Adam Kalsey, a founder and former CTO of RSS vendor Pheedo, released a new service last night called FeedCrier that makes it easy to receive rapid notification of new items in an RSS feed by IM. The service currently supports only AIM but Kalsey says that will change soon. Free accounts are limited, but premium subscribers can monitor an unlimited number of feeds, remove ads in the alerts, use a web interface to manage their alerts. Unlike other similar services FeedCrier also delivers item summaries and alerts received when users were offline. Premium accounts are $4 per month. There are other services available that are better for this in some ways, but there’s plenty of room for competition.
I think this is an important class of web tools, for consumers seeking to jump on sales quickly and professionals doing time sensitive work. Competitors include Peter Brown’s immedi.at (interviewed here), Eduard Sherstnev’s Zaptxt (watch this company in coming weeks) and the most sophisticated of them all, Rasasa, from the Netherlands. These other services are not limited to AIM, they offer autodiscovery bookmarklets and both Zaptxt and Rasasa incorporate SMS and email alerts as well. Rasasa’s push technology is the smartest, but isn’t supported by all US mobile vendors.
I’ve long thought that FeedBurner should team with one of these companies and sure enough, it was FeedBurner VP of business development Rick Klau’s blog where I learned about FeedCrier. Klau has a FeedFlare widget that publishers can use to provide a link to FeedCrier alerts for their feeds. The same could be done for other services with relative ease via the FeedFlare API. I think that increasingly powerful RSS to IM tools will be in demand as RSS use continues to grow – particularly in business.