Jim Louderback on NewsGator Online Services

A few days ago, Brian Livingston wrote an article for eWeek talking about NewsGator 2.0 and NewsGator Online Services (NGOS).

Today, Jim Louderback wrote a response for eWeek, which I’d like to publicly respond to. The first few paragraphs describe RSS…and then:

But there are a few problems with the service…the NewsGator service requires that a special API be used to access feeds inside that service. Alas, that API is not freely available and is completely non-standard—in other words this newsfeed service could turn RSS into a nasty walled garden.

This argument doesn’t follow. We’re not in any way trying to create a “walled garden”. Here are the facts:

1. There is no special API to access feeds within our service – it’s just normal RSS or Atom.

2. Even our subscriber-only feeds (such as custom search feeds or premium content feeds) can be accessed from any RSS-aware tool that supports authentication. And most mature RSS tools support this.

3. The API that was discussed in Brian’s article, the API that he mentioned hasn’t been published yet, is only used for the following functions:

  • Subscription synchronization. So if there are multiple tools, such as NewsGator for Outlook, NewsGator Web Edition, and perhaps another application that is built by a customer, they can synchronize their subscriptions and read/unread/downloaded information via the API.
  • Adding custom search feeds or premium content feeds. If you want to build, say, a custom search feed, we have an API that can be used to build and set up the feed…then you can access it via any RSS client.
So, our system is indeed standards-based – except in those areas where there are no standards.
Jim then goes on to say:
It’s not a bad idea, but unfortunately the tiny NewsGator company has been eclipsed, after just a few weeks, by powerful Yahoo.
The capabilities of NGOS go far beyond what Yahoo is doing with their integration of RSS into My Yahoo. The web edition is only one part of the NGOS service package…
And then Jim concludes:
Cast your vote for free choice, and away from restricted, proprietary services, by using open RSS news readers and all feeds. Walling RSS up inside a proprietary garden is wrong.
We’re not any more proprietary than other services – including My Yahoo, or other web-based tools.
We read all feeds. We’re not walling anything up.

8 thoughts on “Jim Louderback on NewsGator Online Services

  1. Louderback misses the point completely

    eWeek’s Jim Louderback gets it all wrong today, accusing NewsGator of creating an “evil walled garden” in the otherwise free and pristine world of RSS. His complaint? That NGOS (the online services component of NewsGator 2.0) uses a proprietary API. His solution? Yahoo’s new (still beta) RSS feed component for the My Yahoo! page.

    I’ve written about both NewsGator 2.0 and the Yahoo! RSS module in this space. I think both are excellent tools worthy of consideration….[more]

  2. Ivan Vega

    I’m amazed. It looks like Mr. Louderback didn’t even try the NGOS as it appears he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    I for one am already subscribed and I just love the service!

    Keep up the good work Greg!

  3. Stuart Dambrot

    I’ve run into this before with Louderback – it seems that he indeed doesn’t check out the product being reviewed, but merely takes someone else’s word for it – even if that someone else is the manufacturer. This is irresponsible journalism, and is an abuse of the power of name (his) recognition.

    In my case, it was a review of a “special” unrestricted version of a WiFi client My email to Jim:

    ‘Your review of Cirond WiNc is misleading. You claim it to be a fully-enabled version, but some options – such as WEP file provisioning – simply bring up a small message that the feature is only available in the full version.

    ‘This could be seen as bait-and-switch, which would be especially disturbing if promoted by a trusted journalist.’

    Jim’s (pathetic, IMHO) response:

    ‘Hmmm. They told me it would be the full client – stand alone. I believe they sell another version that works with their management software that includes those features.’

    Even worse, he made no changes or annotations to his review.

    OK, enough said.

  4. Ian Spencer

    Keep plugging away Greg. The reason I chose newsgator is you :-)You seem to understand and are very proactive. I like supporting businesses that are “out there” and not just going with the flow.


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