12 March 2014

Feedbin Blog: “Feedbin’s First Year”

RSS fountain

I built Feedbin because I still loved RSS but I didn’t like Google Reader. It looked like it had been abandoned after the last update in 2011 that attempted to prop up Google+ by removing many features.

The goal was to be able to cover costs in one year. Instead it took three weeks. It cost about $170/month to run Feedbin when it launched and with $1.62/user/month in profit after credit card fees it looked like I would need just over 100 customers who were also looking for a Google Reader alternative.

Ben Ubois

Three weeks to break even for a startup built by a single developer. Let that sink in for a minute and think about how a huge company like Google failed to support a product that one person rebuilt from scratch. And don’t think for a moment Feedbin in inferior to Google Reader in some way: between fast search with powerful operators, PubSubHubbub support and the ‘Recently Read’ section, over the past year Feedbin added basically all the best features of Reader – and some more! With every new feature, Feedbin proves I made the right decision choosing it as my new RSS reader last year.

Amusingly, I was just thinking about Feedbin and its search feature a couple of days ago. I don’t know the details, but given how fast and accurate it is, I imagine the app indexes the content of subscribed feeds – and in near-real-time too, thanks to PubSubHubbub! Wouldn’t it be great it the search feature would return results from all feeds processed by Feedbin, instead of being restricted to your personal subscriptions? I think it would be a great way to discover new information and to research, going beyond simply finding stuff you already saw or are subscribed to. There are several relevancy signals it could use, for example the number of people subscribed to a particular source, how many people are actually reading the articles in the feed, how much time passes between publishing the article and people opening it, if people star or share it. The more people reading, the sooner after publishing, the more valuable or relevant the article.


  1. Agreed, having search accross all feeds would be interesting :) Even more if this was realtime so you knew right away when there is a new search result that matches what you're interested in! This is what we created at Superfeedr with our track feeds: http://documentation.superfeedr.com/misc.html#track
    This is fully PubSubHubbub enabled and this is how I "heard" about your post, because you mentionned PubSubHubbub in it :D

    Also, think about adding a SubToMe button to your blog so it's easier to follow in any reader (including Feedbin!) https://www.subtome.com/#/

    1. Cool! :)
      The SubToMe button is on a long-long to-do list of stuff I want to change about the blog. I will get around to it someday, when I start the big redesign. :)