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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