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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dave Winer Says Feedburner Is Trouble

Dave Winer of criticizes Google’s Feedburner acquisition:

When Feedburner first came online I warned that there was danger in giving so much power to one company. They argued that they were just a little company, struggling to make a go of it, and no one should fear them. Some of them even took the predictable political tactic of trashing the personality of the person raising the question. I held my ground. I’ve been around this business a long time, and I was sure their strategy was to sell to a bigger company, and I don’t trust big companies. (...)

So now someone at Google “owns” Feedburner and all their feeds. And they could, if they wanted to, change the feeds to another format, overnight, without asking anyone. Reader software might have trouble working with it. They would say “Oh but the new feeds work better with Google Reader, and that’s the one most people use.” (...)

People at Microsoft used to say that Windows isn’t ready to ship until Lotus doesn’t run. That’s not a typo.

Whether Feedburner will start to “prefer” Google Reader or vice versa (it may or may not happen), this issue of cross-integration will grow in scale over time, as it already grew in the past: in each of Google’s services, Google throws some weight towards other of its services. Most of these seem so natural when we think of Google’s point of view that we forget there’s any bias at all. Blogger “prefers” AdSense; Google web search “prefers” Google Finance; Picasa Web Albums “prefer” the Google Account; Gmail “prefers” Google Calendar; Gmail also “prefers” Google Spreadsheets; Orkut “prefers” Google Video and YouTube; Google web search “prefers” Google Maps; Google Products/ Froogle/ Google web search, AdWords and AdSense “prefer” Google Checkout, and so on.

[Via Techmeme. Original photo by Euan with some rights reserved.]

Update: Danny Sullivan chips in in the comments (HTML’ified):

Let’s see – Google buys FeedBurner, and then FeedBurner makes the MyBrand feature free for anyone to use. MyBrand is the feature that puts feeds under your own domain, which means if you want to buy into Dave’s paranoia, you can move off and take your readers with you.

Yeah, pretty clever of Google. Let’s make it easier for them to leave by making a formerly paid product free.

Look, anyone who started using something using someone else’s domain has themselves to blame, to begin with. But after Dave initially banged on FeedBurner those years ago, they quickly responded to make it so that you can move your feed even if you didn’t use MyBrand, through redirection. He never seems to credit them for this. In addition, they came out with MyBrand, which anyone who really cared could have used for I think over two years now, for a small fee. But as I said, it’s entirely free now.

So paranoid? Go get MyBrand. Here’s my guide to it.

The only change is, you know, it doesn’t cost money anymore.


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