How the death of Google Reader may signal the rebirth of RSS


Mediafed“Tell me something I didn’t know”, says Ashley Harrison, CEO and founder of Mediafed, the only company to have ever really solved the problem of just how to make money from RSS.

He’s talking of course about the announcement by Google that it will retire Google Reader in July this year. Harrison is in a unique place to comment, Mediafed has around 200 million monthly users reading the RSS feeds it handles for hundreds of online publishers across the world. Only eight per cent are using Google Reader.

“We’ve all known Google Reader’s going to disappear because otherwise why would you produce Google Currents?” says Harrison. “Am I surprised? No I’m not. We’ve seen the Taptus of the world appear in the last two to three years, of all of which have Google Reader import routines.

“Google Reader was only player on the block along with Bloglines for many years, but the UI has not changed for years and there’s a new reading experience out there and it’s called the news content aggregator reader.”

But the death of Google Reader does not mark the end for RSS says Harrison. In fact, RSS is thriving because the same groups that have spelt the end of Google Reader are using RSS, news content aggregators like Taptu, Flipboard and Pulse.

The problem with RSS though is consumer engagement. It’s difficult to understand says Harrison and the name is meaningless, but now is the perfect time to challenge that.

We all know that the name RSS is negative, has pejorative connotations and has done for 10 years, nothing new there. But actually the medium is still growing, the medium, the protocol of RSS is damned good. It’s trusted content, you don’t get all the wishy washy stuff on Facebook and Twitter, you don’t get all that noise.

Mediafed’s response has been to launch Qrius, a web site button for sharing content that is essentially an RSS button, but which plugs into

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