Launched: June 2005
Status: Funded by SmartForest Ventures and 2nd Avenue Partners
Location: Portland, OR
Attensa is a world class RSS reader that is attacking the multi-platform syncronization problem (I’ll explain that) and is also looking very seriously at the attention issue from a unique perspective (a good thing).
Attensa launched their first product at Gnomedex in June – an Outlook based reader that is lightning fast and has been getting rave reviews (Jeff Nolan). It’s also free, for now.
Attensa for Outlook
Attensa for Outlook supports enclosures, and so will automatically download things like podcasts and videocasts. Since it syncs with outlook, all content will be available for you to read when you are offline. This is a key feature for people who travel and aren’t online constantly, but want to be able to catch up on their feeds.
Attensa for Outlook is just the beginning, however. I spoke with Scott Niesen, Attensa’s Marketing Director, this evening and heard about their future product plans.
Web-Based and Mobile Readers
In a “couple of weeks” Attensa will be launching a private beta of their web-based RSS reader. It will fully syncronize your feeds with their outlook product. It will also fully syncronize at the post level, meaning if you’ve read a post on one product, it will not show up as unread in the other product. This is a key product feature and possible because Attensa’s engine runs at the server level for both products. Duplicate posts are a huge problem for power RSS users, and Attensa is making a serious attempt to solve this.
I’ll be included in the beta testing and Scott tells me that I can blog freely on the product, including screen shots. More on this when the product is soft-launched.
Later this year Attensa will roll out a mobile reader as well, rounding out the product set nicely.
For now, all products are free. Attensa has been polling users to create an appropriate long-term pricing plan. Their current plan is to keep the web product free, and eventually charge a one time fee of $20 for the Outlook client. If a user want to use both products and syncronize feeds, Attensa will charge a yearly subscription fee of about $20 (but you won’t be charged for the Outlook client). $20 a year for this kind of high end product seems pretty reasonable to me.
No word from Attensa yet on their pricing plans for the mobile product, but I assume it would be rolled in with the subscription plan.
Attensa is looking at the Attention issue very carefully. About half of my call with Scott was spent discussing their plans in this area.
They have a unique perspective on the opportunity. For a full discussion, see co-founder Eric Hayes post on his personal blog. Basically, Attensa will (with your opt-in permission) aggregate information about your reading habits to make your feed reading more efficient (something needs to be done to make it possible to mow through hundreds and hundreds of feeds every day) .
Their idea? Watch what you read, what you click on, how long you spend reading something, what you ignore (just as important), and prioritze feeds and posts according to what they think you’ll want to read first. They’ll also suggest new feeds based on what you seem to be liking. I, for one, am more than happy to give up a little privacy if I get efficiency and good recommendations in return.
Craig Barnes: Co-Founder, CEO
Eric Hayes: Co-Founder, Vice President of Research and Development
Tim Brown: Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer
Guy Field – CFO
Scott Niesen, Director of Marketing