Shyftr Responds To Feed Usage Outcry

    April 14, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Feed reader/sharing service Shyftr tweaked how it uses feed content after several bloggers complained about the practice.

Shyftr got a taste of the world of blogs when writers become displeased. The company currently runs a beta version of its online feed reading service, which encourages its userbase to share the feeds they read with others.

The way Shyftr shared those feeds made a few full feed publishers upset. By publishing the full article when Shyftr users commented on something, some bloggers felt their content was being repurposed to benefit Shyftr at their expense.

Shyftr’s Dave Stanley blogged that the site changed its policy in response to the complaints.

“We have decided to revise the format around our discussions. We will only display the title, author, and date of an item where discussions occur outside of the reader,” said Stanley. He also denied Shyftr scraped content, pointing out that the site only uses whatever content arrives through a publisher’s feed.

The change in the sharing mechanism apparently mollified full feed publishers like Tony Hung, who called the change “a good thing, although I would have been just as happy if they had grabbed the first 100-200 words as well as a ‘summary’.”

Though the convenience of RSS feeds benefits people who use it to follow a number of publishers, those publishers have to wrestle with the ongoing idea that feeds steal readers away from the ads they may publish on a website. Full feed availability means a reader doesn’t have to go to the main site.

We don’t think embedded feed advertising has taken off in performance to match conventional ad placements used on the Web. Although Shyftr changed its service, the initial complaints still reflect a publisher concern – why put out a full feed and sacrifice potential CPM or click revenue at the main site?