Gas station without pumps

2013 July 29

The Old Reader disappearing

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:03
Tags: , ,

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 Google Reader 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).


  1. Try newsblur, even if you tried it before and weren’t satisfied. It has improved a lot in the past few months. I find the web interface to be functionally equivalent to Google reader as it was.

    I don’t know if you care that the android app seems to have reached usability parity with the reader android app, but my opinion it has done so now.

    Regarding monetization, he offers paid accounts. My usage would fit his free tier but I still chose to pay because I want my RSS reader to stick around for a while.

    My only real complaint left is that it sunsets unread items after two weeks instead of a month. I hope that changes before the next time I’m gone for two weeks…

    Comment by Michael Johnson — 2013 July 29 @ 18:12 | Reply

  2. I switched from Google Reader to Netvibes. I find it to be fairly similar to GR and easy to use.

    Comment by C. Stansberry — 2013 July 29 @ 19:34 | Reply

    • I tried for about 15 minutes, and decided I didn’t like it. I particularly did not like the lack of an “export” feature to allow me to get out again. I’ve not tried Netvibes nor newsblur.

      I’m now using, which seems to have the features I want and a fairly clean interface. I don’t care about mobile capabilities, since I don’t have a cell phone.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2013 July 29 @ 20:50 | Reply

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