seem do a fairly good job of summarizing articles, but whether that is something customers are really looking for will remain to be seen.
He also notes it is an alpha, and you can’t enter your whole reading list – there is no way to log in at all.
I love seeing projects at this early stage, because it allows you to see the potential, and possibly shape it into something more useful.
Why I See Potential In RSSBrief?
I do see a lot of potential in RSSBrief, and not because I would consider the guys at PayPerPost to be friends, and they certainly don’t pay me anything to write about them.
You could class it in some ways as being payola, they have linked to me, featured me in their marketplace etc, but they haven’t to coin a phrase ‘bought my soul”.
So the first thing I am going to do in my writeup is criticise them, and quite strongly.
Here is the link to my page on RSSBrief
It absolutely sucks I am page number 24 and not page number 1
Techcrunch is page number 14
This is a little tongue in cheek, but there is a serious point to it, the URLs should be based around my URL
Here is why….
RSSBrief provides 2 kinds of RSS feed
I absolutely hate the full feeds option currently, because it strips out all the formatting, and possibly doesn’t count as a feed subscriber with Feedburner. Guys it is ugly, and possibly pointless.
I love the summary feed with one caveat – the useless URL
That should read
That summary is actually something very useful I could even use on my blog or for various mashups, but even more useful would be a way to get a summary for a specific post.
I would love to be able to pull in a summary for each post into a sidebar section automatically, or to pull in summaries in some way for additional data on category archives etc.
For effective use, all data needs to be based around the actual URLs, and not numbers.
I am not a number
RSS brief isn’t a full grown application, it is a technology demo or alpha because it is suitable to be “played around with”, and I could actually use the summary feeds as it stands to add some value.
For some of those higher output blogs such as Techcrunch or Mashable, I could imagine subscribing just to the summaries.
I really wish they would change the URLs – they might currently reflect how they are being stored in the database, but end users will get a lot more benefit if they are more user friendly.
I also hope they are going to report subscribers through to Feedburner in some way (and also with their email service Zookoda)
Hmm Zookoda – I have a feeling Zookoda is going to be integrated with the Argus backend as well. Maybe we will see PayPerPost reporting subscription numbers to Feedburner, but we will also see PayPerPost competing directly with Feedburner, now owned by Google.
When I worte about Zookoda in the past, I hinted that something of this nature might be possible.
In some ways they are now a Feedburner competitor, which might make this a little complicated. If it doesn’t happen, I expect to see PayPerPost/Zookoda move into the feed syndication and statistics business extremely quickly.
PayPerPost have already stated that they will have some fairly advanced tracking within Argus – they really need feed readership statistics to be able to offer advertisers. They can grab some of it via Feedburner API, but can also offer their own competing platform.
PayPerPost To Directly Compete With Feedburner and Google Reader?
Thus the title of this post, it is pure speculation, but PayPerPost do have the funding to pull it off, it makes 100% business sense, they have the attention of a large blogger audience, and they will provide a feed reading experience that will be attractive not just for bloggers, but also professional businesses.
They might not be able to pull people away from Feedburner – they don’t have to, they can offer a parallel service that offers value, and will gain uptake.
As long as it could be tracked, I would add an additional feed subscription for the RSSBrief summaries, and I feel other people would as well.
Zookoda’s email offering isn’t perfect, but it is free, will offer advertising revenue in the future, and is more likely to be developed than Feedbuner’s
Despite my highlighting of Feedburner’s problems in the past, they have done nothing to rectify any of the things I highlighted that is immediately visible, even a simple thing such as adding a small text addition to outgoing emails for CAN-SPAM conformance.
Ok, so they are now Google, and Google can probably get away with a lot of things that smaller companies can’t. Who after all is going to take Google to court for a spam complaint?
Can you tell I am excited about the direction PayPerPost is taking this – their business model has always been disruption, they are going to do it again.