Introducing Feed Crier

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The town crier of old made sure that everyone was informed of important news and events. Today he’s back and powered by RSS and Instant Messaging.

Feed Crier is an IM bot that delivers real-time RSS feed updates to your desktop over popular instant messaging protocols. For end users, no account creation is necessary—just send a message to the bot (screen name "feedcrier") containing a feed URL and start getting feed alerts. Basic services are free, with premium services costing just a few dollars a month.

If you want to give your site’s readers an easy way to subscribe by IM, there’s a little "Add this feed to Feed Crier" button available. Publishers wanting a customized, branded feed alert service can hook into the Feed Crier API and provide readers with customized IM feed alerts. Publisher pricing is based on user volume.

Both Tailrank and TagJag have signed on to use Feed Crier to provide IM alerts to their users.

Currently, Feed Crier is in beta using the AOL Instant Messenger protocol. Support for other IM protocols including Yahoo, MSN, and Jabber is under development. Thanks to Kevin Burton and Jesper for extensive testing and feedback as I developed this.

Please use it and abuse it. There’s probably feeds out there that it doesn’t work with yet. Report those or any other oddities to me and I’ll get them fixed right away.

since1968
August 20, 2006 9:51 AM

Wow, very cool! Thanks for offering the service. 1) Does feedcrier support feeds requiring authentication? If not, is this feature planned? 2) Which IM client is shown on the feedcrier home page? It sure looks nicer than ichat...

BillSaysThis
August 20, 2006 12:57 PM

Good luck with the new venture! I added FeedCrier to billsaysthis, click on the Subscribe link in the sidebar, and Bill's Movie Reviews.

BillSaysThis
August 20, 2006 1:05 PM

However, after putting it in I have three suggestions: 1. Use an Ajax field on the 'get FC for your site' form to let the person enter their feed URL and insert it for them. 2. Add a checkbox to selet between text+image (the current version) or image only; the latter is better for fitting in subscribe blocks. 3. Change the text for alt and title to something like "Read this blog in IM with Feed Crier", which is what I used.

Steve
August 20, 2006 5:17 PM

geez, sounds just like MSN Alerts already does - and has done for years. What is new here?

Adam Kalsey
August 20, 2006 5:37 PM

Didn't claim it was a new idea. There's been lots of companies to do content updtae alerts. And some of them were even via IM. Spyonit, the previous company of the FeedBurner founders, did something vaguely similar, too. But MSN alerts this ain't. MSN alerts is a walled garden -- you can only subscribe to things from MSN Alerts partners. Where's the fun in that? Bloggers can now add their blogs to MSN Alerts, but it's still a walled garden. And it only works with MSN. Feed Crier works with any RSS or Atom feed, anywhere. Publishers don't need to register their feeds with Feed Crier. Subscribers don't have to go through a complicated signup process. And Feed Crier will soon work with any IM provider. So while there may be some similarities, they aren't the same animal. Besides, I'm sure you realize how absurd it is to say that a similar feature exists in another product so there's no use in doing anything else. Competition is good, isn't it?

Ben
August 21, 2006 4:47 AM

Best of luck with this. I ran BlogChangeBot back in 2002/3 which alerted you via AIM to new blog posts you subscribed to. http://neuronwave.com/bcb/ We ran into problems with the number of subscribers and having so many buddies in order to tell when people were online so that they got a group of updates in 1 IM when they logged on. I'd be keen to hear how you are getting around this...although it may not be an issue with the AOL bot stuff now.

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