Bitchmeme Recap: What Happens on Shyftr, Stays on Shyftr

Background: Shyftr is a service that pulls the entire feed of a blog into its site, and lets users comment on the post within its site. The comments never make it back to the original blog. What happens on Shyftr, stays on Shyftr.

The spark: Louis Gray (who else?) wrote about Eric Berlin’s concern over the comments that had accrued on Shyftr, not his own site. A legitimate beef, and one that clearly generated some heat.

The bitchmeme: Some liked the idea of posts and comments being anywhere. Some didn’t. Some liked it. Some didn’t. Some…uh, well…you get the picture. I will note that Tony Hung of Deep Jive Interests became the poster boy for anti-Shyftr sentiment.

The Scoble Factor: The preeminent blogger of our time, Robert Scoble, weighs in with the post, Era of blogger’s control is over. He’s gung-ho about Shyftr and all ways by which his content is distro’d. Now based on Scoble’s preferred use of social networks, this ain’t surprising. He sets up our man Tony Hung as the old-school thinker about controlling content.

Tony Hung: Comes out swinging against Shyftr. Says the aggregation of comments away from the originating blog is wrong. To make his point, Tony proceeds to single-handedly post a comment on every single blog that weighed in on the issue. Tony, that must have taken forever. Next time just put up a comment on one of those aggregator services…

The scorecard: On the question of whether Shyftr has stepped over the comment line or not…

  1. Eric Berlin = yes
  2. Louis Gray = no
  3. Robert Scoble = no
  4. Tony Hung = no
  5. Pauk Glazowski (Mashable) = no
  6. James Robertson (Smalltalk Tidbits) = no
  7. Mark Evans = no
  8. Mathew Ingram = yes
  9. Ross Dawson = yes
  10. Alexander van Elsa = no
  11. John McCrea = no
  12. Frederic (Last Podcast) = no
  13. Mia Dand = no

So that makes the vote…two + three…carry the one….

Shyftr sucks = 3

Shyftr is OK = 10

Denouement: Shyftr announces that it will no longer carry the full feed for any blog post that has conversations “outside the reader”. I think they’re saying no more full feeds? Frankly, it’s a little unclear to me what they’re saying, but I’m not active on Shyftr. Louis Gray gives his opinion on this change here. I’ll probably have to check Shyftr out in more depth sometime.

The final word: Dave Winer provides a helpful definition of “bitchmeme”:

A Bitchmeme is something that happens on weekends when new stories are in short supply so ideas that otherwise would be buried on Techmeme rise to the top. Usually they’re people complaining about something or other which is why they’re called Bitchmemes and not Happymemes or Sarcasticmemes.


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7 Responses to Bitchmeme Recap: What Happens on Shyftr, Stays on Shyftr

  1. Louis Gray says:

    It’s too bad this turned into a “bitchmeme”, one that Shyftr will have to dig out of. Now, the negative discussion around what’s really an innovative service with good folks working on it will overshadow some of their good news as they roll out new features and new services. If I could pull back my alerting Eric to the “good news” as I thought it was, that his story was popular, I’d likely do it. I don’t need the page views and the links from one of these weekend flare-ups, and I’m pretty disappointed in the way some people reacted.

    In my opinion, the conversation is changing. We, as bloggers, should seek out the new venues for discussion, and engage to survive.

  2. bhc3 says:

    Louis – I was in Santa Fe checking in on the discussion every so often. It was amazing to follow it. But making Techmeme did uncover some “buried” concerns about the service, as bloggers rose to discuss this. That’s healthy…in fact the “scorecard” shows a general attitude of being OK with Shyftr.

    I don’t think this was bad news at all for them, really. It was a tremendous amount of coverage for them. I’m going to check them out some more myself so I can be more knowledgeable.

    Here’s a good question: Should they have rolled back the full RSS feed?

    Someone posted the idea that these things are fine, only a couple will ultimately get the traffic to become a real force in aggregating content. That sounds right – it’s been that way forever. There’s just a lot of new experiments underway now. And it’s hard to see how it will play out.

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  6. I find it a bit funny that bloggers, who generally claims that companies should monitor the complete blogosphere (an now also twitter) and engage in the discussions wherever it is, expect the discussion about their own blog to stay put. Where’s the consistency in that?

  7. @Gunnar – that’s a great point. And one that does seem to go unrecognized out in the blogosphere. I posted a link to your comment on FriendFeed:

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