What's up with Bloglines?
Has anyone noticed that Bloglines is really suffering since it got bought by Ask Jeeves? I was expecting improvements in the service, but instead, not much has happened that I can see. This isn't abnormal - it took *ahem* quite a while for OddPost to turn into the new Yahoo! Mail beta after Y! bought them last year. But since I use Bloglines every day (all day), I'm starting to get really frustrated.
Oh boy! Another list of gripes! Actually, no. I'll just say three things: They aren't fixing bugs, they aren't keeping up, and they aren't innovating at all. More specificially:
Bug #1: If you go to this page, you'll see that because my old Java system insisted on adding in a ;jessionid to the end of my feed url, it looks like I had hundreds and hundreds of feeds. Every time someone tried to automagically add a feed to Bloglines, it looked different, so Bloglines added a new feed for my site to its database. I've done a couple things to resolve this: I've emailed Bloglines support, and I've used mod_rewrite to return 301s - permanent redirects - for anything except my one official feed. Neither has helped.
Bug #2: If you try to use the Blog Citations feature, most of the time it'll come back with a database problem. And in my case, it'll come back with the same blog at the top spot every time because they didn't have their feed date correct and it says they wrote it on Friday, September 25 2026. I'm going to have to look at that post for a loooong time. Being a part of Ask Jeeves now (a *search* company), I figured this would be the part that would've been fixed sooner, but I'm still waiting.
Bug #3: Marking an item as Keep Unread doesn't necessarily mean it's going to continue to show up. sometimes the menu on the left will show that you've marked an item or two as keep unread, but the list of articles on the right shows up nothing. I end up having to hunt back in time for the stories in order for them (and all of the read articles as well) to show up.
Keeping up: Bloglines is taking longer and longer to index feeds. Over the past several weeks people have been IMing me about stuff that I hadn't seen because Bloglines hadn't updated yet. It'll take hours, and sometimes a day or more to grab a site's new feed, and then suddenly it dumps the last 3 or 4 or sometimes more updates on me at once. Very annoying.
Lack of Innovation #1: Where's the updates to the UI!?!? The site is the exact same from a year ago (or more). A single feature I'd like to see? An RSS feed of the citations. That's pretty simple - and is something every other service out there seems to have. I'd like to see some more Ajaxy updates to the menu system so it didn't need to refresh as much. I'd also like to be able to mark all of my feeds as "ignore if updated" so I don't ever have to see an article more than once, but right now I have to go into each one individually and change it.
Lack of Innovation #2: Bloglines is still the best mobile aggregator, however, it's starting to become annoying in that there's no changes here as well. I've got 400+ feeds, why do I have to see ALL of them in the main mobile page if only a few of them have updated? Give me the option of just seeing the updated feeds and cut down the clutter. Also, where is the transcoder? Once I click out from Bloglines, it's complete luck whether I'm able to see the linked web page on my mobile or not. Why haven't they done something as simple as Skweezer or Phonifier for the pages and added that as an option for the mobile links?
So because of this I'm starting to look around at other self-hosted web options for my feeds again such as Gregarious and Rawdog. I've also looked at Newsgator online and Rojo and seriously considering these as well.