If you are like me, your blog aggregator is getting a little out of hand. Once you start climbing over 150 feeds, and well in to the 200s, you are starting to get overloaded. I have, on a few occasions, deleted all the feeds from my feedreader and have started from scratch.
So far in it’s life, RSS has been kept pretty simple, and that has been a big reason for it’s success. Things are changing however. Every major browser now incorporates RSS in some way, and it is becoming more and more of a mainstream tool.
|Why did you start AideRSS?
“On one level, to scratch a personal itch, and on the other, to help everyone else with the same problem of overloaded feed-readers ? we knew we were not the only ones, and someone had to step up to the plate! The daily number of posts most people receive makes it impossible to stay on top of the news, frequently resulting in the ?mark-all-as-read? syndrome. In this process, important stories, and at times, true information gems are lost. AideRSS tries to address this by allowing the user to filter incoming feeds based on social engagement metrics: comments, bookmarks, trackbacks, etc. We collect this meta-data for every feed, find the posts that have created a buzz, and deliver them into your inbox ? much like a newspaper editor picks relevant stories out of the newswire. Our goal is to make RSS manageable and relevant for every reader. “
It is time for RSS to come of age, and to do that we have to get smarter about how we manage feeds. Right now, early adopters are up to having 200, 300, 400 or more feeds and the design of the aggregator hasn’t changed much in 3-4 years. when I ran Blogtrack.com almost 6 years ago, we were trying to create the aggregator. AideRSS is now reinventing how we use RSS feeds.
To help cut down on the noise coming in through your aggregator, the AideRSS guys have come up with what they are calling PostRank.
Postrank is a combination of how many links, mentions and conversations there are about a particular post. If you look at the screengrab you can see that AideRSS gets information about each post from places like Bloglines, Technorati, the blog itself (number of comments), and del.icio.us amongst others.
“PostRank? is a scoring system that we have developed to rank each article on relevance and reaction. It is a core part of the AideRSS engine that works to ensure that this digital assistant is helping you to tame the RSS beast and keep your news stream manageable.” – FAQ
The issue of currency vs. relevancy
The biggest tradeoff in moving from a normal all-you-can-eat feedreader to something like AideRSS that filters posts based on their popularity is that you are now relying on other people to participate to help you filter your posts. That is ok, and it works, but it also means that you aren’t going to be on to the latest meme right away. My solution is to put many of the less frequently updated and less interesting blogs in AideRSS while keeping a lot of my daily favorites in my regular RSS reader. Because you can import your AideRSS feeds into your aggregator, this is really easy. Cut down on the noisy junk and still get all your Valleywag and Scobleizer up to the second.
Will it Grow?(tm)
It’s easy to misunderstand RSS plays. Very few people really understand the RSS market, or the vision for how RSS will grow in the future. Even those who “get” and use RSS day to day have very little understanding of the business opportunity. I was not alone in wondering about Union Square’s investment in Feedburner until I started using Feedburner. Feedburner saw a real pain for publishers (understanding the use and reach of their RSS feed) and they delivered solutions for it incredibly well. AideRSS is doing the same, but they are bringing the same sort of value to both the publisher and the reader. We have added the AideRSS sidebar to Startupnorth, you can see it in the right-hand column.
Overnight hits such as mybloglog have shows that if you provide a few tools that are just interesting enough to both publishers and readers, then you can really hit a home-run.
One of my favorite things about using AideRSS so far is how snappy it is. My only complaint is that it creates some uncertainty about how often the feeds are being updated. I’d like to know the last time each feed was updated somehow, and have the ability to manually request that it be updated.
The core AideRSS services will always be free, with optional premium services available later on at a cost. I could see a service such as a customized newsletter for busy individuals (ie: “send me the top PostRank posts about the Real Estate industry once a day”). AideRSS will be the authority on what the most relevant content in the blogosphere is, and there will be many ways to capitalize on that.
AideRSS is a Waterloo, Ontario company, and they have taken a small amount of funding so far, but they are on the lookout for investors who understand their space, and what they want to accomplish.
For me, it’s an obvious one. Without trying to sound like too much of a cheerleader, I love AideRSS and I want them to succeed only so that I can keep using their service.
If you want an invitation to their beta, I suggest you ask in the comments below, I am sure they will let as many in as possible, and perhaps Rob can relax a bit now, help is on the way it seems.
Update: AideRSS has launched for public consumption, and Read/Write Web has a great rundown as well.
Contact Ilya Grigorik