August 13, 2008

I've Taken a New Advisory Role With ReadBurner

If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, you'll know that one of the most frequent topics I've discussed is that of RSS readers, and innovative tools to determine "hot" or most popular items - either on a broad measure, or by specific topic or vertical. One of the most fun stories to follow, for me, this year, was the stealth debut of ReadBurner, followed by its rapid ascension into visibility, its later changing hands and continued efforts to add new features and make it a standard for determining the best content across the Web.

As of today, I'll be taking a more direct role in helping the team at ReadBurner succeed, working with them in an advisory role, where I can spend a few hours each week talking strategy.

So what does this mean for the other companies in this space, who have played a crucial role in our coverage this year, such as RSSmeme, Feedheads, and LinkRiver? To me, it doesn't change a whole lot. I've made it clear that I really like this arena, and see that it has great potential, and I've maintained a good relationship with the developers at each site.

In fact, I reached out to both Mario Romero and Ben Golub in advance of this post to let them know of our making the ReadBurner affiliation more official, in case they felt I had a new conflict of interest, or would be treating them differently going forward. As I told both of them, I would absolutely love to keep being updated and spreading the word, but understand if they felt more competitive, and if any future coverage of either will need a formal disclosure of sorts.

So why ReadBurner? Because the team of Drew Olanoff, Adam Ostrow, Thomas Connors and Alexander Marktl has recognized the potential in a democratically-oriented site that can bring the day's top news to people, regardless of its source, or its topic. They are looking to springboard ReadBurner out of the hobby phase and help it grow. I'm hoping I can help, and I'm honored they extended the opportunity.

And in case you're curious, this doesn't impact my day job, which remains the same, as outlined on LinkedIn. But even if I can help the ReadBurner team in a small way, I'm excited to try. It's already been fun watching the site grow from its infancy earlier this year.

You can follow our efforts at Looking forward to updating you with more, including on the ReadBurner podcast, tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. (Watch the official blog.)