Busy RSS Week For Our Portfolio Companies

My RSS world continues to be busy as both Technorati and Feedburner had lots of action this week.

Technorati released the beta of their new siteDave Sifry has a post up about the features as does Niall Kennedy, who includes some fun old Technorati designs from 11/02, 6/04, and 7/04.  Awesome progress guys (as of today: 11.2m weblogs watched and 1.2 billion links tracked.)

On Monday, the Feedburner guys put out an analysis of their existing aggregated podcast metrics.  Feedburner now manages feeds for 6,000 podcasts and are seeing solid growth in the number of per-podcast subscribers (average of 33 – up from 15 in February; average of 65 if you eliminate the podcasts with less than 4 subs).

On Thursday, Feedburner announced their SmartFeed Mobile Server.  This allows commercial publishers to publish once to all their feed subscribers across a wide variety of mobile devices.  It augments Feedburner’s SmartFeed service that deploys the right format of your feed to various user-agents (so – it’s “subscriber aware, rather than “publisher driven”).  I’ve heard lots of folks complain lately that feeds are starting to look goofy in different devices (e.g. I love stuff on the web, but my Trio sucks).  If you are a feed publisher, Feedburner’s services address this issue automagically for you.

On Friday, Feedburner responded to feedback from several notable RSS folks that Feedburner was inappropriately creating “lock in” when someone had Feedburner start managing their feed.  Specifically, if you changed your mind for some reason and didn’t want Feedburner to manage your feed, there was no simple way to get your subscribers redirected to another feed.  While the Feedburner guys had not heard this request from very many of the customers, it became clear about a week ago that this was something we should address as part of “being a good citizen.”  Eric Lunt cranked on it and rolled it out in less then a week of determining the importance of it.  The Feedburner gang is clear that “it’s your feed” as evidenced both by this functionality as well as Eric declaring “[While] we think we have the best feed management service, we think that providing publishers with the ability to do whatever they want is always the right answer, and most importantly, we think your subscribers are your subscribers, not ours or anybody else’s.”

And – for those of you that like tagging, podcasting, and the ability to quickly roll new functionality by combining different services, Fred Wilson figured out how to use del.icio.us and Feedburner to create his own podcast/playlist from the music he’s been listening to.  Eric took it one step further and inserted an elevator pitch (Fred is a VC after all) into the stream, so Fred created a feed for “fred’selevatorpitch”.

Who said VCs aren’t nerds.

  • I am going to be interested in how del.icio.is is commercialised outside of VC’s using it as a way of amusing themselves (which I have no problem with, and the elevator pitch model appealled to me 🙂 !

    I use del.icio.us for every new link I tag, so I would assume contextual ads for the infinite categories of user based tags and links within, are an obvious revenue stream.

    I’ve heard of future enterprise management applications for tagging but this would not be necessarily won by delicious.

    Im very impressed by the Feedburner Mobile applications (and the rest, esp enterprise), given the wireless background of the team, it will be interesting to see how RSS and related services/feeds go in this space.

    Also re the Feedburner podcasts growth, it is amazing, but not surprising (cant wait till we get the number breakdowns – I assume there are 3-4 ipodder clients with 100K’s of thousands of users plus 10-15 podcasts with 10k’s of users) I think we will see more ‘networks’ form here as most podcasters other than adam curry and the geekier ones, cant afford their mortgage or hosting fees. (but are in the podcastalley.com top 10)

    I am also very interested in what the centralised advertising platform/server will be for podcasting.

    Like RSS ads, podcast sponsorship needs to fit very contextually, but you cant click on a podcast.

    Friends of mine that run a top 5 podcast network say that advertisers have offered them $1 per podcast for sponsorship, although that would equal a $1000 CPM based on impressions, which is a very high (virtual) CPC 😉

    The new technorati looks good and I like its integration of delicious links etc (although on one of the searches they suggest ‘venture capital’ – the delicious links did not seem real time or from that day, which they need to be – apologies if they are)

    I would like technorati to be more user/tagging orientated than it is.

    Good investments Brad, keep us updated


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