Shyftr Blog

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

RSS Feeds, Community, Publishers, and Revisions

Over the past few days, much discussion has occurred regarding the nature of Shyftr and its service.

Shyftr is a social RSS reader. Like other RSS readers, Shyftr provides tools for people to aggregate, organize, read, and share RSS feeds they are subscibed to. One extension of this experience is the ability to discuss content that is read. All of the content is pulled in through the RSS feed, not HTML scraped, as some have speculated. It was important that we consider the viewpoints for those that felt we crossed the line. Louis Gray, Tony Hung, Mathew Ingram, Paul Glazowski, and Eric Berlin have all weighed in on their thoughts, and we have read many additional opinions.

All the discussions happening on Shyftr are initiated by the user. If a publisher is syndicating a full RSS feed, and discussions occur around an item in that feed, up until now, the full content of the article appears in the item being discussed. Shyftr provides full attribution to publishers, links back to their sites, and we do not remove advertisements nor alter the content in any RSS feed. With that in mind, we have decided to revise the format around our discussions. We will only display the title, author, and date of an item where discussions occur outside of the reader. We deeply respect content publishers, and it is not our intention to cause unease.

Shyftr was developed to help people find and subscribe to publishers that they otherwise would have never found on their own, through the community and network of friends. Having a community where people can share and discuss the feeds they read helps to facilitate this goal. As we build this community, we might make decisions that raise concerns, but we listen to our users and hope our overall efforts will get people excited to use Shyftr. If we make decisions that are not well-received, we will strive to make appropriate changes.

The conversations that have occurred over the past couple of days are healthy, thoughtful, and we appreciate all of the opinions that we have read. We will continue working towards building an environment that stimulates an opportunity for publishers to reach a broader audience, while respecting how that content is presented to our users. We hope that this change gets us back on track, addressing the valid concerns of publishers whose content comes to Shyftr.

Posted by Dave Stanley

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