Friday, October 31, 2014

TheNextWeb, why be greedy?

I was reading something on TheNextWeb today, and saw something about their RSS feeds being truncated. I noticed this occurring in Feedly, but today was the day I actually found their announcement. However, this post isn't about the announcement. It's about greed.

From the looks of what they were saying, this all has to do with being greedy. There's some guy named "Boris", which is apparently their CEO. And he doesn't seem to care about pissing off users. Some of those users are actually internet-famous, like DarkUFO.
The internet has changed a lot ever since it was first "launched". These days, you have millions (and probably billions) of websites all over the internet. Most of them contain embedded advertisements to help pay for the website, its staff, or anything else really. These advertisements are also worth a lot less than what they used to be. Ad clicks generally generate only a few US cents (¢) for every click. Ads that pay based on impressions are generally declining, or pay just as little.

Now, there's plenty of websites that have truncated feeds. From my research, the main reasoning behind this is money. RSS isn't used by a very wide audience. Those that do are probably tech-savvy enough to block advertisements. And for those that don't, the ads embedded into the feeds still don't generate a lot of revenue.
Some might wonder why I am picking on TheNextWeb specifically. I'm doing this because their CEO doesn't care about the users he has angered. Like most corporate puppets, they only care about the money flow. It isn't about what the users like. It's about making every single dime they can off of those users. The age of looking at free content on the internet without having a terrible experience is obviously declining.
Something else that irks me about TheNextWeb's decision is the unprofessionalism here in the comments. You have Boris writing lines that feature "get over it", etc. How does that make yourself look professional, in any sense of the word?

Now, back to the greed. TheNextWeb has existed for a few years now, and the site itself is pretty decent. It has nice animations and transitions. Their site has also grown a lot in popularity over the years. Because of this, I don't understand their need to be this greedy. Like I said before, this isn't the only website I do this. I'm calling out TNW on this because the CEO was explicitly unprofessional in some of his comments.

RSS isn't a dying standard, especially when services like Feedly are bringing innovative interfaces and nice mobile apps that make reading on-the-fly much easier and a joy. Websites punishing RSS users is just the publisher shooting them the finger. It isn't about stats. It's all about money, and greed.