John Reese announced a new service today that concerned me a little...because it's very similar to a project I've been working on for a few months. It looks like the future of link exchanges is the exchange of links and content. Here's an overview of what I've been working on:

Members of my service (the name of which I'm not making public yet) will be able to submit their RSS and Atom feeds to a list of categories on my site. My server will poll the feeds periodically (the polling rate will vary based on such factors as how fast the feed downloads, how often it gets updated, and perhaps its quality score), and store the items from the feed in my database.

Members will also be able to set up "subscriptions" to the items in the database. Subscriptions options will include categories to search and search keywords (both positive and negative). The subscriptions will be output by my service in RSS or Atom format, and members will be able to use an RSS to HTML converter like CaRP to display them on their sites.

If a member sees something in the feed on their site that they don't like, they can either completely block the feed that it came from or just register a vote against it, which won't block the feed completely, but will decrease the probability of anything from that feed showing up on their site in the future. They may also register votes in favor of feeds with high quality content. All blocking and votes for and against will affect a feed's quality score, which will influence how high in subscription search results items from that feed appear.

A few differences between John's system (as I understand it) and mine include:

  • In his, items are displayed using JavaScript, which means they won't have SEO value for the original publisher.
  • His system will be easier to implement (since adding a JavaScript tag to a webpage is easier than setting up an RSS to HTML converter...though the latter isn't terribly difficult either).
  • His system will give the subscriber less flexibility with respect to the appearance of the syndicated content (or at least I can't imagine he's going to build in nearly the flexibility that CaRP gives).
  • His service is free (at least the basic service -- we'll have to wait and see whether there will be premium services too), mine won't be (but it will be worth it! It'll be less expensive than at least one major link exchange that I know of, and should provide vastly superior results).

One more little nugget of insider information -- my service will be powered in part by my next generation product that's going to be replacing CaRP and Grouper (I'm not sure when I'll have that product completed -- it'll still need a lot of work after I've finished the components that will be needed to run my service, and I've got some Grouper and CaRP upgrades to complete first).

Reader Comment: was going to be “BlogRush done right”… » Alpha Gecko said:
[...] :-) “one of the big boys beat me to my idea.” At the time, I’d begun working on a site that was going to be similar, but with a few key [...]
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