Home Competition for Bloglines?

Competition for Bloglines?

We’re nearly halfway through 2005 and there’s still no heavyweight competition for Bloglines in the Web-based RSS Aggregator stakes. And
I’m not talking about an Aggregation service like MyYahoo and Firefox Live Bookmarks,
which aggregate feeds either on a webpage (MyYahoo) or in the browser bar (Firefox Live
Bookmarks). Although they are hefty competitors of Bloglines, they have limited
functionality in terms of sorting and grouping feeds.

I’m talking about a
full-featured Web-based RSS Aggregator that is equal to or surpasses the
functionality of most desktop Aggregators. That’s what Bloglines is and that, in tandom
with their ‘first mover’ advantage, is why they are so successful today.

There’s plenty of competition in the desktop Aggregator market – FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, NewsGator are a few of the established players
fighting it out in that department.

But what about the Web-based side of things – is anyone seriously challenging

Well there is Rojo, which is getting its
fair share of, er, mojo – in the blogosphere. I must give that another go, because it
looks like it’s improved significantly since I last tried it (in its initial beta).
There’s Newsgator Online, which
I’ve tried before and had some issues with the UI. Microsoft’s start.com is still
a glint in the milkman’s eye, so nothing to report there. One new app that’s popped up
recently is FeedTagger, which is an early beta
built with Ajax and which uses tagging a lot.

There are many others that I’ve not
mentioned (sorry!), but my point here is to ask: is there a Web-based RSS
Aggregator out there that will be a Bloglines Killer?

I love Bloglines, don’t get me wrong. My profile page even shows yours truly in
a “I love Bloglines” tee-shirt! But the User Interface of Bloglines is beginning to get
very creaky. It still uses frames, for crying out loud! There’s not a whiff of Ajax in
the Bloglines UI and narry a hint of tagging. And I’ve begun to notice some minor
technical glitches lately – feeds not being polled (this happened to R/WW a week or so
ago – and Russell Beattie
), and some odd weird moments with logins. Nothing major, but enough to make you
go Hmmmmm.

So my questions to throw out to the ‘Sphere:

1. If Bloglines/Jeeves staff are reading this, can you tell us when you’ll re-design
the UI of Bloglines and add some new information management features (such as

2. To others who read this: do you think there’s another Web-based RSS
out there that will challenge Bloglines’ dominance of this market?

UPDATE, 2 days later: There’ve been some excellent comments made on this post (hat-tip Dave Winer for linking to it). Lots of insightful suggestions and discussion about frames and tags and features in general. Also two Rojo developers chimed in, which led to an interesting email discussion including their CEO Chris Alden. The upshot of that is I’ve decided to trial Rojo over the next couple of weeks, to see what all the fuss is about. Also I’ve added a Rojo button to my blog, in exchange for Rojo adding Read/Write Web to their pre-selected feeds (which are a bit A-Listy actually, but hey it’s one way for me to muscle in on the action).

Plus today Bloglines chief Mark Fletcher left a comment, saying that “we have a number a projects underway here at Bloglines to improve the user experience”. Fantastic news! Thanks Mark for letting us know. I encourage people to keep your comments coming, because they are being read and noted by all the Aggregator companies.

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