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The Internet Media Technology

Ask.com To Shut Down Bloglines 111

Posted by timothy
from the you-have-reached-the-end dept.
angry tapir writes "Bloglines, the venerable RSS reader, will cease to exist in a few weeks, according to its owner, Ask.com. Users should export their syndicated feeds to another RSS reader, as Bloglines will be shut down on Oct. 1, Ask.com said Friday in a blog post. Ask.com has posted instructions on the Bloglines home page for exporting feeds to another RSS management service."
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Ask.com To Shut Down Bloglines

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  • interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by crawly (890914)

    very interesting.

    well not at all.

  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:04PM (#33557822)

    So now all ask.com does is push shitty spyware toolbars?

  • by DarkFencer (260473) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:10PM (#33557848)

    There was a time I LOVED Bloglines, but not for a few years. They kept having issues with feeds from common sites and certain aspects of their site returned the same error all the time (such as the error message whenever I tried to go to recommendations).

    I switched to Google Reader earlier this year, and really haven't looked back.

    • by mukund (163654) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:22PM (#33558204) Homepage

      I had the same story, until Google started asking for my mobile phone number as verification to link to my Google account. IMO, this is over the edge, as in this country you have to use your real identity to get a mobile number.

      Then, I switched to a self-hosted Tiny Tiny RSS [tt-rss.org] and never looked back. I don't use Google accounts anymore, and don't have cookies or javascript enabled for any of Google's websites.

      Except search and maps, I self host everything (email, websites, Jabber, RSS reader, calendar, etc.) on a dedicated server. There's a small price to pay, but as an example, I have the same email address for the last 10 years. I have all my emails for the last 10 years. There's no worry about privacy. As a programmer, it's useful to run irssi from it under screen, host my own websites, pretty much run anything network oriented..

    • by rident (1287114)
      How about Netvibes? I've used and enjoyed them for quite a while. In fact I'm making this post from there right now. http://www.netvibes.com/ [netvibes.com]
    • by vjz666 (631725)
      I too switched from Bloglines to Google Reader earlier this year when the system threw a CAPTCHA at me that I just coudn't get thru! No matter what I tried, it was too complex and I just couldn't get thru it. Why is the security for a RSS reader more complex than my BANK'S security?! Insane.
  • .com (Score:5, Funny)

    by spintriae (958955) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:17PM (#33557886)
    Would you please shut down Bloglines?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bcat24 (914105)

      Dear mods,

      The parent post is funny, not offtopic.

      Kthxbye,
      Jonathan

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 228e2 (934443)
        Dear mods,

        The parent post is Informative, not offtopic.

        Kthxbye,
        O
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Dear mods,

          The parent post is Insightful, not just Karma-Bonus Modified.

          Kthxbye,
          Ihmhi

  • It's a shame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jockm (233372) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:21PM (#33557896) Homepage

    The Beta version of Bloglines was my favorite reader, especially its mobile version. There is no other online reader I can find that will show fill posts by default in the mobile version. I was willing to put up with a lot of bugs and issues because I couldn't find a good alternative. Eventually it became too much and I moved to Fever [feedafever.com] -- which sadly doesn't support full posts in the mobile client and the developer seems singularly uninterested in supporting that feature. But I was able to force it to give the desktop version when on a mobile device, which works surprisingly well.

    Still it is a shame about bloglines. I will miss it...

  • The ASK blog talks about Twitter and Facebook. Who the hell reads their feeds via those two? Are people really hanging up on reading RSS feeds? I don't think so.

    The problem I think was the fact that they just couldn't monetize it. When you're getting multiple Ask spams in just about every article, and then they switch to Google Adwords, then switch back. It's all about the Benjamins.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moridineas (213502)

      ? Are people really hanging up on reading RSS feeds? I don't think so

      Have RSS feeds ever really been popular?

      I have no idea how one would track usage, but I've always assumed that they are primarily used by niche users group. Power users. Geeks. Etc.

      • > I have no idea how one would track usage

        access_log

        RSS runs over HTTP, so most ways of counting usage, updates, clickthroughs, etc. still apply. RSS aggregator sites can also do neat tricks to figure out demographics based on which feeds are read, which stories are clicked, search queries, cookies, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've always wondered what RSS is good for. Now that it is dead or dying, could someone enlighten me.

