Pluck Client R.I.P.

Richard MacManus, over on his “Read/Write Web” blog, notes that Pluck’s demise means the the RSS reader is now a commodity:

I’m afraid to say that consumer RSS Readers are rapidly becoming commodities and will soon be next to worthless – the real business is white label and enterprise solutions. So Newsgator for example is well positioned. And Bloglines and Rojo both got out while the going was still good, via acquisitions. Although it must be said that niche RSS Readers will still have their place – for example FeedDemon (owned by Newsgator) will continue to get an adequate number of subscriptions.

I would argue that the reason Pluck’s client business died isn’t because the desktop reader market is flooded, it’s because Pluck’s reader totally sucked. I installed pluck a while back with the intention of using it, and I uninstalled it shortly there after. This is because the Outlook / browser integrated reader concept is flawed – RSS is more central for those that use it for it to be accessed through a cumbersome extension to an existing application.

As far as the market goes, I think RSS is similar to email in that your going to have people who access it through both the web and desktop models. On the desktop, clients die not because there are too many of them, but because they fail to compete in the market. Now I’m not saying you can formulate a multi-million dollar business around something like this, I think Richard is right here in that the only way to potentially pull something like this off is through an integrated service such as Newsgator or Attensa. But there is still a market (possibly a good shareware market) for a high end desktop reader that is innovative rather than being cumbersome.

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