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This article was published on October 21, 2008

“Outsourcing to China and failed auction killed Bloglines”

“Outsourcing to China and failed auction killed Bloglines”
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Users who hadn’t already left Bloglines for Google Reader and other functional RSS readers are doing so now, largely because Bloglines has stopped working and the company has done absolutely nothing to communicate to users what is going on or when it might be fixed.

This is what Michael Arrington wrote three days ago in a post titled “Destruction Of Bloglines Now Complete; Founder Prepares To Switch To Google Reader“. We’re glad to bring you the story behind this “destruction”, since multiple sources who are really close to Bloglines told us the two main reasons for Bloglines’ downfall. On one condition, they want to remain anonymous.

Arrington wrote the post as he noticed a tweet by Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher. He founded the service in 2003, sold it two years later to, and now, three years later, he’s thinking of switching to Google Reader: want’s to get rid of Bloglines

The problem is that Bloglines isn’t updating feeds from thousands of blogs, including TechCrunch (and you don’t want to piss them off). There are basically two reasons for this: a lack of commitment from and a somewhat unfortunate outsourcing experiment.

According to our sources, put Bloglines up for sale earlier this year, in an effort to cut costs. The company was expecting an auction to take place in August, but these plans sort of vanished as nobody seems to be aware about it.

When you look at’s recent strategic moves, anyone can tell that it’s aiming for a larger share in the search market. Mainly by adopting technologies that several alternative search engines have successfully launched (e.g. related searches and clustering results). Oh, and don’t forget about the sexy ads. As it looks now, we can also add cutting costs to the company strategy.

Outsourcing Bloglines to China

Part of that is outsourcing the Bloglines development to China, our sources told us. Thanks to Twitter Search, we’ve found some confirmation. Ex-Bloglines engineer Paul Querna told Mark Fletcher via Twitter that “ moved all of the bloglines engineering to china, what did you expect :P”.

This cutting move apparently didn’t work out, as Bloglines’ problems still haven’t been fixed. It’s sad to see what can become of a promising start-up when a mother company doesn’t have a heart for it (Jaiku, anyone?).

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