Pluck is discontinuing their RSS client. Does this surprise anyone? It should not because this was a poorly differentiated product in a market overflowing with product and service options. It’s not that Pluck did a poor job building the product, indeed I thought it was one of the better, but what they could not overcome is the reality that the market for RSS clients as it exists today is commoditized. Consumers don’t care about obscure options in these products – prosumers (heavy users) do but they are a niche – and practically everyone who is anyone has a RSS client or is coming out with one, from Google’s newly revamped Reader to Microsoft’s upcoming IE7 with integrated feed browsing capability, leading to the perception that they are fungible, in other words one is as good as another. Newsgator is cleaning up the enterprise market, and congrats to them for recognizing this opportunity early and more importantly, delivering what enterprise IT needed in a RSS server product.
The only opportunity for a newcomer in the RSS market, IMO, is to create a game change by radically reshaping what a RSS client does for a user. The sad fact of the matter is that RSS clients for all of their utility still don’t help me work better or enable me with some dramatic new capability that I can’t live without. Don’t get me wrong, I love NetNewsWire but I can go days without looking at it and not be worse off. I think we are at a point in the RSS market where we have a legitimate right to ask “what’s next?” and expect an answer that is something a lot more than just incremental to what we already have.