    • by vtcodger (957785)

      ***I've always wondered what RSS is good for.***

      I've always wondered that myself. Apparently if there were just one format and everyone used it, RSS would be usable for announcing and automatically downloading entities called 'podcasts' and 'blogs' which sort of resemble broadcasts and magazine articles respectively -- if there were just one format for those and everyone used it. However, since everyone makes up their own format for all this stuff and none of it works quite right, the principle purpose of

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afabbro (33948)

        ***I've always wondered what RSS is good for.***

        One nice thing was to bookmark an RSS feed in Firefox. Instead of just a bookmark, you'd get a menu of all the site's RSS entries (stories), which periodically refreshed (or could do so when you commanded). So you could look at your favorite sites and see all their headlines and then go directly to stories that interested you.

        I say "nice thing" in the sense that, yeah, that's kinda nice...but not exactly rock-your-world revolutionary. RSS does make it easy to include feeds from other sites...but 9 times o

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          If I wanted to read site X, I'd go to site X, without needing to see a list of headlines on another site.

          What if site X doesn't have any new items? RSS allows you not to waste the time opening all the sites to check if they have new content. Besides, the content is already loaded, hence it's faster to browse.

          For me, with 48 subscriptions, some which only update once a week or less, it's very useful.

        • by herojig (1625143)
          I think that you nailed it. The only useful feature of RSS in my world is to create a fancy dynamic bookmark in FF. RSS buttons are almost like facebook and twitter buttons - put there 'cause everyone else has one on their website - a web page decoration more then anything else.
    • by oljanx (1318801) on Monday September 13, 2010 @12:12AM (#33558362)
      RSS is not dead and dying. One particular RSS reader is dead and dying. An RSS reader aggregates and allows you to preview the content published to many different websites, all from one place. If your like me, and you read from dozens of websites every day, you understand why this might be useful.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Hatta (162192)

        An RSS reader aggregates and allows you to preview the content published to many different websites, all from one place

        Like Slashdot?

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      I manage a craft forum and use an RSS plug in to retrieve craft related blog posts and post them in a special forum for the membership. It works pretty well and other members who might not know about the blogs get exposed to new content.

      [John]

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday September 13, 2010 @08:52AM (#33560554) Journal

      It's for announcing torrents in a machine readable format. Then your reader parses the XML, downloads torrents matching your criteria, and they appear in a network share ready to watch.

  • Future of RSS (Score:4, Informative)

    by Z8 (1602647) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:31PM (#33557936)

    Anyone care to comment on the history or future of RSS? RSS seemed like a great idea: an open format that allowed users to scan sites (Blogs, news sites, web comics) for updates. Also the privacy issues were limited because the list of sites was only kept locally.

    RSS seemed like a great idea but it seems it never reached mainstream popularity. Most (?) internet users have never heard of RSS. Instead people turned to third party aggregators and closed sites like Facebook. What happened?

    • by syousef (465911) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:43PM (#33557998) Journal

      Most (?) internet users have never heard of RSS. Instead people turned to third party aggregators and closed sites like Facebook. What happened?

      Take podcasts.

      As a podcaster, you can put up an RSS feed, or an iTunes link. Which do you think will get you more hits? Even people that hate Apple will use iTunes. Okay so you can put up both, but what does that get you that iTunes doesn't?

      Now look at it from the point of view of a podcast consumer/user. You can use a different podcast app, and only get RSS feeds while missing out on some iTunes stuff, or you can just use iTunes and get 99% of the podcasts you want and a directory to boot with minimum fuss.

      Tell me again why in either of the above cases you'd bother with RSS? So what happened? Real life and commercial interests. Companies like Apple are motivated to apply vendor lock in and make their apps as attractive as possible, effectively killing the open effort and corner the market. End users are motivated to use the most common and convenient solution.

      • As a podcaster, you can put up an RSS feed, or an iTunes link.

        Unless you're thinking about writing the XML by hand, any decent feed generator (blog software or whatever) should be able to produce the two versions without any extra effort.
        Most podcasts I've seen have both; but it may be because I only listen to technical ones.

        • by nashv (1479253)

          Okay so you can put up both, but what does that get you that iTunes doesn't?

          Maybe you should read the post again...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by syousef (465911)

          As a podcaster, you can put up an RSS feed, or an iTunes link.

          Unless you're thinking about writing the XML by hand, any decent feed generator (blog software or whatever) should be able to produce the two versions without any extra effort.
          Most podcasts I've seen have both; but it may be because I only listen to technical ones.

          That's still one more file you have to manage, one more format you have to have hosted, one more link you must put up per episode, one more thing that can go wrong etc. If it gains you nothing, why do it?

          • If you use the web interface to create the item, the file is generated on demand or stored by the software.
            And what link? The MP3/OGG/whatever file is the same. You only have to create an extra link once: on the main website to the RSS feed. Not per episode.

