How The News Flows

Lately, the blogosphere has been echoing with questions over the possibility of a trend that could suggest that RSS is gradually empowering the back-end (server systems) just as well as the front-end (client news readers).

rss-file-stand

RSS adds tremendous value to the underling information by structuring it in a simple and easily usable format, and I suspect that this trend may just be an indication of the widespread adoption of RSS for server-side applications in the near future. RSS as a standardized content delivery mechanism for interoperability between systems is growing.

Dave Winer, who pioneered the development of blogs and syndication (RSS), recently suggested that RSS is how the news flows:

If all the RSS on the planet were all of a sudden to stop updating (key point) the news would stop flowing. Any news guy or gal who thinks they could get by without RSS — think this through a bit more. We all love the Internet, but don’t shut off your gas and electric because your computer and router wouldn’t work without electricity. Same with RSS and news. RSS is how the news flows, whether you see it or not.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, a lead writer at ReadWriteWeb.com – one of the most widely read technology blogs online, contemplates that if you think RSS is dead then that’s your loss and it’s a big one:

Our team scans over thousands of company RSS feeds each morning for updates (what news writer wouldn’t do that?) and we use an open source customizable meme-tracker to make sure we haven’t missed anything important. We use open source RSS parsing software to set up a dashboard tracking all our competitors’ feeds, we use an RSS to IM alert system to get some feeds sent to us right away and at least some of us use Gmail Webclips for another layer of ambient feed tracking.

In other words, I use RSS all day long. Anyone who is competitive in their field and doesn’t just might be crazy.

The fact is clear, RSS is the backbone of content distribution online.


Server Application Unavailable

We are experiencing a problem with our web server, due to which our website is currently not operational. This issue is affecting all user RSS feeds.

We are trying to have the server back online at the earliest. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Please follow this blog post for an update soon.

Update: All services (including all RSS feeds) are up and running now.


Offer for Non-Profits and Bloggers

In an ongoing effort to provide the best value, we are pleased to announce a special offer for non-profit organizations and bloggers. Starting today, we will offer a 50% discount to eligible non-profit organizations and bloggers on our Starter and Plus service plans.

Non-Profit Organizations – To be eligible for this offer your organization must have an active website (on your own .ORG domain name) since 1st January 2009 or before. We’ll even waive-off the entire cost ($0 for the first year of use) if your organization happens to be a humanitarian aid agency.

Bloggers – To be eligible for this offer you must be an author of an active blog where you have been contributing since 1st January 2009 or before. We’ll even waive-off the entire cost ($0 for the first year of use) if you write a review about Feedity on your blog.

Please contact us if you wish to avail this limited-time special offer.


Feed Deleted, Purged, or Disabled

Some of our users have reported that they received the following message in their feeds:

This RSS feed may have been deleted, purged, or disabled. Please visit Feedity.com to rebuild this feed, or to create more custom RSS feeds.

This message is relayed by our RSS generator when the requested feed is not found on our system. The most common reason for it is that the RSS feed was purged due to inactivity. All free feeds belonging to users without an account (free or paid) are automatically purged from our system after 30 days of inactivity.

However, upon further investigation we have found that for some users without an account, their active free feeds were also purged due to a glitch with our service. We have fixed this issue. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

It is highly recommended for all service users without an account to create a free account to start with, and create their feeds under their account. It only takes a few seconds, and creating a free account provides several benefits like: ability to save your feed for refining it later, getting more frequent feed updates, and building more feeds.


Database Maintenance – 29 July

This is to inform Feedity users that our service provider will be applying a hotfix to the database server. The maintenance is scheduled for: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 – 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM Pacific time. The actual downtime will only last approximately 15 – 20 minutes.

During this time our application service will remain off-line, and all RSS feeds will be unavailable.

Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Get More With The Revamped Service Plans

As a segmentation exercise, we have revamped our service plans for a wider variety of options for our users. A complete comparison of the updated service plans can be reviewed on our website.

Here’s a brief summary of the changes:

  • The Premium plan has been renamed to Starter, and includes a basic set of features (same as before).
  • The Pro plan has been renamed to Business, and includes an advanced set of features (same as before).
  • A new Plus plan has been introduced to satisfy the mid-range requirements.
  • We have also been offering a high-demand custom solution (Corporate plan) for RSS publishing (and consumption) to a few organizations. This plan is also publicly available now. It includes managed isolated hosting, and provides better performance, stability, and scalability.
  • The Free plan remains as is.

The new service plans apply to all signups, upgrades, and renewals. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

We hope that the flexibility of our service plans would allow everyone to explore and gain from RSS publishing.


Podcast Feeds and Broken Feed Notifications

We have released an update with two new features this month: Podcast Feeds and Broken Feed Notifications. We received several requests for these features from Feedity users, so enjoy our feature-rich service for data syndication and information/news delivery.

Podcast feeds are automatically created (like regular feeds) based on the source webpage content (i.e. if it contains direct hyperlinks to valid media files). This will make podcast publishing as easy as dropping your media files in a public folder, and Feedity will take care of the rest. Supported file formats include m4a, mp3, mov, mp4, m4v, and pdf. The podcast feeds with media enclosures comply with the Apple iTunes specification, but we do not include any iTunes specific RSS tags for now.

The Broken Feed Notifications feature will allow Feedity users to be instantly notified by email if any one of their RSS feeds stops picking up feed items from the source webpage. An early detection is critical for optimum delivery. It can assist users in correcting the issue sooner than later, by editing and refining the feed. This feature is available as a global setting on the ‘My Profile’ page for our Premium and Pro plan users.

If you find Feedity useful (for personal subscriptions, or your business applications), then please consider upgrading you account. Our service plans start as low as $3.25 per month, which is nearly about the price of a cup of coffee!

Cheers 🙂