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I don't know about you.
But I've fallen deeply, tragically, and irreversibly in love.
With RSS Feeds.
The torrid affair started when I was researching what started out as a three part-article, turned into a book, and became a web site project that will most likely open any second now. While doing the fact checking and finding for this now huge project, I rediscovered the wonderful world of RSS anew. So many more feeds. So much more potential to promote your site. Oh the magnificent ways we could use RSS to organize a site and make it better!
I ran into a problem. Just like in my real-life search for romance, I just can't find the right tool man, oh *curse word*.
What I mean is, I can't find the right one to satisfy all my needs.
Okay. That still sounds dirty. I'm not doing it on purpose, I swear. But you know what I mean, right?
Hence, my RSS Wishlist. I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted. Look it over and see if I'm unreasonable, willya?
My RSS Reader Wishlist *last updated 6.29.04 4:38 a.m. Pacific Time
Features Wish List
Works online and off.
How about you give me a reader that will log on, get my updates, and log off, so that no matter when I open it, it's as updated as I wish
Is Web Based and an Off-line Application.
My dream RSS reader will be intuitive. Just like when I click a .rm link, RealPlayer launches and handles the content, my dream RSS reader will know to launch if I click on anything with the extensions xml, rdf, and rss, and will give me the opportunity to catalog them at that time.
While I fly about the internet, my dream RSS reader will automatically collect, in a history file, all the news feeds it comes across on any page. At an interval I schedule, it will ask me which of the feeds I want to keep, and which I want to dump.
Instead of just coming with some pre-loaded feeds in each predefined category, it will let me create categories when I first launch it. Then it will either auto-sort them when I first add them, according to settings I create (like automatically dumping files with certain keywords I define into Favorite-type folders.)
Simple interface, complex functions.
I won't have to hunt for the features, but there will be a LOT of them.
Free for regular stuff. Cheap for upgrades. Less cheap to sponsor.
Programmers eat too. I know this. But it's hard for me to recommend a higher-priced copy to my readers when your version does only a little more - or a lot less! - than something that's free.
So here's what I propose. Let's standardize. All the free versions should be able to do x,y, and z. Then charge us between $20 and $30 for automated features, and fancy stuff that can vary from product to product.
Even better, instead of having a free version and a paid version, why don't you offer to customize special versions for webmasters at a certain price? We marketing-saavy types can be responsible for making sure you have a decent site, and a place with enough bandwidth for constant downloads. You software developers can charge us a flat fee per year to have our software branded with our names, and for that, we get our feed automatically included in the reader, our link on the about page, and as the first feed updated, etc. Consumers get the product for free, or if it's really feature packed, at a reduced price. Everyone's happy.
Won't hog up all my memory
There was a time when I only kept my Outlook open a certain part of the day, back in the days of 64 MB of memory.
But we need to recognize, sad as it is, that 128 or 256 MB of ram is still the norm for a LOT of people, particularly overseas.
So please. Even if I had 100 feeds going (told you I was an addict), I should still be able to use my browser, and have my email and AIM going at the same time too. I live online. This is a necessity - can't use it if... well, I can't use it.
Runs in background - tray icon optional
This might be a resolution to the last wish. If this doohickey can do all these lovely things without being fully launched, I would love it all the more.
I shouldn't have to do any typing during a new addition of a feed if I don't want to - 3 clicks should add a feed, w/ site name if no title is available. Feed readers need to allow more for feeds that are set up incorrectly, just like browsers allow for pages that aren't quite right. If there's no title tag in the page, I can still look at the address bar to see where I am, dig?
Backwards and sideways compatible
If everyone switches from RSS to Atom, the feed reader shouldn't make me download a whole new dealie - I should be subjected to an update at best.
And if I get used to a screwy reader, and then find the reader of my dreams, I should really be able to imports feeds from other apps. I don't have to start over when I switched from IE to Mozilla, or from IE to Crazy Browser- and I shouldn't have to start from scratch to try your product either.
If I want to travel, it's not always kosher to bring my laptop. Yet I don't need to have yet another website to log into to keep all my feeds.
Remember those bookmark sites that used to synch with the bookmarks in your browser, so you had access to the last time you updated your bookmarks no matter what?
I'd pay for that feature in a reader. No problem. Have a site where you can store all my feeds if I'm about town or and an app that resides on my home computer. Then make them talk to each other.
But make it talk to me too. It would be nice if I could know there was some text file in my computer where I can pick up a list of my feeds. Then if I want to use CARP to put the best feeds on one page for my members, I don't have to keep cutting and pasting.
Slap some community on the back-end of that bad boy.
I almost paid when those bookmark sites went from free to twenty-odd dollars a year. If there was an option for me to pay $2.09 a month, I might have done it. Even with my uncertain monetary status at the time, I was never going to miss two bucks.
At two bucks a month, you could end up with a couple thousand people who'd be willing to set some of the feeds they found to a shared status. I could go online, or even within my little app, and search for feeds I might like, picked by real humans. There isn't a real "yahoo" of feeds yet. And it being the future of the Net, charging people to be editors might make it a profitable project.
I know. It sounds nuts right now, to have to pay to be an editor of a feed directory, right?
But think about this. RSS fees are the wave of the future. Heaven to me would be a world where I could browse the entire internet from within my RSS Reader, and create feeds that would push updates of a page to me on the fly.
And I'd gladly pay $2 a month to be considered the resident expert of all internet marketing feeds, for example
Because I'd get to be the expert. I'd write a monthly column, use it to drive traffic to my site, and since I was a paid member, get special status for all my feeds- and auto-inclusion in the dream software.
And it might also be an investment. A group of us could start this group, hire a programmer, and use our monthly fees to pay the person to build the dream software, site, etc. Then we'd monetize it, and split the profits.
Maybe I'm going to keep that idea to myself...
Nah. What I WILL do is update this article next week with all the stuff I found.
added 6.26 1:38 am
This site partially solves the branding issue. hm. $95. Not bad. *end of 6.26.04 update. I'll add more as I think of more stuff. Right now I'm testing out the Rocket Info reader and FeedReader.
As I begin to find the tools that fulfill my wild dreams of RSS Heaven, I'll but updating them in our new RSS Feed. It's still in testing but should be operational by the time I discuss RSS feeds at length in our next newsletter.
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