Feedburner is testing a new product called “Networks” which are groups of blogs on a single topic that are using Feedburner to manage their RSS feed. The idea is to allow people to subscribe to a single mashed up feed containing all of the content from all of the blogs in that category. See this feed for the venture capital group as an example (which, by the way, I just subscribed to), which lists all of the posts from every blog in the network.
In his post Brad says Feedburner is testing a few networks, and Fred suggests sewing, garage music and scuba diving as examples of possible topice.
There are currently 17 feeds included in the VC network, listed here. The goal from a publishers perspective is to gain readers (and I assume a subscriber to the network counts in each of their individual feed counts), as well as advertising revenue, which Feedburner is now selling into feeds at reasonable CPMs (but, as I know from experience, very low sell through rates). The page linked above also lists total subscribers on those blogs. It’s not clear if they are double counting duplicate subscribers across multiple blogs or not.
The biggest issue around this will be what rules are used to determine which blogs are included in a given topic. It isn’t clear if there will be any real quality control – in his post Brad says each network will have a gatekeeper to make sure only blogs on topic are included, but there doesn’t appear to be any hurdle as to what constitutes a quality blog in a topic. That could work out badly. And if the bloggers and/or the network coordinator are making subjective decisions on which blogs can be included in a given network, this will end in tears. The politics around who’s in and who’s out of a blog network are impossible. I know this from personal experience.
Our previous posts on Feedburner are here.