If you’ve been in the Web 2.0/Social Media space for more than 4-5 years, your introduction to RSS was probably Bloglines. It was THE web-based RSS reader. Everyone used it. I used it until Google Reader came out, and I guess so did everyone else. The announcement came today from Ask.com that Bloglines will fade away into the Web 2.0 sunset October 1st. It’s a pity, because one of my first thoughts was “wait, it hadn’t closed already!?!”, Bloglines was the innovator. It was the benchmark that Google Reader and other RSS tools were measured against. Believe me, I tried all the RSS tools out there. There was a time when I was even working on an RSS reader called Lektora (which was way, way ahead of its time), and still Bloglines was the standard.
What killed Bloglines? I think it’s too simplistic to say that Google and Google Reader killed it. NetNewsWire and FeedDemon adapted to sync with GR (okay that killed Newsgator Online, but that might have been a good thing for them), couldn’t Bloglines have seen the writing on the wall that just having the stand alone product wasn’t enough? What if Bloglines had switched to an import and sync with GR model? Maybe focused on filling gaps in the GR offering instead of trying to go it alone?
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Bloglines faded because it lost its ecosystem of users and didn’t innovate to keep up. I think it could have survived, but even as early as 2005-6 it was starting to lag behind. I think the purchase by Ask only did bad things for it Bloglines, in the long run. But that’s all for naught now.
Bloglines we’ll miss you, I think we already have been for some time.