I hope HN finds NewsBlur useful, especially since it's got native mobile apps on iOS (iPhone+iPad), Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia MeeGo. Native story sharing was launched last Summer and I expect NewsBlur to be around for quite a while.
It's also fully open-source, in case you decide to build your own private community: http://github.com/samuelclay.
I also have a full-scale re-design in the works, but if you can't get to the main site you can try using the beta site: http://dev.newsblur.com
I've been rooting for you and recall enjoying the blog posts about its making - I've always figured that "RSS is dead" and there is no longer money in clients (people used to pay for desktop readers!)..
Except that Google would kill Reader eventually and somebody will soak that userbase of nerds right up. And NewsBlur is clearly the top choice and will hopefully occupy similar mindshare as Reader did for us until now. Congrats, well played. :)
I wonder what the next one along these lines will be as now would be a great time to start building it.
That said I do think that going after markets abandoned by the big guys is an excellent way to go. Usually they abandon it because its not a billion dollar business and isn't worth their time.
I believe now that you need to start attacking their market-share before they close the product down and use the closure as a marketing opportunity.
Kalzmeus on SEO (click around his blog for more, guy's a genius): http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/01/24/startup-seo/
Also some quick, simple advice:
1. Blog 2/3 times per week minimum. Target a single, relevant keyword per blog post (relevant to your domain). The post title, H1s, H2s etc, image tags should all contain your primary keyword. Blog posts don't have to be long, but they do have to be useful.
2. Build a G+, FB, Twitter account for your site if you haven't already. Blast out your new posts to these accounts using Hootsuite (free, but you can pay if you like).
3. Build an audience on the social networks - just search around, follow relevant people and share useful, educational material. Don't spam.
4. Personalised mass email from Google Docs and Gmail (kind of hesitant to recommend this in light of Google shuttering services!): http://www.labnol.org/internet/personalized-mail-merge-in-gm... you need to have "newsletter" signs ups (blast out a digest of your blog posts once per month), calls to actions etc on your site for this to work properly (i.e. optimise your site to capture names & emails). Great, low cost/free way to make sure your audience stays engaged and coming back to your site. You can pay for this kind of service too, e.g. Mailchimp (they've a free tier), Constant Contact, or the likes of Hubspot for full suite of marketing automation tools.
5. Best of Startup marketing/SEO here, that I've compiled over the years (absolute gold): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag_fyIIMSJ6DdGt...
6. Check out Sell More Software by patio11: http://www.hyperink.com/Sell-More-Software-Website-Conversio...
Many engineers don't fully appreciate marketing as patio11 would be quick to point out, but there's a start.
I would seek out professional SEO company's and try to find the best deal. No way anybody could do all this stuff by themselves. In the end, it will be a worthwhile investment. From my own experience it's very time consuming to get it right.
However if you're a bootstrapped company, you may not have a choice but to put the time in yourself rather than paying for professional SEO services.
If you have a technical and non-technical co-founders, this list is a large chunk of what the non-technical guy should/will be doing.
Building a great product that people want is pointless without letting people know about it.
That kind of thing is never going to help
Not pretty but have some real examples. Please post your own and paste a link here or in the comments.
Anonymous14 March, 2013 19:55
Obviously a comparison of search results is difficult due to the various signals used to alter search results, but as of 3/14/2013 I get what appear to be 'reasonable' results for both of your example searches:
"sublime text 2" "focus group" : http://i.imgur.com/4LpuUYq.png
cisco "anyclient" : http://i.imgur.com/kptK8HO.png
Again, doesn't necessarily detract from your issue, but just giving search terms isn't reproducible!
I can now verify that Cisco "Anyclient" is not silently rewritten anymore. Will have to wait and see if they weeded out this particular snag, if they adjusted their fuzzing towards sane or if they just gave me a better bubble (I'd like that I think.).
Now is too late. The right time to have started building it was 2-6 months ago. Now is the time to market an existing solution.
Citing the great gretzky quote, the "puck" is already here.
I mean-- err, yes, totally too late! Don't worry about it.
We've been working on it for the past few months.
