First let me just say that I’ve very disappointed in all of you. I was hoping to get some brilliant insights for which I could take credit, and instead not nothing but a few moderately interesting questions. I have to do everything around here.
That said, I’ll move on. Our starting point was “[t]here exists an amalgam of software and services NewsGator, such that for each registered user of NewsGator the associated corporate entity receives revenue that is recurrent in nature.”
So NewsGator’s approach seems to make a great deal of sense, with my only question being whether there is enough of a market to support that approach until the rest of the world catches up. Just writing software to read RSS feeds isn’t going to do much to aid one’s plans for world domination: people buy the software once, maybe upgrade at some point in the distant future — even if people love your software, you have a constant battle to get enough new people to buy it every month to keep the lights on.
A service, on the other hand, with credit cards being billed each and every month? Way cool. Even if you don’t have people locked into a contract, if your product is good people pay you for it each and every month.
This part of the NewsGator approch seems very sane; the potential down side is whether (even with “custom” feeds and whatnot) enough people will pay $20…or even $6 a month for what still seems a pretty limited service. Synchronization between devices is sweet, but the custom feeds don’t really appeal to me, and while the keyword/related content feeds are great (and will, I think, become absolutely essential as RSS use really gets going, getting only two of each in the bottom package would piss me off. (REF #5)
I currently use FeedDemon, which has a similar “watch feed” tool. Without even coming close to exploring all of my obsessive geek needs I already have eight watches set up, which would mean that I have to get the $20/month package. That’s double what I have to pay TMobile for the bandwith to get the feeds to a phone or handheld, getting close to half what I pay for the bandwith coming in to my house. And if — sorry, when — I want more keyword feeds I’m getting up into the “business” packages. (REF. #3, more or less. I think that’s why I included it, at least.)
Before I get accused of naysaying, though, let’s return to these “business” packages. While I may be (probably am) wrong, that seems like the direction that NewsGator is looking, and it looks like a really sweet position that’s just waiting to be filled.
What do I mean? Well, a lot of companies have halfheartedly jumped on the blog bandwagon, but most have chosen to use a blog as an efficent, accessible way to communicate information from the company to the outside world. There are relatively few cases where people have realized that there’s probably even greater value to having a blog that’s aimed towards the company, pulling relevant information from the outside world. (REF. #4)
If Brad Feld has a feed set up to watch for mentions of his name (hi, Brad!), that’s entertaining; if a company has feeds set up to watch for mentions of their products, competitors, relevant business keywords…well, that’s useful. That’s potentially really, really useful.
With more and more information online, constantly sifted by faster and better search tools, we’re approaching the point where finding the information isn’t the issue. Figuring out what the relationships between all those pieces of information, and figuring out what to do with it is the issue. Um, are the issues. While there is a lot of ground still to cover in the “find information” part of it, machines are pretty good at that part already; it’s us — the people — who need to figure out how we can manage that information effectively. (REF. #6)
I’ve got more science fiction-y “do our brains need to change how they generate metadata in order for us to live in such a data intensive world” musings that I could share, but…well, it’s probably best for all concerned if I just go home and have dinner.