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The RSS Blog
Thu, 30 Jul 2009 04:14:23 GMT
Media RSS Troubles Again!

Last week, Yahoo! once again screwed with the Media RSS specification. They've since apologized and fixed the problem, although I haven't investigated if any of my work was and still is broken. I wonder if Yahoo! would consider handing over the spec to the RSS Advisory Board.

Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:14:31 GMT
Reblinks Progress

Reblinks has been sending 5-7 thousand emails per day this last week. Near doubling from last months 3-4 thousand during the same week of the month. I can't remember exactly how many RMail sent at it's peak, but I believe it was around 70,000 daily. That's not too far off. And I just launched Reblinks a few months back.

Mon, 20 Jul 2009 21:46:17 GMT
To Charge for RSS or NOT or Can't?
Blake Snow wrote a piece on GigaOm that peeked at the subject of paid RSS feeds. He sent me two round of questions, but my answers weren't interesting enough for inclusion ;)

I'll reproduce the Q&A between Blake and myself here.

Round 1

Blake Snow questions...
Amid recession, there seems to be renewed interest by some in trying to sell things online the old fashion way (aka charging for a compelling product). For example, ATM machines were free for a time (like RSS is now), after which banks starting charging fees for ATM use once they were widely accepted. That said, do you think it's possible for online content producers to charge a nominal fee for RSS, which is a convenience to the user? Why/why not?

My answer...
Is it possible for online content producers to charge a nominal fee for RSS? Yes! In fact, this can be done today, by simply authenticating the RSS URL. Unfortunately, the implementation is extremely problematic.

First, many, possibly most RSS clients cannot handle authenticated RSS. My Reblinks surely doesn't, mainly because it's a security nightmare. Accidentally pulishing credentials could create an undesirable liability.

Second, nothing would stop these credentials from being used by multiple users. This would prove impossible to control for the both the publisher and aggregator. If two users subscribed via Reblinks to the same feed using the same credentials, the publisher would have little clue to this violations, since the aggregator need not present a different behavior than if only one user was subscribedd. Further, what happens when two users susbscribe to an aggregator with different credentials? Do you poll once or twice?

Although feasible, the implementation is uncontrollable. Is there another possible implementation? Certainly! And it's already in wide use.

The solution is to provide a public unauthenticated feed with summary content. This is actively being done by hundreds, if not thousands of existing pulishers. The user is presented with a brief summary and link that entices them to click thru. When the user clicks thru the link, he is requested to authenticate. Without existing credentials, he pays a subscription fee to view the full content. Of course, the content has to be very compelling if the user is gonna give you his PayPal or Visa numbers.

Round 2

Follow up question...
Say you and I are neighbors and we split the cost of the daily newspaper. It comes to my house, then I pass it along every day. A credential, multi-user violation has been made, but that doesn't mean the paid subscription model should be scrapped entirely, no? Provided the majority plays a long, it might not be that big of a worry, right?

  My answer...
Unfortunately, it won't always be two people sharing one subscription. It'll quite often be dozens, possibly hundreds. Paid RSS subscriptions doesn't seem feasible. But as I mentioned, partial feeds that entice clicks and subscriptions are likely the desired solution.

Mon, 20 Jul 2009 19:53:55 GMT
FriendFeed API v2

FriendFeed has released a v2 of their API. Check out Scoble and Dave Winer's conversations. I always considered FriendFeed a nuissance. It seem to get popular fast and disappear even faster. Now, I rarely see it anymore. Looks like a great API, but I've never understood the usefulness of the website.

Mon, 20 Jul 2009 01:25:54 GMT
RSS in 140 Characters

Dave Winer continues in his efforts to make RSS a transports for real-time micro-blogging like Twitter. He proposes a very good profile for packaging Twitter-like messages of 140 characters or less into an RSS item. This is something we need to add to the RSS profile at a later date.

Currently Rogers Cadenhead and I are moving the RSS Advisory Board website to a new web server. I don't think the RSS Board will be doing anything new until that task is complete. Then we need to update the website and start moving forward on the projects that are currently stalled. Then new stuff.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 17:35:18 GMT
Reblinks Features
Some new features were added to Reblinks this month thanks to Seth Robbins. Seth use to be an RMail user and has joined us at Reblinks.

