After a blogstorm (or “bitchmeme,” as MG Siegler likes to call them) about the way in which it handled shared RSS feeds, social-media startup Shyftr has changed the way that its service works, according to a post from co-founder Dave Stanley, which I found via Louis Gray’s latest blog post on the subject. Now Shyftr will only show an abbreviated version of a blogger’s post if there are comments on it at the Shyftr site.
Louis is a supporter of the service, but not everyone has been. I raised the issue of whether Shyftr crossed a line in its usage of full-text feeds, and Tony Hung said he was pretty sure that it did. Other bloggers have also spoken out about the company’s attempts to build a business around someone else’s content — while some, including Robert Scoble and the blogger who calls himself Chartreuse, have said that these criticisms are off base and that bloggers should get used to seeing their content used in such ways. On the Shyftr blog, meanwhile, Stanley says:
“The conversations that have occurred over the past couple of days are healthy, thoughtful, and we appreciate all of the opinions that we have read. We will continue working towards building an environment that stimulates an opportunity for publishers to reach a broader audience, while respecting how that content is presented to our users.”
I give Shyftr a lot of credit for making such a change so quickly. That shows they are listening, and willing to adapt, and that’s good for a startup. But I don’t think this issue is going away. Is it just about the comments appearing somewhere else, as Stanley suggests? I’m not so sure.