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Is a RSS Feed Widget for You?

January 29th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Widgetoko posted about the RSS Reader widget from SpringWidgets the other day. While they had good things to say about the widget, they did question why someone would use it.

Suck any RSS feed into this Flash based reader widget-y widget. Works well, looks good, easy to configure but why?

Don from SpringWidgets actually responded with…

This is really an OPML, Video, Podcast *and* RSS reader widget.

We built the widget to allow for those people who publish blogs, like this one, who wanted to concurrently publish that content into MySpace easily. But it’s so much more than that

Today, Sexy Widget happened to post about another RSS feed widget by MuseStorm. The write-up was not in response to Widgetoko but it does discuss how feed widgets can be used, among other things specific to MuseStorm and their widget. It also touches on tracking stats for the feed and widget. It is a good read if you have wondered about RSS feed widgets and their usefulness.

We prefer other methods for publishing and consuming feeds for ourselves. However, we do use the SpringWidgets RSS Reader widget on our MySpace and Stickam profiles. Other sites do not always provide a RSS feature that we would like to use. When that is the case, we will deploy the RSS widget to extend our reach to those sites and to users who may not be accustomed to RSS feed readers.

While the MuseStorm stats look impressive it is not free. We utilize the free service from Feedburner for all our feeds and through the feed widget. The free Feedburner stats are much simpler but does the job for our needs (they do have a paid service). In addition, SpringWidgets has partnered with Feedburner to provide more prominent branding for the feed source. Below is an example of our Feedburner RSS feed in the Spring Widgets RSS Reader widget.

Unfortunately, we have not really provided a solid answer to the original question. It really is up to each individual to determine whether RSS feed widgets are what they need. That’s the great thing about widgets, everyone has their own opinion and they can pick and choose which widgets they want to use.

  1. January 30th, 2007 at 01:45 | #1

    Thanks for the mention!

    I’ve just posted an answer on Widgetoko for the “why use an RSS widget” question :)

    We’ve had a lot of experience with RSS feed widgets and turns out people love them! the key to a successful RSS feed widget is to make it small enough to fit sidebars (the SpringWidgets widget is too large to be useful on most sidebars). We’ve got tons of feedback about this from our users and customers.

  2. January 30th, 2007 at 09:16 | #2

    You have a great point about sidebars, but not all sidebars are created equal.

    In our opinion, we don’t think the SpringWidgets widget is appealing at a width less than 250 pixels.

    But… For use on sites like MySpace or Stickam, the branding feature with SpringWidgets/Feedburner is something we do like and the sidebars tend to be wider on those sites.

    Of course there are other options too, depending on your needs and platform. There are WordPress plugins and there is also Grazr, among others. Each option has its pros and cons.

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