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Feed Editors? Um, Yeah, They're Called Magazines

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 02, 2005

Mark Pincus has another take on Fred Wilson’s post on the coming attention crisis he sees in countless new RSS feeds and Web services, which I blogged about a few hours ago. Mark anticipates the rise of what he calls feed editors to help filter his feed overload. “But isn’t this what commercial media and niche mags have always been for?” he adds. Well, yeah. In a world of unlimited information and limited time, there will be value in successfully distilling that information for targeted audiences. Welcome to my job.

Of course, those editors and writers won’t necessarily be the same people listed today on magazine and newspaper mastheads—if they’re people at all—and the publications certainly won’t look the same as today’s. A lot of publications may not survive the rise of new algorithm-driven blog and media filters, from Google News to memeorandum, or the meta-blogs that are themselves filters for groups of blogs on related subjects. And people may well want far more targeted distillations of online content than traditional publications can economically provide.

But however you slice it, there’s going to be a need—and a market—for media that can cut through the RSS clutter, so you don’t have to.

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Reader Comments

Motorola Razr G-u-y

November 2, 2005 09:29 AM

I don't think there will ever be a good way to cut through clutter that those who contribute to the clutter cannot get around. Just my thought.

Mark Woodman

November 2, 2005 10:36 AM

The HiTSyndicaat guys are working on "MySyndicaat,
which allows you to rack-and-stack feeds with item-level filters for what you do and don't want to make it to your reader.

I have a beta account, and the power/flexibility of what they already have in place is pretty sweet.

Mike Masnick

November 2, 2005 12:37 PM

Hi Rob, sent an email to you about this, but figured I should comment as well.

We announced a service in this exact space a few weeks ago called Techdirt InfoAdvisor:

We work with Fortune 500 companies to manage different portfolios of information -- which include edited feeds, created feeds and filtered feeds, to make sure the right info gets to the right people, without overhwelming them. We also write up commentary and analysis for those companies, giving them our perspective and highlighting what's most important to them.

As per your comment on magazines, it's amusing that the AP story ( on our service made that exact point, saying that "Traditional media mostly had a lock on that market before the Internet let loose an information flood."

The difference here is that our service is much more customized -- tailored directly to the needs of specific people within specific companies, and we change along with them as their needs change, to make sure we're supplying exactly the right info, without it becoming overwhelming.

Anyway, thought you might find it interesting.

Rob Hof

November 2, 2005 01:27 PM

Mike, I do indeed find Techdirt's new service very interesting, so thanks for mentioning it. (And BTW, TechDirt is one feed I don't anticipate needing to filter out--love the concise takes on key issues of the day.)

Paul Tincknell

November 3, 2005 10:45 PM

Check out the Awasu RSS Reader; it has Channel Hooks and Plug-in architecture that can filter, search, and archive feeds as they come in.

mark pincus

January 10, 2006 09:24 PM

hey rob, you're actually starting to fulfill the new role i referred to (and thanks for that:).

what i meant is that there is a whole new and ever expanding realm of valuable content feeds that we cant possibly keep up. there is for sure a bigger role for a new commercial media. i need someone to reliably and consistently tell me what's being blogged that matters for me on many levels from business to politics to people and culture.
if we grew to 500 channels on satellite tv, we now face 500,000 in the blog world (ok, not really yet, but i can probably count 50 new ones:).

Rob Hof

January 10, 2006 11:07 PM

Mark, thanks for the perspective. I think you're right--there will be a lot of existing AND NEW media outlets that do this. (Some existing media won't get it, though, or won't be able to change fast enough. Hopefully not this particular medium, but we'll have to do a lot right....)

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