The Old Reader, which I use for handling my RSS feeds, is disappearing. More precisely, it is going private, shrinking from 420,000 users to 10,000 users. I’m not one of the 10,000, since I jumped ship from to The Old Reader too late. I’ve now got a week or two to find a new RSS reader and move my subscriptions over.
I’m disappointed, but not surprised. The Old Reader did not have a business plan for scaling up and being able to afford full-time maintenance, but was a labor of love. Such projects either remain tiny or run into a wall at some point, when the tedious maintenance work exceeds the pleasure of producing something good. The Old Reader just hit that point.
It isn’t clear to me how anyone monetizes RSS readers on the cloud, so I doubt that The Old Reader will find a reputable company to take over the public site from them. It made sense for a company like Google to provide the service as a PR gesture, but they eventually got tired of it, and few other companies have the spare cash for such a big PR gesture (Apple has the money, but no interest in supporting ideas not tied to their hardware).