Breakfast With Feedsters Chris Redlitz

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An invitation to have breakfast with Feedster President Chris Redlitz came as a bit of a surprise. I wrote an article a while back that wasn’t exactly, well, friendly. I met with Mr. Redlitz just before the morning sessions began at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York.

David Utter had advised me that if Redlitz started speaking Italian I should just turn around, but all I could think of as we shook hands was a Garfield cartoon.

“I don’t do mornings,” it reads.

In a strange amalgamation of disconnected thought, I referred myself to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, too. Arthur Dent could never get the hang of Thursdays. I could never get the hang of breakfast conversation.

I was definitely going to need some coffee. Jeeves in carbonite, dancing robots, and the “Dirty Redhead” cocktails from the Ask.com party were still buzzing in my head from the night before. Redlitz, spry and alert, looks across a fruit bowl and some wheat toast.

“We started with 42 feeds,” he said. “Now we have 25 million. Who knew?”

Either he missed the party, or is better at this hangover thing than I am. I looked at my waffle and bacon, and back at his healthy breakfast and reminded myself that he was from San Francisco. I started taking notes.

He spoke of the gray area of spam (sites and blogs that could go either way) and Feedster’s two-tiered method for detecting it and a third by-hand method used for the fine-tuning. A human can make a better decision in the questionable cases. I asked him about the possibility of incorporating users in that process in the Web 2.0 tradition.

“Having users qualify spam is something we’re considering,” he said. “We’re also working on a ranking system similar to Google’s. We’ll be fine tuning it in the next 120 days.”

A little quick math let me know that was about four months. He’s probably used to dealing in contracts, I thought. I took a gnaw off some floppy bacon (I’m used to it crispy), and while I was double-checking my math, he’d moved on to the next topic.

Thanks to a partnership with Mitsui, Feedster would be moving into Japan in March.

“Just in time for Hanami,” I thought. We discussed the intricacies of translating into Japanese scripts as well as the company’s plan to move into China by the end of the year.

I asked him to tell me what he thought of the troubles that Google has met in China and how it relates to their former “Do No Evil” policy.

“Google is a business now,” he said. “However you term evil, they’re going to make people angry, even though they don’t intend to. When they change their index, they screw people over. They don’t intend to, but they do.”

China is extra appealing to a blog and rss engine like Feedster, for a couple of reasons.

The first one is: “China has one of the fastest growing markets with user-generated content,” he said.

Secondly, if you want to light up the VC’s, the magic word pairing involves “China” and “user-generated content.”

“In fact, when you talk to investors, that’s number five on their questionnaire,” said Redlitz.

We wrapped up some unpleasant business about hard feelings, perceptions of truth and the like, and decided to shake hands and call it a morning. Redlitz hustled off to the conference.

I finished my floppy bacon and said hello to a long-bearded country-looking SES attendee at the next table. It was nice to see a reminder of home.

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Breakfast With Feedsters Chris Redlitz
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  • http://www.google.com/notebook/public/13925590165897262561/BDSIKQgoQmsLrpJsj Lacee

    This was amazing advace. Worked Great. If i ever meet you Ill buy ya a beer. Thanks man

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