With backstitch (http://backstit.ch) we get questioned a lot why Google is no longer supporting these types of services (and if this means there is no opportunity there since they aren't worried about it anymore). We honestly feel like there is a lot of surface left uncovered when it comes to personalized/streamlined content and it just doesn't seem to be part of Google's refocusing (this has been seen with the shutting down of a lot of their lab projects as well).
In my industry merchant accounts are very difficult to come by. We are considered high risk. Even with a year of processing records showing 1 chargeback out of >3k transactions I can't get access to a merchant with decent rates(currently paying 3.7%). All the big players turn us away. There's gold to be mined off the beaten path.
That said, I lament the lack of a desktop app. I've been using Reeder for OS X, and I'd really like to have some sort of desktop app instead of relying on my iPhone or a website. Have you considered talking to existing app makers (e.g. Reeder) to see if they might want to switch over to using your service as their backend?
Conesus: Have you considered running a Kickstarter for a desktop version of NewsBlur, in order to gauge interest? I'd definitely contribute.
I used to use GR every day, then on a whim I switched the free newsblur version. To be perfectly honest, it doesn't offer me a lot more than GR did, but after hitting the 60 feed limit a couple of times I've now gone paid and I'm happy to support a service that does exactly what I want it to do. It would have been nice if it imported by saved(or linked or started or whatever they were called in the end) stories from GR though.
One peeve though, I have no idea how to manage my feeds. Is there any easy way to move them round through drag-and-drop? It appears I have to move them manually one by one, but I have a lot of feeds and I'd rather not do that!
Intigi is a paid service, primarily targeted at marketers, but we do have a number of startups and founders using the product for content discovery and sharing. You can quickly share content you find to social media, a WordPress site, or to an RSS feed (e.g., to connect with IFTTT).
I'm one of the cofounders and happy to answer any questions about the service and would love any feedback, if you decide to give it a test spin. Please email me at mjfern(at)intigi.com.
Might be worth a post or two
It works from the browser, including mobile browsers, and native apps are coming. There's also an OPML importer, though currently experimental, and subscriptions can be consumed as OPML, RSS, etc.
Can anyone confirm that the Android Listen app will cease to function (i.e. refresh your existing feeds) once Google Reader is shut down? Am pretty sure that it relies solely on Google Reader's "Listen Subscriptions" tag for refreshing your podcast feeds, so that's definitely another gap that needs filling.
The project site is here http://rivers.silverkeytech.com and you get the app here http://goo.gl/kShgp.
The app is a bit young but it is maturing rapidly. I deploy a new version every two weeks or so. The next update is due in a few days.
EDIT: And OPML is the other option when you signup. It's an easy import process, since it's really quite important to get that part right.
A small warning: the OPML import will delete you current sites and replace them with the ones from OPML, they will not be merged with the current ones you have.
(1) It lets you add subscriptions to regular websites without an RSS feed.
(2) It lets you search for articles that were published before you subscribed to the feed.
I think you could add (2) simply by redirecting to Google search using the site:sitename.com argument.
(1) may not be that simple to add but it would be an incredibly important feature to have.
It was super simple to import my feeds from Google and I find that the navigation in NewsBlur lets me read/scroll through items (and ignore articles that aren't interesting) much faster than Google Reader.
Anyone looking for a Google Reader substitute, definitely give NewsBlur a try!
I hope HN finds it useful too. It's also fully open-source too: https://github.com/shenfeng
I need, 100%, to see my content in forward-chronological order (most-recent-last).
I've already given $24 for a year of NewsBlur, and I am super excited about being able to share and comment again. But, I know I'm not alone in wanting correct sorting.
Just 1-2 things I miss:
- how can I mark an article read/unread?
- could I delete an entire folder?
- is there a limit on the number of feeds it can handle (I tried to import from reader, and I miss some feeds/folders)
<RSS>"Rumors of my death are much exaggerated"</RSS>
I tried to add this feed, for example:
without success, but it could be your server getting hammered.
I think that's a testament to how functional your app is. The iPhone app, while not up with Reeder (the iPhone app), is still very solid.
I look forward to the redesign too. The beta site looks great!
"NewsBlur experienced an error
The error has been logged and will be fixed soon so you won't have to see this message again."
