I’m using cURL to pull in my digests because DreamHost does not allow PHP includes (yes, I’m still with DreamHost, they moved me to a new server and I haven’t had any problems since then – thanks guys!). With cURL, I have the ability to set a timeout period to pull in my digest, so that a webpage does not timeout if for some reason the link for my digest is slow. I currently have set that to 2 seconds. If within 2 seconds the digest cannot be pulled in, that content will go missing. Over the last couple of months, the content has been missing – often.
I must admit that I don’t really have a right to complain. I’m not paying for the service. There are three paying options – but they simply offer the ability to have more digests and sources. And I don’t need more than the five digests that come with the free account.
You might think that people using FeedDigest because other services suck is a good thing for FeedDigest. I’m not so sure.
The COO of RapidFeeds, Mustafa Khundmiri, recently contacted me to take a look at their service. One of their offerings is to re-syndicate and display RSS or ATOM feeds on websites. It’s interesting but has much work to be done, especially when compared to FeedDigest.
These issues and the more serious one of long term viability, soon to not be experienced by the expiring SearchFox, really boil down to business models. We expect these services for free yet we expect them to be robust. We expect them to always be there and yet when they’re not, whether temporarily or for good, we are displeased. Something or someone has gotta give.