vaes9

AideRSS, Good for Managing Feed Overload?

6:13 pm PHT

While browsing around the blogosphere, I came across this interesting website called AideRSS on one of the comments on Google Blogoscoped’s article “Tips For Dealing With Information Overload”. AideRSS is apparently a free tool that takes an RSS or Atom feed, collects some statistics, and then gives each post in the feed a PostRank, which seems to be an objective measure of a post’s quality, based on “relevance and reaction.” (You might say that PostRank is similar in name and function to Google’s PageRank.) Among the metrics it uses are the number of comments, Delicious links, Digg votes (?), and Google Blogsearch backlinks. You can then use PostRank to filter a feed for the best posts if you so desire.

For example, if you’re a map freak like me, then you would want to subscribe to all posts of a popular mapping blog. But if you’re just simple cartography enthusiast, then you can use AideRSS to subscribe to just the best posts of that mapping blog using PostRank. Take note that AideRSS, at least for now, won’t let you filter by topic or keyword (such as subscribing only to the Google-Earth-related articles from that popular mapping blog). So, if after organizing your subscripted feeds and trimming them down, and you’re still overwhelmed by the volume, you might find AideRSS useful.

AideRSS lets you preview a feed and view its posts’ PostRank. I tried it with a bunch of feeds (of course, including my own) and I’m chuffed to find out that my entry about Intel Cavite garnered a perfect PostRank of 10.0.  :D However, my assessment of the PostRanks of various posts on various blogs that I’ve checked showed mixed results. Go try it out and tell me what you think of its scoring.

One thing I’m quite impressed about AideRSS is that it was able to determine how many comments my blog’s posts have despite vaes9 running on a one-of-a-kind CMS that I hand-coded on my own. It could be that my saying “X Comments” clearly on each post’s page is an obvious signal, but given the potential for many false positives, I still think it’s a bit of clever programming.  :)

AideRSS is definitely a useful tool for blog readers. On the other hand, as a blogger, I’m concerned about the skewing of subscriber counts. I haven’t investigated how AideRSS manages the feeds but if a lot of people use AideRSS to filter posts from a blog, then it’s possible that AideRSS itself would be counted as just one subscriber to services like FeedBurner. The simple solution to this (which may already be implemented—as I said, I haven’t investigated) is to report the number of downstream subscribers similar to how Google Reader does it. As for FeedBurner’s post-level stats (e.g., how many people have seen and/or clicked on each post), I don’t think that AideRSS should affect that as long as it only does a filtering operation and no transformations since FeedBurner’s statistics code is embedded into the feed’s posts.

Do you think AideRSS is useful? Tell me what you think!

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Comments

Comment times are in Philippine time (+0800).

1

On 2:32 a.m., 14 May 2008, Ilya Grigorik wrote:

Eugene, thanks for the great review!

To answer one of your concerns: we do report subscriber counts back to FeedBurner. If any reader decides to subscribe to any of the AideRSS filtered feeds, we’ll pass that info back down to FeedBurner.

To check if you have any subscribers via AideRSS, open up your Feedburner dashboard and head to “Feed stats > Subscribers”, then scroll through the agent list and look for AideRSS.

2

On 10:15 a.m., 14 May 2008, seav wrote:

@Ilya, wow that was fast! You must be subscribed to alerts, right?  :)

Thanks for the clarification. As a follow-up, are you able to process subscriber counts from upstream? Say a couple of people subscribe to an AideRSS filtered feed. Are you guys able to properly account for that?

3

On 12:04 p.m., 14 May 2008, Ilya Grigorik wrote:

Eugene, yup, alerts certainly help!

We do play nice with the entire ecosystem. We pass subscribers counts to all original feeds, as well as, keep track of any subscriptions on our end. If you’re a Feedburner user, you’re guaranteed to have the correct subscriber counts no matter what.  :)

4

On 6:04 p.m., 14 May 2008, Ferdz wrote:

Grabe hand coded pala itong CMS mo. Kaya pala naiiba yung source code. Hehe.

PostRank is new to me, somewhat like a pagerank kaso on a single post lang from what I understand.

Nga pala! Maraming salamat sa pagdalaw sa exhibit opening. Really appreciate it!

5

On 12:55 p.m., 15 May 2008, seav wrote:

@Ilya, thanks for all the answers! It’s great that your are staying on top of all the feedback to AideRSS. I was meaning to send off an e-mail or contact form submission about my post but you commented instead.  :) I’m certainly already finding possible uses for AideRSS (including the API).

@Ferdz, what are blogger-friends for, right?  :) I have already planned to create a post about your great exhibit.

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