An Open Break-Up Letter to Bloglines
I've been using your product ever since I figured out that clicking on the list of blogs from my blogroll or keeping a list of bookmarks would simply be too much. And you know what? It was a really slick system when I started with it. I even tried to use Google Reader and found that your interface knocked the socks off of it. That was then, and now you just make me frustrated.
For starters, you've been deploying a bunch of cool features on the beta site for months now, features that haven't made their way into the stable version. Things like a slick AJAX load, the three-pane view, loading the site instead of the feed item… goodies like that. Why would you leave all of the good features in beta for so long? I'm guessing stability reasons.
Which brings me to another gripe. The beta is buggy as hell. If I have too many items pinned in a view, you refuse to load anything past about item 30 and make them inaccessible. Why would you do this? My only option then is to go back to the classic view and watch everything get marked as read automatically as soon as I click on the feed. Yeah, I'm pinning a lot more articles than your average schmoe, but it can't be that hard to make it work, right? Just like it can't be hard to not display a bunch of cryptic "server communication error" messages when you can't load a list of feeds.
And then there's the nail in the coffin: your shoddy feed retreival. I've had feeds that you fail to retreive, through no fault of the site owner, for weeks at a time, only to bombard me with the last 2 months worth of posts all at once. Tom's Hardware didn't update for a long time, then you retreived about 1600 items at once. And after I marked them all read, you retreived them all again. And again. For weeks. What kind of nonsense is this? It's just unacceptable.
Given all of these problems, I decided to give Google Reader a second chance. It seems like a lot of folks really like it and it's been a while since I tried it out. You know what? Their interface is at least as good as yours, if not better. Plus it's not super buggy. In fact, it's everything you've been promising with the beta except that the bloody thing actually works. And it has features (like tagging and sharing) that, given your track record, we won't see working for months or even years.
So goodbye, Bloglines. I'm tried of working with what's rapidly become a Web 2.0 has-been. Score another one for Google.