It lets you display RSS feeds (and bookmarks, tasks and notes) in a similar layout.
(Also plugging a side project of mine :-))
Else, the first thing people try to do is find a way to close/remove/delete it so they can get started, which leads to the down arrow on it, which doesn't work to delete it. And now they're stuck wondering how to delete it...then they close the window without even tasting something they may have enjoyed.
After you register you start with a completely empty panel which you can then fill with your own blocks.
Sorry for the confusion, I'll try to make it more clear :-)
Hopefully it will go back to 64 once things get under control.
The layout feels visually ... cluttered? ... but the functionality is excellent so I'm happy. Also the Google Reader import failed the first time, but succeeded the second.
Make sure there is an export feature, for some reason, I can't find it, and I'll be a daily user.
But it irks me that a service I've been using for however long just one day decides to cut my quota by 80%.
It doesn't exactly spur me to start paying.
Is there a win8 version (win store, not desktop).
Nice app btw. The only good thing from GR closure might be that the dev community comes up with some real great alternatives. And yes, I hope paid ones.
So, no dear this doesn't cut it.
(In fact it only caches certain static files as determined by their file extension. It does not seem to pay much attention to Content-Type of Cache headers. Ugh.)
Google Reader is the core of my information diet. Not twitter. Thousands of blogs starred, liked, and commented. An interesting feature that you couldn't replace is automatic translation: reading a russian blog asmit was written in english. Once I shared one of its articles and one friend asked me if I knew russian or if it was a joke my share! Because obviously the share was in the original language.
Google is evil. While I can understand a business decision, there are ways to hand it over to other companies or organizations.
I share some of my previous criticism:
- Extraction of Main Text Content Using the Google Reader NoAPI: http://blog.databigbang.com/extraction-of-main-text-content/
-Google Search NoAPI: http://blog.databigbang.com/google-search-no-api/
- The Data Portability Fact Sheet: http://blog.databigbang.com/the-data-portability-fact-sheet/
- Reverse Engineering and the Cloud: http://blog.nektra.com/main/2012/06/01/reverse-engineering-a...
Yes, exactly. Google Reader is literally the only way to find past episodes of some podcasts - the files are still up, but after a site redesign nothing else links to them.
This is quite valuable because it includes historical data, including stuff that's dropped off the currently available RSS feeds (many sites only list recent posts in their feeds).
Unless expressly permitted by the content owner
or by applicable law, you agree that you will
not, and will not permit your end users to, do
the following with content returned from the APIs:
* Scrape, build databases or otherwise create
permanent copies of such content, or keep cached
copies longer than permitted by the cache header;
* Copy, translate, modify, create a derivative
work of, sell, lease, lend, convey, distribute,
publicly display or sublicense to any third party;
* Misrepresent the source or ownership; or
* Remove, obscure, or alter any copyright,
trademark or other proprietary rights notices,
falsify or delete any author attributions, legal
notices or other labels of the origin or source
Google will announce if we intend to discontinue
or make backwards incompatible changes to this
API or Service. We will use commercially
reasonable efforts to continue to operate the
Google Feed API without these changes until
April 20, 2015, unless (as Google determines in
its reasonable good faith judgment):
* required by law or third party relationship
(including if there is a change in applicable
law or relationship), or
* doing so could create a security risk or
substantial economic or material technical
This Deprecation Policy doesn't apply to
versions, features, and functionality labeled
That's pretty strong!
I'm trying to understand why Google suddenly gets responsibility for archiving the entire internet for incompetent websites.
To index all the worlds information and make it universually useful?
Oh right, these days it is making shitty copies of facebook.
Yes. But failure to do that to someones satisfaction doesn't make them evil.
Or if it does... well I've failed at so many things I must belong to the axis of evil.
My friends are not posting on it.
I don't think Reader can find anything that Google search doesn't know. Using site:sitename.com in a regular Google search should bring up past entries as well.
Sad to see it go.
What do you guys recommend for replacement? I know about NewsBlur , but I never liked it that much.