We already added his from field suggestion. Now Reblink mails ae from "Blog Name <>". This will help you sort Reblink mails by subscription.

Seth also found some improvements we can make for Atom feeds, like providing more than just summary content. We also intend on adding a tip jar at his suggestion.

In the future, we might also add paid subscriptions. The paid subscriptions may or may not have features otherwise available for free. That decision has not been made. All existing features will most likely remain free.

Wed, 15 Jul 2009 01:14:44 GMT
Rebooting the RSS cloud

Dave Winer has started a new project. He's implementing the RSS cloud. This is a ping server that echos the pings to subscribed clients. His ping server will be Unfortunately, this is no better than push. It's great for geeks and Web based aggregators, but it won't work for native RSS clients residing behind corporate firewalls or NATs. That's why push notification failed numerous times over the last decade.

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 18:53:04 GMT
Requirements from a User
The best requirements are those from a real hardcore user like Chris. I got this email from him a few weeks ago.
Hi Randy,

I did a quick google search, and found your website to be a plethora of good information. I was hoping you might point me in a good direction (or let me know of a workaround).

I'm looking for an online RSS reader (not one I have to download or install - I want the portability).

I'd like it to have the following characteristics:

  1. Nested folders
  2. Support authenticated feeds
  3. Allow for unlimited unread items

The three I'm looking at -- the "big three" are Google Reader, Bloglines and Newsgator; but each is missing something....

GR and Bloglines have #3, but not #1 or #2. I can live without #2 - since I can use freemyfeed to handle that; but #1 is pretty high on my list.

Newsgator has #1 and #2 but not #3 -- for example, I send my twitter feed through the reader. NG maxes out at 20 unread posts, while Bloglines & GR can accumulate many, many more.

Any suggestions on either how to resolve either of the problems with these; or - is there a product that actually does everything I'm looking for? :)

Thanks for any help you can provide!


Mon, 13 Jul 2009 01:37:27 GMT
Online Casino Lobby
Online Casino Lobby ( is a great guide to online casinos. You don't need to fly to Las Vegas to enjoy a bit of gambling when you can do it online from your couch. Even better, online casinos can have better payout percentages and can offer a greater variety of casino games than traditional land base casinos. The reviewed casinos have payout ratios in the 96 to 98.6% ranges. The website features the best online casinos; Rushmore Casino, Golden Casino, Gambing Club, River Belle, Lucky Nugget and Roxy Palace. Each casino has it's own review, payout percentage and bonus. Bonuses range from as low as $100 to as high as $888. That's another great advantage of online casinos. The bonuses give you free money, so that you can enjoy yourself a lot longer. I went to Vegas this last winter and didn't gamble $1. Why would I? I know it'll be gone in minutes with little chance of me hitting any jackpots.


Beyond reviews, the website also offers instructional webpages to help you enjoy your online play. They have sections to help you Play slots online, blackjack, video poker, roulette, craps, baccarat and keno.  They also have informational pages for choosing a casino, tips for beginners and payment options.

This is a paid review.
Sat, 11 Jul 2009 14:49:48 GMT

Today, Dave Winer brought up Pubsubhubbub, an attempt by Google and SixApart to add push to RSS and Atom. After reviewing the spec, I'm unsure how this push mechanism is gonna be any different from all the previous failed ones. The problem has always been that pushing to clients behind a Web proxy or firewall is implausible. Geeks can easily poke a hole thru, but mundanes have no clue what we are talking about. How do we get push to a mundane sitting behind his corporate firewall?

People do expect instant feedback. The users of my Reblinks constantly complain that they didn't immediately get an update when they posted their blog entry. When I ask them 1 hour later, if they still didn't get it, they almost always confirm they did. These users want that update in minutes and seconds, not hours. Hmmm. Is it time for push RSS?

Follow-up: Dave has also blogged today about cloud and, two mechanism that for years served as a disguised push mechanism for RSS.

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