I’m grumpy. This Saturday morning I got up with a cup of coffee and set out to look at my RSS feeds for news on the web. For those of you not familiar with RSS, it’s a RSS is a content delivery vehicle. You could think of RSS as your own personal wire service. I find it incredibly useful to keep up with news on healthcare social media, what’s up with Facebook and Google, and the occasional joke or stupid picture.
The only trouble with RSS is that it creates a firehose of information to digest. Even if you categorize the feeds into different folders and priorities like I do, it’s a lot to manage. If I don’t look it at for 2 or 3 days, it’s easily over a thousand articles.
For the past few years I’ve relied on an incredibly useful little plugin called Postrank. Postrank scores each post in an RSS feed by the relative number of comments, inbound links, mentions on Twitter, saves on Delicious and other social media metrics. So, it became an easy matter to scan through my feeds and pick out the top 10% of articles to look at. It was a great time-saver and a wonderful way to separate the signal from the noise.
Enter Google. Last year Google bought Postrank. They bought it for its other side, which is functionality that show a website publisher the virality and social analytics of its posts. Obviously, that’s very important.
So, today when I turned to look at my RSS feeds the Postrank ratings were gone. As of May 1st Google had ‘sunseted’ Postrank. They have included it in Google analytics where early reports say it’s a great addition. However, they eliminated the user or consumer side of the product where it was tremendously helpful. It was a utility also used by social media analysts like myself to rank bloggers and other influencers in a specific category, similar to Klout.
Sad, sad. I love that the Postrank creators got their payout. But, this is the type of innovation that disappears when the big Borg-like goliaths buy you out. I would have been happy to pay a monthly fee for Postrank, but they never asked me.
Surprisingly, I don’t see a lot of buzz about the sunsetting and need for replacements for the user side of the product. There’s a thread staring on Quora for replacements, so if you have any thoughts that’s a good place to go.