Google Reader RIP

Reader is such an intimate part of my life that I forget its even a service. Since 2007 I have read over 150k+ articles. With its death, I’m losing a good friend and a lovely part of my world.

Aldo Cortesi makes a point that Google killed RSS with Reader:

The truth is this: Google destroyed the RSS feed reader ecosystem with a subsidized product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation. It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player. Today it does further damage by buggering up the already beleaguered links between publishers and readers. It would have been better for the Internet if Reader had never been at all.

He’s right. Free, or aggressively below cost, is the greatest tactic against fair competition a publicly funded company has*. Good thing that this is just a fad, right?

Via Daring Fireball

*I say this is a tactic for publicly funded orgs because the madness of crowds dictates this insane tactic’s success. Companies can post losses, but if they stifle competition their prices go up. Smaller companies can use this successfully to, but the odds are against them. The stories we hear are heavily tipped by survivor bias. Only a few become mega-contenders, while most start-ups burn out moving on to the next unsustainable business model. When young start-ups do get a win the VCs swoop in to prop them up artificially until they find a revenue stream. Free does not usually end up in freedom.