Blogs and custom RSS feeds

Online services like Feedburner provide blogs with custom RSS feeds, these feeds being the way blogs communicate with other blogs and sites. RSS is the magic that makes blogs happen, allowing them to get info out to the blogosphere quickly. These feeds are part of the blog software and are created automatically. Other sites and blogs can subscribe to them.

These online services also allow a user to create news aggregators, which is the ability to subscribe to and read multiple rss feeds and news sources in one place without having to go to the individual websites, a useful feature indeed.

However, there’s a growing trend of blogs using these online services as their sole rss feed, and this can be problematic. What if the online service goes down or goes out of business? What if they decide your content is “inappropriate?” Worse, and this is already happening, what if they insert ads into the feed?

Blogs should use their own rss feeds whenever possible. Yet that’s not always possible. Blogger and Movable Type do not have native support for podcasting, so these online services have stepped in and offer ways to kludge it. However this means the blog does not have direct control over their own podcast feed!

As far as I know, Radio UserLand (the blog software PoliZeros uses) is the only blog software that supports podcasting completely. It also has a news aggregator. I subscribe to 75 rss feeds in my Radio news aggregator, and that’s how I read most of my news. Then, with one click, I can pop a news item into the editor, edit it, add my own thoughts, then publish it. That is the magic of rss feeds.

Other blog software also needs to support podcasting natively as well as having news aggregators. Blog authors should not cede control of their site by allowing a third party website to create and publish their sole rss feed.

(PoliZeros does have a Feedburner rss feed and we think they are a great site – however this is a secondary feed, not our main or sole feed.)

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