Right now people are going crazy over the fact that NewsGator has released their products for free. I think it is too late.
I understand the reasons why:
1. Attention spans have value – gain more attention (via your reader) gain value
2. Go after the Enterprise – easier sell to larger firms when the user base is already using the product
3. Shared data – more people use the reader more people share the data this way.
As I have mentioned multiple times before, it is amazing how pervasive Google products have become. NewsGator may have missed the boat on when you let this software out for free. I feel that their intentions are good and they will certainly grow the user base but the fact that it is still software based is a huge drawback. I have been using Google Reader for a few weeks and I now realize the true power of a web based reader. I also recognize the power of being able to take this data offline when I need to using the power of Google Gears.
So how and what should NewsGator do?
Well in my opinion the only way to get mass adoption for an RSS reader at this point is to show people the utility without going into the complex details of Really Simple Syndication. Let me explain…
First, if a company like Facebook were to come out with a site based reader that was incorporated into a users inbox where they could “subscribe” to their favorite sites you would start to see greater usage. The opportunity exists to show people the utility of such a service without confusing them with acronyms and technology.
People want convenience. When you provide an easy way for them to login to a system they use everyday this provides an added value. I think this is why people tend to use Google services so much because they are already using the services on a daily basis. People are adverse to change and RSS true adoption will happen with a mainstream companywebsite integrating it into the everyday usage patterns of its users.