I have been using Feedly for a long time to keep up with various RSS feeds. I tell myself I started using it around the time Google closed Google Reader, but can it really be 9 years? I guess so. In any case, I am done with Feedly.
Feedly is getting worse. I started using it because of its simplicity and minimalism. I could follow RSS feeds in my browser. Nothing more, nothing less. Over the years, Feedly has introduced a series of new features that I am not interested in. The challenge for Feedly is that there is not a lot of money in providing an RSS reader, and for that reason they introduce more and more non-RSS related services on top of the relatively simple product.
I did not mind this situation. It was relatively easy to ignore new features. My problem is that it has now reached a point where I can no longer follow the RSS feeds I want to follow. For example, I recently wanted to add an RSS feed for a Reddit user, but it was not possible in Feedly. In order to do so, I had to connect to Reddit with my Reddit user, i.e., allow Feedly to access my data. No way, no thanks.
To get a sense of the problem with Feedly today, here is what it looks like in my browser when I have no unread entries:
I have done everything I could to turn off features that I do not need, but this is still relatively cluttered. I do not need to access Leo, Feedly’s AI engine. I do not need to UPGRADE to ‘Pro’. I do not need two separate vertical menus.
Recently, Feedly also started showing me pop-ups in case I want to track ’emerging exploits across the Web with Feedly’s AI Engine’ and to ‘research critical vulnerabilities with the new CVE Intelligence Card’, whatever that is.
Of course, I could consider to go “Pro” for $6 per month billed annually. One of the features is that I will get “new articles up to 10x faster”. What’s that supposed to mean? That I have not been getting new articles straight away when I visit Feedly?
And here is yet another pop-up on … I don’t know what it is. Something about funding? Maybe I should click. Nope. I am not using Feedly to quickly discover the latest funding rounds in my sector.
Another feature of “Pro” is that I can hide sponsored ads. Yes, they sell ads. And the other day content from ‘Ahead by Feedly’ started showing up in my feed. The default is to show ‘Ahead Prompts’ and I had to opt-out of this feature if I would like to hide promoted content in my feed. Maybe this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Well, on that note: Goodbye, Feedly. Thank you for your service. It is time for the both of us to move on. In some way, you have already moved on doing more interesting things than simply being an RSS reader. I am sure it’s not you but me. I just need to follow a few feeds. You need to make a business.
I checked out a few different alternatives, such as Newzy. I ended up going with a different solution, i.e., NetNewsWire. It is a free and open source RSS reader for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. When I have no unread entries, it looks like this:
This is all I need from an RSS reader. I can have a local back-up of the RSS feeds I follow, and I do not need anything else. Last, one additional advantage of not relying on a cloud-based solution is that I will never have to see this again: