RSS Really Sucks

A while back I wrote that RSS sucks, and now that I’ve had some more time to think about it I’ve come to a deeper and more nuanced conclusion: RSS Really Sucks. The point was driven home recently as I read articles by people arguing that IE7 from Microsoft does RSS well enough to kill off a few standalone aggregators. I suppose, although that’s a little like saying that buggy whips drive milk-wagons so well that people will soon stop using willow branches to goad horses.

Why? Because, as Scott Karp points out, the IE7 RSS implementation is as glorified “favorites” — bookmarks, in other words. And they are particularly irritating bookmarks, ones that continually change and needle you as more “information” (I use that advisedly) comes beeping and streaming into your computer.

So, while IE7 may kill off a few standalone RSS aggregators, it doesn’t matter. Practical RSS aggregators remains so badly broken for most people that it will be impossible to tell the difference between live aggregators and dead ones.


  1. Havent tried IE7 yet.. any comments ?

  2. Tried it, does little for me. Found it unstable, which is normal as a beta. But its main new features, like tabs, have long been available elsewhere, and I have a hard time imagining leaving behind my Firefox extensions and Greasemonkey scripts.

  3. I think the wave of the future are sites like Digg, but more narrowly targeted to specific areas of interest. You get to the point where you just can’t wade through so many RSS feeds, so you look for a filter – voting by human beings seems to be a pretty decent filter if you can find the right community.. I am doing an experiment of my own on this at PPCMemo. I won’t link to it here because I really don’t intend this to be blog spam, just illustrating the point.

  4. Is that the fault of RSS though, or the applications? You might as well say the alphabet sucks because of AOL-speak.

  5. I remember when you used to be an optimist.

  6. Hey Dick —
    Ha! I’m still an optimist! But now I’m optimist on a mission for better aggregators 😉

  7. Paul M — “RSS Sucks” is code for RSS apps suck. Get with the program.
    Paul K — What you wrote is too funny, almost fell out of my chair.

  8. Thanks Scott. I aim to inform and entertain…
    And thanks for straightening Paul M. out on the “RSS sucks” code.

  9. More People Underwhelmed by RSS Support in IE 7

  10. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place? NetNewsWire (and NewsFire) on the Mac are simply brilliant. I rely on it heavily and it works well. And the sychronization in NetNewsWire with my .Mac account works as advertised, so my laptop and desktop are in sync. On Windows, I think Newsgator and FeedDemon are tops. RSS doesn’t suck. I have about 60 feeds and continually add new ones and trimming less useful ones. The result is a very tidy list of super high-quality feeds and makes me feel abreast of everything I want. It has changed the Internet for me.

  11. Marc: NetNewsWire is a very polished product, but it’s a pale shadow of what some of us are looking for in an information slicer/dicer.