This week: Aggregators trendy, Yahoo News vs Google News, Rupert Murdoch on the Mount, RSS Readers in bloom, new kinds of Kool-Aid.
Aggregators Trending Upwards
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and analyst firm Outsell released a report on the Information Industry this week. They estimate the industry is worth $250 billion. What stood out like a sore thumb is that "General Aggregators, Distributors & Services" was up 25% from 2003 to 2004, the largest percentage growth among the segments tracked.
With preliminary 2004 Revenue of $33,002 million, General Aggregators is now the third-largest segment in the Information Industry - behind News & Trade ($88,970 million, 8% increase) and Education & Training ($34,574 million, 7% increase).
Now it's not entirely clear how the SIIA and Outsell define "General Aggregators, Distributors & Services" (presumably you have to pay for that information). In any case, it's a fair bet that it'll make more inroads into "News & Trade" in the 2005 year...
News about Yahoo News and Google News
I wrote about the Yahoo News re-design this week. Basically I was very impressed with their RSS adoption and use of topic feeds. Yahoo also recently introduced custom RSS feeds for Yahoo News. So they're making all the right moves, as I noted in yesterday's post RSS and The Big 3.
Meanwhile Google News has some issues - they're being challenged by Associated News (AP), they're inconsistent about which news sources they allow onto their pages, and they rather strangely don't offer RSS feeds.
Rupert Murdoch's Sermon From The Mount
What happens when the high priest of mass media preaches the Gospel According To Jeff Jarvis? The media faithful listen intently, that's what (and perhaps pray). This week aussie media tycoon Rupert Murdoch delivered a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Quoth Rupert:
"What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel.
Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them.
They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it."
Amen to that brother!
May a Thousand RSS Readers Bloom
Given all the competition in the RSS Aggregator market, it's really important for new entrants to differentiate themselves to users or target a particular niche market. Another thing new players should focus on is solving some of the crucial issues in RSS aggregation - for example filtering out duplicate results (when a number of people link to the same thing and it turns up multiple times in your Aggregator).
Techie Post of the Week
Sometimes it helps to step back from the hype, take a deep breath, and get a little perspective. That's how I felt when I read Avi Dronamraju's post called The Aggregation Kool-Aid. In it he cautions that although we should appreciate "the power of aggregation", we need to move beyond that and "solve relevance/matching problems".
I agree. It's time for the next level of RSS Aggregation products and services to step up. We need to find ways to filter out the rubbish from our topic feeds, make it easier for non-geeks to subscribe to feeds, discover better methods for delivering personalized information. All these things and more are still searching for a solution ;-)