Digg has just published the results of part 2 of their user survey into what makes a good RSS reader. It’s all part of their quest to build a Google Reader replacement, which they announced on the same day Google announced they would be killing their product in July.
In part 1, we learned that users want very little changed – they want a simple, fast, feature-light RSS reader. This time around, Digg found that a majority of users aren’t really into social features inside readers. They also uncovered that 40% would pay for a good reader. And that led Digg to all but announce that Digg Reader will be a paid service.
Although they don’t come right out and say it, Digg says that they were “pleased” to see that 40% of their survey respondents said that they would pay for a Google Reader replacement.
Also, Digg says that they would like their users “to be customers, not our product.” Sounds like Digg is pretty much set on charging for their RSS reader:
Free products on the Internet don’t have a great track record. They tend to disappear, leaving users in a lurch. We need to build a product that people can rely on and trust will always be there for them. We’re not sure how pricing might work, but we do know that we’d like our users to be our customers, not our product. So when we asked survey participants whether or not they would be willing to pay, we were pleased to see that over 40% said yes.
Although Google Reader was a free product, and yes, it is being shuttered, I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that free products on the internet don’t have a great track record. Plenty of free products have thrived and continue to thrive, with the help of advertising.
Either way, Digg probably needs to go ahead and get their reader on the market – sooner rather than later. It’s already been over a month and a half since Google announced the end of Google Reader. Users have already had plenty of time to find alternatives like Feedly, NewsBlur, Netvibes, FlipBoard, and many, many more. Digg has targeted June for the beta release – but will that be too late? And how amazing would it have to be to get people to pay for it?