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Rockstar Bloggers Couldn’t Save NewsAlloy

RSS development powerhouse Volodymyr Danylyuk emailed users of his nearly 3 year old AJAX feed reader NewsAlloy today to let them know that he’s closing up shop. While offering to sell the property at a bargain basement price, Danylyuk told users of the once groundbreaking service that it was time to export their OPML files and go home.

NewsAlloy is a story of one plucky engineer coming up with something smart, widely praised by leading figures in the blogosphere and ultimately doomed when Google better executed on a similar vision.

In fact, NewsAlloy broke ground that Google Reader came later to and owned. An unjaded Michael Arrington wrote on a young TechCrunch (two years ago) that NewsAlloy was remarkably fast and usable. Arrington linked to a Mashable post that praised NewsAlloy as well. Pete Cashmore publicly shared his OPML file in comments on that post – oh for those less competitive days!

In the end though, all the praise wasn’t enough to take this app to the next level, becoming a viable business or (more likely) being acquired. Blogger John Wilson tells the story succinctly:

I’m sad to see this service close as it was the first online RSS reader I used and found it far superior to many others. Unfortunately, it’s occasional outages prompted me to move to Google Reader, and from the site stats it looks like many other deserted the service. It never gained traction against more established services and was possibly doomed once Google introduced their reader.

The leader today can quickly become the underdog of tomorrow and despite the widely discussed slow pace of innovation at huge companies – it can still be hard for a one-person shop to stay competitive.

Best of luck to Mr. Volodymyr Danylyuk and to all the entrepreneurs who would strike out on their own, risking closure of a new business even despite having some great vision and support.

Update: We just got word from Amit Agarwal that SlideShare competitor SlideAware announced yesterday that it is shutting its doors as well. So it goes!

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