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Open Letter to Bloglines

Dear Bloglines-
Congratulations on being purchased. I hope that it works out to be everything you've hoped for as well as everything it can be for your users. You folks have produced a really quality product here and deserve the best.

I'm also writing to mention my concern about something I read in the most recent edition of Wired (issue 13.03, March 2003, p. 026) where Mark Fletcher is quoted as saying that Bloglines will introduce ads to the service this spring.

I'm a realist here, and have been resigned to advertising in RSS content for some time. Much as I hate the idea, many blogs and other syndication-based businesses (like Bloglines) need to have a viable business model and that advertising is often part of that model. I'm not a radical; I believe it's OK to make a profit for work that you've done, so as much as I dislike the idea of seeing ads in my feeds (or rather, other people's feeds that I subscribe to) I don't feel betrayed by the idea. You have offered a wonderful service for free for a long time, and I knew the honeymoon would have to end. I expect that Ask Jeeves's purchase of Bloglines will do nothing but expedite the need for a viable business model.

I am, however, a savvy consumer with high standards and strong opinions. And I don't hesitate to act on my opinions by taking my business elsewhere when displeased. So I'm writing you a note in the hope that some early commentary by your users will prevent a degradation of the service you offer that will end up seeing me search for a replacement.

Please make a concerted and concentrated effort to get the advertising-in-syndication model right. Ask some Really Smart Folks for help if you need to. Talk to Dave Winer or Doc Searls or Robert Scoble or any of a hundred other bloggers who have written about the subject. Blog about it yourselves, post it in your forum and ask for comments. In short, do everything you can to make sure that your able to add these ads without alienating your users. I really want you to do well with this, both for your sake and mine.

Thanks for all you do;

Related Links
Why Bloglines sold: It’s not a business. - The Jason Calacanis Weblog -


At 12:41 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for your comments about our service. Obviously, several things have changed since that interview was done in early December. At this point, we don't plan on running ads in the near future, and frankly we haven’t looked into the specifics of implementing ads yet. We are 100% focused on building out Bloglines and keeping up with a fast growing user base. Yes, I’ve talked a bit about the approach we’re considering, but we haven’t moved beyond the idea stage.

The Ask Jeeves acquisition has opened up many opportunities for us. If and when we decide on an advertising based revenue model, you can be assured that we will be good web citizens, and follow the rules and conventions of the industry. And we will always continue to listen to our users.


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