Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

Feedly v Craigslist 3–Maybe RSS is the problem

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Well Feedly and Craigslist are at it again: broken now for another month.  I’ve tempered my whining because I’ve been using Newsblur, where Craigslist still (mostly) works.  Once again, all communication on this is dead silent, with no blog post, acknowledgement or answered Tweets – until early this week, when I took to Twitter to whine about it again after Newblur’s polling temporarily broke.

To their credit, Feedly did respond and engaged me in a conversation, of which can be found here.  However there hasn’t been any other movement on any front and I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Craigslist feeds in Feedly probably won’t ever work again.

I would say that Craigslist bears most of the blame.  Taking Feedly at their word, for them to cut their polling down by a factor of 10 and yet still get blocked doesn’t make any sense.  Craigslist feeds still work with other readers such as Newsblur (which did come back later that night), and the Old Reader.  Craigslist is squarely blocking Feedly.  Craiglist can complain about being inundated, but they never pulled these tactics when Google Reader was the 800 pound RSS gorilla.  This smells like a pistol-whipping of Feedly. What makes things worse is that Craigslist doesn’t make it easy to lodge a complain or raise this as an issue.  I don’t understand how an internet company doesn’t act in their best interests to drive traffic (in this case, 2.5 million hits) to their site.  Craigslist has history of being jerks with RSS, as they went from having a full-text feed to a summary feed and required users to click into their site to view virtually any post.

Feedly isn’t blameless either.  They’ve been deathly silent, despite people bringing up the issue on their blog (commenting on the “we fixed it” post) and tweeting at them. Feedly also does have some options at their disposal to decrease their Craigslist load (such as not allowing subscribes for search feeds, or making Craigslist a Premium feature) – but they don’t want to go that route, opting for a scenario where no one can access Craigslist feeds through Feedly. Unless there’s some super-secret plan to counter this that is not being shared, Feedly is simply ignoring this issue.

Ultimately maybe RSS is to blame. Despite being a great solution to syndicate large quantities of content, it doesn’t seem to have any kind of following. Craigslist is visited by millions of people, but virtually no one complains about this efficient consumption method being shut off.  I’m coming to grips with the fact that despite a few savvy geeks who treasure this functionality – no one really cares about this issue. Either people enjoy going to a static web site and manually tracking posts that interest them, or they simply defer to a catered information source like Twitter of Facebook and let other people choose on their behalf.

Regardless, this inaction on both sides frustrates me, to the point where I’m canceling my Feedly Pro subscription. I only wish there was a way to vent my frustration to Craigslist, but they don’t care – and there unfortunately isn’t a better source to find bands that need drummers out there.

I just miss Google Reader, and long for a time when RSS was respected.

  • I’m in the same boat as you. I was hooked on Reader, then Google dropped us like a bad habit. I tried the Old Reader and couldn’t swing it. Then Feedly came along, and it was exactly what I wanted. Then to have this happen is really frustrating. At the end of the day, what I really want is a mobile app (or possibly a web app) that does its own RSS polling and maintains its own database (for read/unread). That way the load is distributed to the devices as opposed to Feedly being a man in the middle and getting shut down due to traffic overages.