Shyftr changes its tune on shared feeds

by Mathew on April 13, 2008 · 8 comments

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.

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  • http://www.plagiarismtoday.com Jonathan Bailey

    I am glad that they changed their policy as quickly as they did, but it shows to me that they did not think their business model all the way through. Yes, they are listening, but they are walking into a minefield with this and didn't bother getting a map.

    They're just hoping that the explosions don't hurt too bad…

  • http://www.louisgray.com/live/ Louis Gray

    The negativity over Shyftr has been surprising to me, but now that we're here, they'll have to keep being open and transparent. It's amazing how many folks took what should be seen as a great development in RSS feed readers and saw it as an attack on their livelihood or copyright. When it boils down to it, you have a pair of guys working hard on their dream project who just got shot down by 90% of folks who never have actually used the service. I'm glad they listened and changed the product, but it hurts the users who __should__ have full access to the feeds and comments, in my opinion.

    It's a responsibility for us bloggers to be aware of and engage with the new forums for discussion. Those that don't will be passed up by those of us who do.

  • http://www.plagiarismtoday.com Jonathan Bailey

    I am glad that they changed their policy as quickly as they did, but it shows to me that they did not think their business model all the way through. Yes, they are listening, but they are walking into a minefield with this and didn't bother getting a map.

    They're just hoping that the explosions don't hurt too bad…

  • http://www.louisgray.com/live/ Louis Gray

    The negativity over Shyftr has been surprising to me, but now that we're here, they'll have to keep being open and transparent. It's amazing how many folks took what should be seen as a great development in RSS feed readers and saw it as an attack on their livelihood or copyright. When it boils down to it, you have a pair of guys working hard on their dream project who just got shot down by 90% of folks who never have actually used the service. I'm glad they listened and changed the product, but it hurts the users who __should__ have full access to the feeds and comments, in my opinion.

    It's a responsibility for us bloggers to be aware of and engage with the new forums for discussion. Those that don't will be passed up by those of us who do.

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