( Thursday, September 04, 2003 )

My Yahoo RSS Module!

It finally broke loose.

Dave Winer gives it a brief mention. Pushing this hidden module into the evergazing public eye of the blogosphere, was a mistaken push of the Edit Content configuration files, back in May.

This kind of thing happened all the time on My Yahoo, with our labyrinth of XML, perl and scp. With 20 million people on My Yahoo everyday, there's bound to be a few who notice these brief mishaps.

There hasn't been any update in a few months (at least public). It's a crufty little module, though great proof of concept. An mother-love-only edit page, simple architecture (seems to request weblogs per user, with no caching or background updates), RSS 2.0 isn't supported. Still it demonstrates the possibility well. If My Yahoo were to get involved in RSS Aggregation, the concept would reach mass conciousness like Weblogs already have.

It is ironic that a big portal stepping in should generate excitement. my.netscape developed the original RSS format and aggregator way back. I saw clearly that this level of personal publishing could rejuvinate the vision of the early web, at the heart of the dotcom frenzy. So, I was very jealous!! All the My's kept a close watch on each other, constantly outdoing the last advance and adopting the best ideas of the competitor -- it was a really healthy competition.

I quickly but together an RSS 0.90 file -- and it's still here. Was regularly scraped by some autonomous machine at Netscape until last year, way after the service was shut down. Userland has a cache, an image that prompted Carmen - "And Mikel's house of style is a whopping 320x240 (and its not a really pretty picture, either :-)."

I pushed for My Yahoo to adopt RSS publishing. There were several reasons it didn't take off. There were concerns about having third party, unregulated content stream into MyYahoo. Legal was in a twitch, trying to control message board postings about female tennis players, and this would just open the gates to the unwashed, profane masses. The links would go offsite, out of the walled garden, underminging the Yahoo News offerings. It wasn't convincing that it would take off -- XML was still a new beast at the time. There were supporting services necessary -- directory and search of RSS feeds, powered by Yahoo Surfers. And finally it may have come down to me being lazy, prefering to work a year in Europe, rather than 16 hour days in Sunnyvale chasing RSS.

Anyway, it required technical and social process and progress. RSS needed to go independent and hobbyist.

The biggest unsolved problem is how to find RSS feeds, without spending hours and hours. Most people spend very little time editing My Yahoo. Jeremy was out working on this problem. It may be that the My Yahoo RSS module is waiting for this solution. There's one possibility.

Much has been made of Yahoo Blogs Korea and Yahoo News RSS. These are probably unrelated. Yahoo Korea is very independent, and motivated. You can already get much much more Yahoo news through My Yahoo. In the least, it may signal a culture shift within the company, finally realizing that the Web has moved, that it's time to chase to frontiers again.

3:33:39 PM comment []   

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