— Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) March 12, 2013
A few days ago the news came out that Google will be pulling the plug on its beloved Google Reader service on July 1st. Google Reader is a free service that many bloggers use to keep up with their favorite blogs. I also use it to subscribe to numerous vanity searches as well as keyword phrases, etc.
My first thought was that man, this is going to suck, how will I find a decent alternative so I can read and stay up to date on my favorite blogs?
Then I quickly had my second thought: What does Google Reader going away mean for me as a blogger and how will it impact my ability to reach my readers? If FeedBurner is to be believed, about 2,000 people a day access this blog via Google Reader. So when Reader shuts down, that suddenly means those 2,000 people won’t be reading my new posts anymore! They’ll have to either switch to another reader, or they could come here and subscribe to the email version of this blog, or start checking the blog manually. The bottom line is that I am going to lose some readers. We all will.
Oh and BTW, if Google will pull the plug on Google Reader, that probably means FeedBurner is next. What these two moves together mean is that suddenly bloggers have lost a LOT of control over how they distribute their content to their readers.
I cannot help but wonder if this is part of the reason why there seems to be a renewed interest among many top bloggers for encouraging readers to subscribe to their email newsletters. Hell Chris Brogan’s recent site redesign all but puts the entire focus on encouraging email subscribers.
A big reason why I’ve always preferred blogs over other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook is that you have more control over the content you create. But with tools like Google Reader and Feedburner, Google controls how people receive your content. I think part of the reason for the move to email newsletters is that bloggers want to take back some of the control over how their content is delivered to their readers, and wants more a direct contact/feedback channel with them. Something that RSS subscriptions have never offered.
What does Google Reader being discontinued mean for you as a blogger and a blog reader? What other options will you investigate? Feedly was a popular alternative offered last night at #Blogchat, have you used it?