I think I'm just looking for something that would emulate Reader's full-screen view as close as possible.
edit: Here's what I consider an absolute must-have in RSS app:
- complete navigation with keyboard (j/k preferred)
- full screen mode (really, I don't need a sidebar of a fixed header all the time)
- feed view (not just list of items, show me excerpts!)
And I know I may be the weird one, but I really, really dislike readers that try to show me items directly from feeds webpage.
I find it jarring and distracting when I have five totally different layouts flash before my eyes within 10 seconds (I skim headlines and then skip most of items in my feed).
And for the love of god, please, please, no goddamn 'WE LEARN WHAT YOU LIKE' or any kind of bullshit 'smart selection'. I selected my feeds myself, I can manage them just fine by myself, just get out of my way, please.
That's the hard part. Reader integrates nicely with Android's Listen (podcast app), and the reader app, and there's plenty of standalone clients that sync with Google.
That's my most-used Google app. By far. Colossal disappointment.
I honestly don't know what I'm going to do now. As far as I'm aware, nobody besides Google has been archiving RSS history for the past few years. It's a massive pain to dig for old podcast episodes any other way, as full feeds are extremely rare.
Then your mail client becomes your RSS client. Gmail has j/k key bindings, is relatively unadorned, and facilitates your skim / skip workflow. Excerpts might require some work, but perhaps you could coerce them into the subject line.
Aaron Swartz wrote a nice RSS to email gateway btw: http://www.allthingsrss.com/rss2email/
I have a crappier one that delivers directly into a Maildir, and I use it to read news in mutt: http://search.cpan.org/~acg/rssdrop-0.2/rssdrop
* Remember your read messages, even across clients
* Star and read for later
* Configurable archiving
* Keyword filtering
* Search past articles
* Organize feeds into folders using configurable rules
* Social! (Use the "forward" button.)
Here's a little bit I wrote about using rss2email + emacs. http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/HOWTOReadFeedsInEmacsViaEmail
Beggars can't be choosers. :)
Combined with Instapaper, I have feel like I have achieved the perfect reading workflow.
So I wouldn't call it customizable.
One of the advantages that PHP has is that virtually any cheap web-host in the world can run it. It's not a bad choice to sell a self-hosted product in PHP because of this advantage.
I'm not a huge fan of PHP for many types of projects, but I don't see how it benefits anybody to reflexively hate on something just because of a technology choice.
No need to be mean to a nice guy. :-\
Maybe it's just what I've happened to see, but my impression is th I certainly had to do a lot more upgradingat the PHP platform security issues were more frequent and more substantial than RoR has been. I certainly had to do a lot more upgrading. Maybe it's different these days.
But the major difference I've seen up close is that RoR makes it much easier for average programmers to be productive while still coding securely. If I'm going to be running J. Random Hacker's code on a personal server, I'm going to worry less with Rails.
All that said, I'd also be reluctant to install a Rails app. Just less reluctant than PHP.
However, the fact that it supports PHP 4.2 and MySQL 3.23 makes me wonder how old the code base is! Makes me think it's using so many obsolete PHP methods, the deprecated MySQL extension, and is all procedural code (which almost always seems to be spaghetti code with PHP).
Pretty sure you can sync with your Google Reader account and then delete it from the app, and it'll remember your subscriptions. Just deleted mine and it works fine.
If someone wants a pitch here: don't go for a reader, go for a simple WebDAV like system to keep feeds in sync cross-app with APIs so simple that every dev would include it in its feed reading app!
You never use Google Code Search RIP?
That's because there was almost ZERO innovation done on this product. Very few (mostly visual) improvements, and very few new features. The latest posts on Google Reader blog are from 2011 http://googlereader.blogspot.com/
Google shapes the way many people discover, use and keep information (google search, maps, news, finance, gmail, etc). To let Reader languish then kill it because "usage has declined" is rather self-fulfilling. I bet if they didn't update their satellite images and road data, Maps usage would decline as well.
They could have been working with the community to define new standards - tags, markup, etc - to allow richer interaction between rss readers and sites (thinking geoloc micro format work, and other semantic markup work in recent years). Making 'reader' a first-class citizen in its suite of services, then using interaction data as more relevance signaling seems like an evolutionary step that only a handful of players the size of google can make good use of, but apparently in their infinite wisdom, they'll just shutter it.
