FeedDemon and Commodity Software

By Deane Barker on June 28, 2003

FeedDemon: You want to know something sad? This is what I was trying to download when I got TopStyle. I was pre-occupied with something else, I clicked the first download link I found, then installed the file and ran it before I realized it wasn’t a news aggregator…

But, anyway, FeedDemon is an RSS aggreagator from Nick Bradbury, the same guy who wrote TopStyle and HomeSite. It’s in beta and you can get a copy that expires in August.

It’s nice — a very clean interface, just like TopStyle. And it has a cool gimmick whereby the feeds and the individual entries appear like a sheet of paper (screenshot). It also has “News Bins” where you can drag stuff to save them, and “Watches” that search incoming news for terms you specify.

It’s good, but I wonder if news aggregators are quickly becoming a commodity item? RSS is pretty simple, and I think there’s only so much you can do with it. I’ve tried out perhaps a dozen aggregators by now, and I can say that in the end, they all do pretty much the same thing. Where is the competitive advantage going to come from in this field? What one feature is going to be the category killer here? Aggregators are slaves to the underlying RSS standard, and I think the features they pile on top of that standard are going to run out soon.

But, let me say that FeedDemon is very good. If you’re new to RSS, this is a very friendly, very smooth program that will suit you just fine. Pricing hasn’t been announced, and I love how Bradbury approaches this in the FAQ:

Will FeedDemon be free? Will it be open source?

Sorry, no. I have nothing against open source, but I also have two kids to feed :)”

Amen to that.



  1. Something seemed familiar about the FeedDemon interface, and I just realized what it is: it’s modeled after Outlook 2003. I tried out a beta of Outlook 2003 at New Horzions the other day, and it did the same thing with the little faux sheet of peper effect. Looks the same.

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