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Online presentations service SlideRocket has announced that they are adding a variety of social features today. Nearly one year ago, SlideRocket announced their first set of partners and today they continue with a new set of social partners.
The partners include:
- Live Twitter stream – you can push Twitter searches and hashtags into your presentations live as you are delivering the presentation.
- Stock tickers – you can pull in live, real-time stock quotes
- RSS feeds – if you list a feeed in your presentation, SlideRocket can keep updating the feed during the presentation
- PollEverywhere – this service will allow you to add a live audience poll to your presentation. The PollEverywhere service uses text messaging to allow your audience to participate.
One of my most popular posts on CN, “I’ve Had Enough of Live at Conferences” looks at presentations, presenters and when “going live” is appropriate. I get why SlideRocket added these new social features, they make sense to add. I just hope presenters use them effectively and attendees still walk away with new learnings.
As a side note, apparently SXSW is using the NASCAR business model — SlideRocket is listed as the “official presentation software” for the conference.
The Google Reader team has announced a new way to make RSS feeds. Sometimes you visit a site and there is no feed available. If you want to stay informed when updates are made to the site, there are a few tools that will provide you with an email or alert. You can now create feeds in Google Reader which will show updates to the pages you are interested in following.
If you manage your RSS feeds using Google Reader, adding a webpage feed alert is as simple as adding the webpage to the “add a subscription” option on the left menu. Once you add a webpage, Google will try to find a feed and if they are unsusccessful, you will be prompted to create an alert feed.
The result (a sample is displayed below) isn’t as pretty as a standard RSS feed but works if all you want is an alert when content on the desired page has changed. This could work very well for product pages or to follow price changes for products you are interested in. A few people have noted that this is a good way to keep tabs on your competition.
As a publisher, you can opt-out if you don’t want Google to create feeds using this new service.
My column on InformationWeek this week asks the following question, “Will 2010 Mean The End Of The Full RSS Feed?”
Here’s a snippet from the column, “Over the past few months I’ve noticed more media sites (e.g. blogs, news sites, etc.) moving to partial RSS feeds. The New York Times only offers partial RSS feeds. InformationWeek runs partial RSS feeds. However most blogs are still offering full RSS feeds.
As Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and other social services have grown, so has the ability for these services to send good quality, monetizable traffic to media sites. Users who complained for years that they would only read content in a full RSS feed are clicking links inside social streams like never before. Many media sites post all of their links inside their social media streams. And once a user reaches the media site, they are more likely to interact with the site which drives even more pageviews and in turn, revenue.”
Former RSS user Robert Scoble is now sharing links via Twitter (and therefore Friendfeed). Users are clicking on his shared links and the users are taken to the respective full, rich, advertising-heavy media sites.
Naturally readers will make a lot of noise if their favorite blog removes full feeds. From our research in the CenterNetworks Labs, we’ve determined that the typical “noise” period on the Internet lasts two weeks. After that readers will be clicking links in partial feeds and will read the content on the full, chock full of ads media site. Typically one of the arguments related to partial feeds is around mobile reading. With the new crop of mobile devices including the Droid, iPhone 3Gs and the new Google Nexus One, mobile browsing is much smoother than how mobile browsers displayed content years ago.
One of the main reasons I see the feed switch coming this year is because in-feed advertising has basically been non-existant. The nice revenue stream that the old pre-Google Feedburner was providing is gone. Media sites will need to replace that source of income somehow.
Over the next week I am planning to take a deeper look at how one of the popular content scraper media sites uses partial RSS feeds for maximum revenue benefit.
Please have no fear…full RSS feeds will still be available — to receive them you will pay $1/feed.
Friendfeed co-founder Kevin Fox has announced a new statistical addition to the Friendfeed service. Basically starting today you are now able to see how many people are subscribed to your RSS feed via Friendfeed. In the image below, you can see that “friendfeedagg” is now a listed feed service like Google Reader, NewsGator, etc. Fox is quick to note that no matter what the number is, more people may see your content in Friendfeed because of the “friend of friend” function which takes something I “like” and shares it with my subscribers.
I tested the functionality this morning using my Feedburner account and it showed 17 subscribers. I’d like to thank each of you individually for subscribing! Your gift is on the way.
Rob Diana takes a look at the numbers and wonders if they even matter. Diana would prefer the counts are removed. He saw huge jumps in subscriber numbers for his blog along with the blog of Louis Gray. Sure makes my boost of 17 subscribers look tiny!
Last week we documented a variety of issues with the Google FeedBurner service. Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore was able to grab some time with FeedBurner co-founder and now Google product manager Steve Olechowski. The interview is worth a read if you are a FeedBurner user.
Steve talks about feed monetization, rss subscriber count accuracy, stats integration with Google Analytics, email tracking, speed of feed updates, feed flare updates, size of FeedBurner team, ad formats and Steve’s feed predictions for 2009.