Now it's all multiplexed into their G+ timelines and I happen to catch about a third of it in between their useless updates about being in a park with their kids or a new funny meme.
If usage is declining with nobody stealing users, it's less a sign that innovation stopped than the overall market demand started shrinking. In which case, adding more features might not make a ton of sense. There's not a lot of business sense to investing more in capturing a larger share of a declining business.
I'm sure there's more engagement with Reader than Plus, with its millions of users who don't really use it (many of whom aren't even really aware that they are signed up for it).
So the question becomes not "why is everyone using them?" or even "why are they doing things like this?", it starts with people like me who got to ask themselves honestly "why do I keep relying on these guys?".
Gmail is my main email account and it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I love OS X, despite its ever-increasing flaws, and that makes me feel like a hostage experiencing Stockholm syndrome. Facebook is the only thing in this category I actually stopped caring about on my own, but if I'm being honest that's more my friends' fault for re-enacting soap opera scripts online and offline, and less because Facebook is a data-grabbing virus that screws its users over at every turn (which it is).
My only face-saving answer to that conundrum is those products offer me some things that others don't, they have features that large companies are better positioned to deliver on. However, that's not a permanent state of things, as the complex features of yesterday become increasingly more feasible for smaller developers to tackle tomorrow. Maybe it's a good thing that Google and others are finally straight-up bent on filtering nerds like me out of their customer base, maybe that's the kick needed to overcome inertia and complacency.
Google Plus was as well.
Currently, I am waiting for Google Now's gmail integration to get on apps already: http://support.google.com/nexus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answ...
Those are just services that have/are affected/ing me; I'm certain there are plenty of other examples.
Even for search, there are really only a few companies crawling now -- Google, Bing/MS, and Blekko. I'm going to try Bing for a month (I tried in the past, and it wasn't great, but was close) and Blekko for another month, but I'm pretty sure I don't care about any other Google services.
Changing an email address or phone # is probably enough of a lock-in to be "impossible". Changing the service provider you use otherwise to provide your phone/email/etc., probably a pain, but possible.
Facebook doesn't support indirection (which is why it's crazy that businesses promote fb.com/site urls), but as you've pointed out, it doesn't actually provide a useful service, so if it goes away, no big loss.
It's perhaps somewhat nationalist, but Russian companies are slightly above Chinese companies on my list of "would I want my traffic going through their infrastructure", from a privacy/information security standpoint. I don't think this is irrational. (The US is far from ideal either, but has stronger laws, although is more likely to be "interested". The ideal would be a Canadian or European search provider run in some kind of hostproof model.)
I think over time DDG will do just fine.
What this does is eliminate the biggest point of lock-in to gmail. In the worst case scenario you can switch to another email provider with the flick of a DNS entry, no worries about losing your email address.
Boy, you really summed up my own personal feelings on this. I'm beginning to rethink my own Gmail usage now.
OTOH I do feel sad that reader is gone as it has been a part of my daily life for many years now. Some say that RSS is dead but I cannot find any alternative to feeds I've collected.
Google reader had decent random recommendations before the G+ update. I believe that a good recommendation system can guess relevant items for given user, but that was not what google reader has been doing for some time now.
I know there is an ad service for the feeds but as far as I am aware they aren't very profitable.
Maybe there simply isn't a good upside to keep this service going and its a business decision?
Later edit: Like many other will most likely do in their replies I'm also going to suggest an alternative that I've tried in the past.
Later edit 2: They even added a nice pop-up now. https://s3.amazonaws.com/i.imm.io/Zg6A.png
Perhaps The Old Reader just does the same?
By the way, interface looks cleaner, I wish so were the intentions :-)
"Thank you for uploading your OPML file. We will soon start importing your subscriptions, which might take up to several hours depending on the amount of feeds you have.
There are 22325 users in the import queue ahead of you."
It may take some time indeed... I have 114 subscriptions and some of them can be dead now, as I haven't used GR for quite some time.
Other alternatives I tried are also disappointing. July 1 will be a terrible day for the Internet.