The Decline of Desktop RSS Readers

A poll at Read/Write Web shows that almost 70% of users are using Web based (Bloglines, Rojo etc) or the Start Pages (Netvibes, Pageflakes etc).

1. Web-based (e.g. Bloglines, Google Reader, Rojo) 55% (495 votes)

2. Desktop (e.g. FeedDemon, NetNewsWire) 18% (160 votes)

3. Start page (e.g. Netvibes, Pageflakes) 14% (125 votes)

4. Browser (e.g. Firefox Live Bookmarks, IE, Flock) 7% (62 votes)

5. Portal-based (e.g. MyYahoo, ThePortNetwork) 2% (21 votes)

6. Other (please comment) 2% (18 votes)

7. Email-based client (e.g. Thunderbird, Newsgator) 1% (11 votes)

8. I subscribe to emails from individual blogs 0% (3 votes)

The experience with Web Based Readers & Start pages is very similar, compare to Portal based such as MyYahoo etc. I have tried portal based reader such as live.com etc, but didn’t like the reading experience.

I am using both Netvibes and Rojo and keep switching between them because each has its own benefits. While Netvibes gives me the concise summary (& a newspaper feel) for my feeds categorized in different tabs, Rojo allows me to tag the same feed with multiple tags (I haven’t come across any Web-based reader that does it so well).

The usage of desktop readers have declined sharply. I don’t want to wait for 3-5 minutes for Awasu to come up. Not only you have to get away from the browser to launch the reader, it is quite common to forget to launch the reader. I don’t want to put it in my Startups programs either, which is already overcrowded. The browser based reader gives you the flexibility to put them as your home page and be available to you as soon as you launch the browser.

No wonder, only 18% of users are now using Desktop readers, which was close to 80% when the initial RSS readers were introduced.

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