Monday, January 26, 2009 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Feedsqueezer: Another Competitor for Google

Those who criticize Google as a "monopoly" usually focus on the search and advertising markets. Google may indeed have a huge lead in those markets, but it is by no means a "monopoly" in the strict sense of the word as the only ("mono-") seller in that market.

If the critics are concerned about about true "monopoly" or at least something close to it, perhaps they ought to focus on Feedburner, the free service Google acquired back in 2007. If one takes a very narrow definition of the service Feedburner offers, one could argue that there is no real alternative to Feedburner. But on the other hand:

I have a very simple solution. I use my own RSS feed I don't need some other company providing a enhanced solution. I have never understood why people used feedburner at all.

Getting statistics from a feed is elementary. There are several services out their that provide podcast statistics.

Stupidity in giving someone else control over ones feed is something I will never get. I have no sympathy for those having feedburner issues.

Regardless, some leading bloggers have expressed outrage over Feedburner's less-than-perfect reliability--see this recent rant by Michael Arrington. But we call in the federales to "fix" the "problem"--if one properly apply that term to a free service beloved by (nearly all) bloggers everywhere just because it's not absolutely, positively 100% reliable or instantaneous or simply because some people don't like the idea of using yet another Google product, no matter how good it is--let's see what Feedsqueezer, a soon-to-be-launched service, will offer.

Note: The word "monopoly" is now commonly used to mean "control that makes possible the manipulation of prices." It's not obvious what that would mean in the case of those Google services, that are both free to the user and not directly related to any price paid by, say an advertiser--as distinct from, say, Adwords or Adsense, where there are at least prices that might, in theory, be controlled.

posted by Berin Szoka @ 9:46 PM | Antitrust & Competition Policy , Software