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Feedly gains 3M new users after Google's RSS death warrant, plans paid subscriptions

Gregg Keizer | April 2, 2013
Paid option, to debut this year, will offer more features, possible integration with Evernote, Dropbox

Feedly, which today announced it has added more than 3 million new users to its free RSS service since Google decided to retire Reader, said that it plans to offer a paid option this year.

"Over 3 million new users have joined Feedly since the announcement of the retirement of Google Reader," the company said in a blog post. "We are ... adding hardware as quickly as we can to make that transition as seamless as possible."

The Palo Alto, Calif. company also said that, while basic services will remain free, it intends to launch a premium, subscription-based version of Feedly this year.

"There will always be a free version of Feedly, but we have heard from a significant proportion of our users that they would be willing to pay for Feedly," said Cyril Moutran, co-founder of Feedly and its head of products and strategy, in an email. "They love and depend on our service, and want to make sure Feedly will be there in the future."

The belief that free services are ephemeral, and like Google's Reader, can be easily abandoned, was strongly expressed by many bloggers in the aftermath of Google's announcement March 13 that it would axe Reader and its RSS synchronization service on July 1. Google cited declining use for the decision to retire Reader.

Those pundits, saying they'd been burned by Google, suggested that it made more sense to trust companies with for-fee services because they were more likely to survive long-term, and more responsive to paying customers.

Moutran did not disclose release timing of a premium version of Feedly or the company's thinking on prices, but said it would include new features for what he called "power users."

"We have also heard from our power users that they would like deeper integration with other services they use and pay for, like Evernote and Dropbox," Moutran said.

Those two services, Evernote and Dropbox, use the "Freemium" business model, which relies on free accounts to collect users, but requires a paid subscription for more features or data usage.

Feedly's claim of 3 million new users today was a six-fold increase from the half-million the firm reported adding in the first 48 hours after Google's Reader revelation.

Feedly also updated its Android and iOS mobile apps today, adding new gestures to retrieve an updated RSS feed, a user-promotion feature dubbed "Must Read" that pushes those feeds higher on a list, sharing support for Google+, and a title-only view to accommodate Google Reader users, who are familiar with condensed lists.

The free Android and iOS apps are available on the Google Play and App Store, respectively.


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