            In total, using something like Wordpress you have to waste about two minutes once, to put the rss.gif file up and link it to the feed.

            And I doubt it gains you nothing. I certainly won't use iTunes - and can you get iTunes podcasts for Linux, Android, Sym

            • by tepples (727027)

              and can you get iTunes podcasts for Linux, Android, Symbian, etc?

              Linux on the desktop is not popular in the United States. Nor is Symbian. As for Android, it's fine on cell phones, but there really isn't yet an Android MP3 player that matches the capability of iPod touch. (Speculation is that this is Google's fault.)

      • by roju (193642) on Monday September 13, 2010 @01:03AM (#33558530)

        As a podcaster, you can put up an RSS feed, or an iTunes link. Which do you think will get you more hits?

        From Apple's iTunes podcast spec: "iTunes uses RSS 2.0 plus some additional tags." There is no iTunes or RSS option, they're the same option.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      I think RSS was supposed to be a user generated, local, personal feed aggregator, a sort of "roll your own fark, digg, slashdot" - because face it, those sites really only pull highlighted stories from 10-25 other sites on a weekly basis.

      RSS was really neat, and back in the heyday of online webcomics (what, 2001-2005?) RSS was a great tool for cartoonists trying to "spread the word".

      Unfortunately, a) people are lazy, and few people want to collect, maintain, and prune their RSS feed list b) the internet can

      • by glwtta (532858)
        A geek can cover 99% of their bases scanning boingboing, slashdot, digg, fark and google news in about 15 minutes

        Um, yeah, and I do that from Google Reader, using their RSS feeds.
      • by Ndkchk (893797)
        You make RSS sound like it's some incredibly complicated enterprise. I use a decent web browser; in the address bar, it displays a little RSS icon if the site I'm visiting has an RSS feed. I click the icon and it subscribes to the feed and tells me, unobtrusively, when new stuff is posted to it. I don't know how I'm supposed to "maintain" it, but I'm pretty sure I've never done it.

        If I wanted to use RSS as a way to get general news, it would probably be inadequate. I use RSS to keep track of cool project [wordpress.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Remus Shepherd (32833)

        A geek can cover 99% of their bases scanning boingboing, slashdot, digg, fark and google news in about 15 minutes,

        If you're only scanning five news sites, you don't need an RSS aggregator. RSS readers are for power users who monitor dozens or hundreds of websites. You'd go mad trying to stay on top of that many sites yourself.

        RSS readers are also very useful for getting news through firewalls. I can't read Fark or Digg from work, and I'm surprised they still allow Boingboing. Google reader allows me to get information that otherwise would be blocked off.

        I used to have Bloglines, but for a while their site was broke

      • by savuporo (658486)
        A geek can cover 99% of their bases scanning boingboing, slashdot, digg, fark and google news
        Depends. If you have specialized interests the "mainstream-y" aggregation sites really miss out on most everything interesting, or get the news weeks later.

        For example, i have followed the news of development of electric vehicles and generally electric propulsion over the last decade, private spaceflight, hobby robotics, bleeding edge 3d graphics research, embedded coding, and planetary science now and then. All
    • What happened?

      Can't speak for all feeds, but one my favourite RSS feeds went empty one day. When I checked the website, the word "Censored" appeared. ;-)

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      A lot of people I talked to just didn't understand what RSS did. I'd try to explain how all the sites they visit were consolidated or it was like the site emailing them the latest content, but it ended up being too confusing and they didn't understand why they wouldn't want to just visit the website instead.
    • by BcNexus (826974)
      You want a perspective on the history and future of RSS? I'll give you mine. I've tried:
      NewsGator
      Google Reader
      The RSS reader on my Nokia N770
      The RSS Reader in Outlook
      Thee RSS Reader on my PSP

      None of them made much sense to me. I figure, why should I use something for feeding me updates if I couldn't get comfortable using with it after playing with it for half an hour?

      Plus,it makes much more sense to me to visit sites I like manually in a browser. "Original content" sites like CNN, The Consumerist
  • by greymond (539980) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:42PM (#33557988) Homepage Journal

    I suppose Ask.com will stick around to some extent like how Excite.com is still an active website, but no one will ever give it a real look, it's just "there" with the other legacy sites on the web.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Funny you should mention Excite, since the domain is now owned by Ask.com.

      I think that's a case where a once-valuable domain and brand will sit around for a long time because some accountant still thinks it's worth something, even though everyone who once used Excite has forgotten about it and moved on to Google.

      • by xtracto (837672)

        aaah excite and altavista.digital.com

        now *those* where the days (well... those and my toddler Gophering days :)

    • by pipingguy (566974)
      Yet it still gets enough ad or feed money to keep stumbling along, I've never been able to figure out this conundrum.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    no other company has plagued me as much as Ask.com with uninvited, impossible to remove spyware and toolbars

    • by mikek2 (562884) *
      I worked at Ask for several years... total POS company with management to boot.
  • by nashv (1479253) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:41PM (#33558258) Homepage

    From TFA : "Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.. The writing is on the wall."

    Obviously these guys have not heard of Google Reader...

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Indeed. It pleases me in a warm, fuzzy way that I read this article in an RSS feed - in Google Reader.
    • by AudioEfex (637163)
      Exactly. That was the most ridiculous PR post I have ever read.

      Twitter and Facebook and other "instant" crap isn't replacing RSS haha. And, YES, RSS is a "consumer experience" for intelligent consumers who can figure it out. RSS Aggregators are genius - one webpage you can go to that tracks and reprints stories from all the webpages you keep up with. Bloglines had virtually eliminated my use of bookmarks for anything but archival purposes. Everything I wanted to read was either at, or linked from, my

  • I've been using Bloglines for five years. It's a great tool for a journalist trying to follow 100+ blogs every day. The question is: what is the best available alternative nowadays?
  • by AudioEfex (637163) on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:25AM (#33559904)
    I have been using Bloglines for the better half of a decade, and to see it end in such a crappy way just turned me anti-Ask.com so quick I couldn't believe it.

    First, I had no idea Ask.com had anything to do with it - I just use the site to read my articles every day. I would have gladly paid a fee to use Bloglines (small fee, say $20/year) because I found it so helpful. Not only was it one single webpage I could go to and get all the news/articles I want, it was portable (I could continue/save reading at work or on my phone), and I loved that the interface just stayed the same. Bloglines I logged into in 2005 pretty much looks like it in 2010 - and that was A-OK with me.

    What's irritating is how they dealt with this. They gave about 3-weeks notice, which granted, is adequate. They link on the main bloglines page to a "blog post" telling you about the closure - and that's where the asshat starts. Basically, they state that because "everyone" gets their news from Twitter and Facebook and "instant" services now, people don't need an aggregator. Uh, say what? I don't get my news from Facebook or Twitter - and anyone that does is really, really dumb.

    Sure, I can get a few pithy links or quotes from them, but I have 100ish sites that I track on Bloglines that the content certainly isn't replicated there. Then they go on about what a wonderful thing Ask.com was and how asking questions is the future - but they fail because they don't realize that SURE I type questions into search engines all the time - GOOGLE. Why would I ever, ever go to Ask.com directly when I can ask the same question of Goggle, and get the Ask.com results, PLUS the results for the entire rest of the Internet? Back when it was "Askjeeves.com" I think I went there a few times, but I haven't even though of ask.com in probably the same half-decade I have been using Bloglines.

    The kicker...they aren't approving ANY comments on the announcement. I submitted one three days ago and it never got moderated, and I find it impossible to believe that no one else has commented. They just want to brush it under the carpet and forget about it. Much like the rest of the world has forgotten about Ask.com.

    So I moved everything over to Google Reader. It's OK, I actually like the "scrolling through marks it read" feature, but what I am not excited about is the relative instability of Google products - they are always tweaking, updating, etc. and I really just want something that works and stays that way, like Bloglines did.

    Life will go on. But Ask.com just sent me over to their competitor - I'll be spending even more time at Google now. And now I've gone from neutral on ask.com, to negative on them. I'll think twice before clicking a link to them, and try to find the info elsewhere.

  • I used to use Bloglines years ago, but switched to Google Reader quite a while ago. I guess I wasn't the only one... I'm glad to see they're making it easy for remaining users to move their feeds to a new service instead of just quietly disappearing one day. (Although it's a good idea to back up your feed list to OPML periodically regardless of who your newsfeed provider is, just in case.)
  • As in I could not find a way to delete a Bloglines account when I switched to Google Reader. Now it looks like they found a way to do it for me. Thanks, guys!
  • I started on Google Reader, and actually moved to Bloglines. The "beta" interface had some nice features that Google Reader didn't have at the time. And it was nice to have a break from Google. Casting around for an alternative, I stumbled into NetVibes. At first it doesn't look like a replacement for the type of site that Google Reader or Bloglines are, but after playing around with it for a bit, I found it actually is pretty decent. You can import your .opml file (via the big green "add content" button w

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