Feedly vs. Craigslist, Round 2: Everybody Loses

Well, it looks like Craigslist is at it again, this time fighting with Feedly, the popular RSS reader that has assumed Google Reader’s mantle. Feely is my go-to source for keeping up on RSS feeds, of which include several Craigslist feeds for keeping up on musician happenings (including my search for a new project).

Last fall, Feedly stopped getting updates from Craigslist, and neither side really talked about it too much. Feedly alluded to their poller being blocked by Craigslist, and when users asked, they referred us to Craigslist. Miraculously, about a month later, Feedly was getting updates and balance was once again restored..  until now.

Last weekend Craigslist feeds stopped updating again, and I suspect the same issue has come back to rear its ugly head.  Of course, there is no communication about this from either Feedly or Craigslist.  A few people have commented on GetSatisfaction, but I have yet to see any official statement from Feedly on what happened. Of course it’s virtually impossible to get any kind of support from Craigslist – so here we are in the same boat again: two companies in another cold war while their customers lose out.

Why am I quick to blame Craigslist – because they’ve done this before.  Craigslist, in their never-ending desire to look backwards on technology, has a history of hating RSS.  About a year ago, they changed all of their feeds from full-text to only providing summaries, forcing users to click through.  It’s a dick move, but one that’s tolerable.  Now they’re all-out blocking a useful tool like Feely from delivering their content to users.  At its core, all Feedly does is poll the feed, display the updates and then show the user where they last left off.  This isn’t different from any other news reader, except for the fact that Feedly stores this data in the cloud so different devices know when you last left off.

Craigslist, for being in the Alexa’s Top 15 for US web traffic, is a pretty terrible site. It’s bad enough that their design is still stuck in the 1990’s, but the fact that the battle aggregate technologies like RSS, then just block them without any reason or explanation.  The first time around I Tweeted their founder Craig Newmark (who doesn’t play any significant role in the company besides end-user support), and to his credit he did ask me to email him details and said he’d share this with the team – but I never got another response.  If their own founder is unable to get answers, then what hope do us lowly users have?  I love behind their peace sign logo and try to appear altruistic, but in reality they sacrifice the user experience to protect to collection of other people’s content.

Regardless at who’s at fault, whether this is malicious or accidental: would it kill either company to communicate to their users?

Update: Feedly responded on their blog, I react.