Remember when RSS was the cool new thing? You didn’t have to actually go to different websites to get updates. You could just subscribe to them and read them in one place.
That made it easier for citizen journalist blogs, but it also hurt. Bloggers didn’t have to go around and announce when they had new posts. RSS feeds took care of that. But less traffic meant less hits for advertisers. Then Google and other companies came up with ways to put advertising in RSS feeds.
But now Bloglines is finally being put down. Once an extremely popular RSS reader, it stopped updating a couple of years ago when the actual work of updating got outsourced to China. IAC, the company that bought it five years ago is closing it down.
Joseph Tartakoff states that users are moving away from RSS readers, of which Google Reader is one of the only players left, in favor of Facebook and Twitter.
That’s sort of a plus in that links in social networking sites don’t contain entire news stories, requiring users to click to return to the blog sites themselves (better do some house cleaning on that design). The trouble is that it’s harder to reach general viewers again. News popularity isn’t based on RSS feeds but on power users scanning RSS feeds.
The challenge these days is how to get the attention of the power users, which I’m sure will be the next snake oil to be dished out after SEO optimization.