In the interview Steve notes that most publishers are earning more with the new AdSense for Feeds product. I would strongly disagree both from my own sites and from other publishers I’ve spoken with. When I met with the FB team, they said that their ad team was good at selling tech ads. I would agree with that statement because they had top of the line advertisers paying good rates. Also remember that the FeedBurner ad program was mostly (or exclusively I forget) a CPM model; the AdSense model is CPC which makes a difference in total earnings.
It’s also interesting that Steve notes that the team they have working on FeedBurner come in and out at "various times". As for the pinging and updates, again, I’ve been able to get the CN feed to update instantly with no issues.
I look forward to seeing how Steve and his team can get FeedBurner moving towards progress as both a service and a publisher monetization option in early 2009.
Yesterday we wrote about some of the issues that Google has been facing with their FeedBurner product. I’ve heard from many bloggers who are either moving their feed back to their own domain or are contemplating the move. Let’s take a look at what FeedBurner offers in terms of services and why a move might not be as easy as one might think.
At the basic level, Feedburner provides two services: feed management and advertising injection.
Feed management offers the ability to track your subscribers and insight into how your readers are using your feed. I believe the tracking can be tied into Google Analytics but I haven’t explored this so I can’t comment. There are a variety of “feedflare” items which help you promote your feed via social sites and other services. The feedflare items can live within the feed and/or on the source website. There are other feed management options including: summary feed, geotagging feeds, format converters, etc. In the two years I’ve used FB, I haven’t spent much time investigating these options.
There’s also a feed email management tool which allows readers to receive a daily email of content from a blog. I have found that many of the CN readers like this option. You can also setup a rotating headline animator which seemed to be popular in 2007 but I don’t see many people using it today.
From a monetization perspective, the ad program now runs through Google AdSense. You setup feed ads in your AdSense profile and ads begin to serve in the feed. To be honest, the monetization has been absolutely disappointing especially when compared to the high cpm and top advertisers the FB sales team were able to put in my feed. Some have reported that the ad targeting is also pretty off-base but it appears to be a bit better today.
When it comes to options, there really aren’t many out there. Pheedo is one option that offers basically the exact same services as FB does with a strong support team. Pheedo has a dedicated sales team similar to the old FB sales team and the earnings were much stronger than AdSense for Feeds. My only real issue with Pheedo is that I could never get the feed to update quickly or in near real-time.
What other services are there that could replace what FeedBurner offers? Please leave links in the comments and I will add them to the post. I am also interested in knowing if you serve ads in your feed.
One of the issues with moving your feed from FeedBurner is that it will take some time for the feed address to update if it does update at all. Unlike an email list where you can move providers with no worries because you have control over the list, it’s not exactly the same with a RSS feed. I spoke with a few people over the past month about this and basically what happens is that you “tell” FeedBurner to update your rss to a new address. Then when a reader attempts to retrieve the feed, FeedBurner redirects the feed to the new address. But I hear it doesn’t always work.
For the large bloggers with defaults all over the web and millions of subscribers, the redirect issue could hit them bigtime. Defaults are where a service like Google Reader basically gives x blog a listing so that all new subscribers (or some who pick a package) receive a blog or set of blogs. I am not convinced that non-subscribing defaults will forward to the new address appropriately.
I have to believe that Google values the FeedBurner product because of the content, their Google Reader application and the Google AdSense advertising injection. With all of the public talk over the past days about the issues with FeedBurner, it’s interesting that no statement regarding fixing the issues and what’s coming next for the service has been made. There have also been no updates on the Google Feeds for Adsense blog. But there are plenty of posts on the FB Google Group asking for help.
As many of you know, I was very disappointed when FeedBurner was acquired by Google. The FeedBurner service had so much potential, both from the user- and publisher-side. Not to mention a great team which I had the chance to spend the day with in Chicago. Most (if not all) of the FB crew are gone from Google.
You can read all of my FeedBurner posts over the past two years.
Let’s fast forward to more recent times. Late last year FeedBurner began to move publishers over to the Google hosting architecture. CN was in the first batch of sites that were moved and our feed url changed to a Google domain. However over the past week or so, the url is back to a feedburner.com domain. We’ve heard reports that Google has been pushing everyone to switch over to the Google hosting architecture this month. Of course Google might have just moved the domain over so I am not too worried about this domain name return.
I’ve also noticed a big drop in the subscriber count listed in the administration panel of my account. Several others have contacted me with the same issue and it’s starting to spread on Twitter. While you know I believe that the overall subscriber counts are just as valid as "hits" were in 1995, the more important issue is that each of our subscribers are receiving the proper feed.
There’s been a lot of chatter lately that FB isn’t updating feeds quick enough. After using Gabe Rivera’s trick, I find my feed always updates instantly. If your RSS numbers are down, please leave a comment. You don’t need to share the numbers, just if there is a drop in the overall count.
Last week Google decided to close a number of services and many wondered if FB was next to close. My hope is actually the opposite. I’d like to see Google invest more time and resources into FB because it’s important to both users and publishers. And both of those groups are important to Google’s advertisers and investors.
Update: LiveCrunch has a similar post from today as well.