February 06, 2008

RSSmeme Debuts as ReadBurner Clone

Another day, another site launching to highlight the most popular shared items in Google Reader.

With ReadBurner achieving its one-month anniversary tomorrow, the service is already spawning a number of copycats, first seeing Dennes Abing start with Shared Reader, and now, today, Benjamin Golub has debuted a new site, called RSSmeme. In both cases, the two sites saw the success that Alexander Marktl has had with ReadBurner, and hoped to capitalize on the lacking power vacuum in this space, as Google rests on its hands with Google Reader.

But while Shared Reader didn't directly admit to thievery, Benjamin doesn't hold back.

In the help page for RSSmeme, Benjamin writes, "How is this different than ReadBurner? Fundamentally it isn't.", adding, "I wrote a script that sucked all of the feeds out of ReadBurner. If you think that was wrong then I apologize, but it was ripe for the plucking."

Essentially, Benjamin says he is looking to test how good his capabilities are as a Django developer, as noted in a blog post, titled, "RSSmeme - Look out ReadBurner!". In the post, he adds "competition is good" and "eventually both of us will be better" due to having more players in the game.

RSSmeme's top story this evening shows their interface

So what does RSSmeme add to the conversation that ReadBurner does not? Not a whole lot, so far. Benjamin has added tags for stories, so you can click on the tag and see other similar stories that were shared. He also offers a search engine, where ReadBurner does not. But ReadBurner also offers the ability to add new linkblogs to the service, offers filtering for specific languages, filters for how many shares are needed for you to see a shared item, top-level statistics for each linkblog, and multiple ways to view the shared items, including full content, text-only, or even just images.

Then again, it is RSSmeme's first day. Benjamin just bought the URL www.rssmeme.com yesterday.

Should ReadBurner have a problem with Benjamin's scraping the site to create a competitor? I'd think so. But I'm sure somebody can make the case that all ReadBurner is doing is making a site based on data delivered by Google. So did ReadBurner "steal" the data from Google, who first "stole" the data from individual bloggers, making Benjamin's crime one in a long list? Not sure. I'm not arguing the legality. But it isn't all that innovative that he scraped ReadBurner's site, after Alexander Marktl had been working on the project for a month, and copied its major features. Unless Benjamin comes up with something extremely compelling soon, I don't believe you would see ReadBurner fans switch over to RSSmeme all too quickly.


  1. I did support none, some, or all previews but had to disable it to get better caching as my site hit StumbleUpon. As soon as I have time to fix my caching (the problem is that the setting for none/some/all was using sessions; which don't really cache, I'm trying to come up with an elegant solution now, which might have to use a GET parameter like ReadBurner does although it is kind of an ugly approach).

    As far as stealing the data goes, I know that ReadBurner took his first feeds from FriendFeed....it's just what happens these days because it is very easy to do with a simple script.

    Some other things I offer that ReadBurner doesn't: author pages/feeds (http://www.rssmeme.com/author/100/), source pages/feeds (http://www.rssmeme.com/source/11/), search feeds (http://www.rssmeme.com/feeds/search/yahoo/google/microsoft/), tag pages/feeds (http://www.rssmeme.com/tag/myspace/), you get the idea. Basically every page you visit has a custom feed.

    I don't really see the need to get a form up there ASAP for adding new feeds, I've got over 500 feeds already, but I promise it will come.

    The min share filters ReadBurner has are nice; but I won't be adding them. Since I support pagination and search I don't think they are too important.

    Thanks for covering this!

  2. Hey Louis. Good stuff. Somehow we ended up on Shared Reader. I did burn to ReadBurner but not Shared Reader. Are we getting out of control here ??

  3. Charlie, Shared Reader borrowed all the linkblogs from ReadBurner when it got started. It assumed implicit approval to share, as Google initially did when they got in so much trouble for showing friends' shared items a while back.

    ReadBurner is the true innovator here in my mind, both first and best.

  4. http://benjamingolub.com/2008/02/07/rssmeme-preview-settings-enabled/

    I've fixed the caching issues and enabled the preview settings.

  5. View your similar users: http://www.rssmeme.com/user/116/similar/

    Adding user search so you can find yourself too.

  6. You can also view similar stories now, search for users, and see total stats (ie how many feeds/authors/sources/stories/tags are in the database).

    I also compared RSSmeme and ReadBurner at http://validator.w3.org/ and found that RSSmeme is completely valid xHTML but ReadBurner has a ways to go.

    I think the only thing RSSmeme doesn't have that ReadBurner does is language filtering and min shares now. And I don't really plan on adding either; they don't seem very useful to me.

  7. I just added filters for time since the story was published and minimum number of shares. This also has it’s own RSS feed and I made it more prominent that EVERY page has a custom RSS feed.


    I think all that ReadBurner has now is language filtering…

  8. I'm not sure if you can do this in ReadBurner but in RSSmeme you can filter by source.

    Louis here you can view all shares for your site (could be useful):

    Of course there is also a feed (http://www.rssmeme.com/feeds/source/134/)

    You could use this to keep track of who is sharing your site. If ReadBurner can do this; then it isn't straight from the GUI.

    Am I overwhelming you with comments? I just thought that your original post made it clear that I needed to do more; so I did more.

  9. ReadBurner seems to not be updating at the moment. Compare the top stories on ReadBurner to the top stories on RSSmeme; ReadBurner's is a story for a while ago and they have only 25 shares for it while RSSmeme is up to 33 (http://www.rssmeme.com/story/13910/) and has kicked it off the front page because it is over 24 hours hold.

    Lastly; RSSmeme now crawls the web looking for link blogs...follow http://www.rssmeme.com/stats/ to see how many we have now. Right not we are up to 934.

    I'm wondering if your current article is a bit behind the times now...