Will ‘Paid RSS’ Feeds be the future?

Less than a decade ago, people would manually look up their Website bookmarks, and personally look up their favorite websites and blogs to see if new content was available. RSS and the Google Reader made this easy. Following the RSS feed of a website/blog made this process relatively easy. It automated this process. So, users could just look up their Reader to see if new content was available, rather than manually looking up each of their website, saving them a lot of time.

When Google announced the shutting of its famous Reader application around two years ago, it earned the wrath of millions, but Google stood by what it said, and it shut down its Reader API, not only killing the Reader, but also possibly an entire ecosystem. It also possibly announced a hidden message that Blogging as a form of expression by itself was on a wane, because the more famous bloggers, who had a substantial following, had moved on to more convenient forms of engagement like Twitter.

So apart from commercial websites and personal blogging, there is also a certain core ‘Strength in Depth’ kind of journalism, that tends to have a certain blogging flavour. These kind of websites stick mostly to a certain core domain, but explore them, fully in depth. You can clearly see that their authors are driven more by a sense of passion for their job.

But, the emergence of Small Form Factor devices, RSS based cumulation Apps like Feedly/FlipBoard and Offline Caching Apps like the Reeder have not only replaced a void left behind by Google’s Reader Application, but have made the process so convenient, that people don’t have to go and manually click on websites anymore, thereby possibly depriving these websites of hits, and advertisement revenue, thereby affecting their operations.

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The process today is so automated and convenient, that people simply have to sync their mobile devices with the Internet. But, is this affecting these core-domain journalist websites?

Swaraj Paul of Spicy IP Responds, “The feed is not showing up not because we want more hits, but because there’s some problem with our wordpress theme. ”

However, it is quite possible that MediaNama may have done this consciously.

My personal view is that, we have reached a point beyond which we can go back and click manually or go and each webpage. It just is not convenient enough. So, my request is that, services that if are really facing this problem, it is a request that you please try to introduce paid RSS feeds. It is optional, and those that want the service along with the convenience, should be ready to pay for it.

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