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And worse, there’s already a lightweight alternative format for news stories called RSS.



There’s a better lightweight alternative format for news stories called pure HTML documents (without JavaScript).

Google could be a force for good by encouraging pure documents and down-ranking JavaScript crap.

Instead they chose AMP for lock-in.


> Instead they chose AMP for lock-in.

And because it made sense for their business of selling ads


Which takes away even more control from the publisher (no analytics, A/B testing support, monetization options, etc.) and doesn't support prerendering above the fold. I can't imagine the backlash RSS would get if Google came up with that.


Multiple blogs I read sell RSS sponsorships, and given that RSS feeds are, you know, ultimately web pages, analytics are relatively trivial.


> Multiple blogs I read sell RSS sponsorships

Sponsorship is a poor substitute for subscriptions and ads.

> RSS feeds are, you know, ultimately web pages, analytics are relatively trivial.

No, the aggregator that shows the RSS results has no standard way of reporting to the publisher who viewed which RSS entries.


The publisher can absolutely get by with measuring how many people viewed which RSS entries, which this can absolutely deliver. Combined with other web metrics of the sort that non-privacy-invading analytics systems like GoAccess and OWA can deliver, there's more than enough information to determine the size of the audience, where they're located, when the most popular browsing times are, what devices they're using, and which articles are more successful than others.

It seems to me that you're arguing that publishers -- or in practice, ad networks -- are entitled to track the browsing habits of specific individuals, even if (theoretically) anonymized. If so, I rather strongly disagree.


> The publisher can absolutely get by with measuring how many people viewed which RSS entries, which this can absolutely deliver.

Wrong. The RSS entries are cached by the aggregators, and the publisher never sees how many people have seen them.

> It seems to me that you're arguing that publishers -- or in practice, ad networks -- are entitled to track the browsing habits of specific individuals, even if (theoretically) anonymized.

No. I'm saying that AMP takes less control away from publishers than RSS does, and all the complaints are about how AMP takes control from publishers to ruin the web, yet nobody here has complained about how RSS ruined the web. In either case, the system controlling the cache tracks everything.


> The RSS entries are cached by the aggregators, and the publisher never sees how many people have seen them.

Aggregators like NewsBlur, Feedly, and Feedbin pass on subscriber counts. I am literally looking at my own FeedPress dashboard in another window right now. I promise I have the analytics I say I do, cross my heart.

As for AMP, I'm not sure I see how AMP takes less control away from publishers than RSS does. There's nothing that stops anyone from running an RSS reader which directly hits each web site they subscribe to. Aggregators may be more convenient but they're not mandatory, and this seems to me to be a pretty important architectural difference. Even if we grant that RSS is pretty difficult to monetize, AMP takes my content and cuts me out of any monetization possibility entirely -- and Google may punish me in search rankings if I don't let them do that. Surely you see why that's going to raise some hackles that RSS doesn't?


> Aggregators like NewsBlur, Feedly, and Feedbin pass on subscriber counts. I am literally looking at my own FeedPress dashboard in another window right now.

They do not pass them back in a standard way. If there is a new aggregator, the publisher has to integrate with them for analytics.

> As for AMP, I'm not sure I see how AMP takes less control away from publishers than RSS does.

I already told you in the very first comment you replied to.

RSS is strictly worse for publishers than AMP. Apple News is strictly worse for publishers than AMP. Apple News has some advantages (monetization, analytics) over RSS and some disadvantages (single company integration). Yet nobody on HN complains about Apple News or RSS because they don't understand the technology.


> has no standard way of reporting to the publisher who viewed which RSS entries.

That's a good thing.

That said, I do see an awful lot of RSS feeds that include tracking pixels, advertising JS, and all the other assorted nastiness, so I don't think RSS is precluding those.


If we end up missing out on anti-user options like the ones that you mentioned then RSS sounds great.


Tell that to the bozo who wrote the article, who finds AMP too restrictive already. RSS would make him apoplectic.

Also, there is nothing anti-user about prerendering less, saving battery and network bandwidth.




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