Adam Curry posted a note on Monday that I found pretty surprising. In the future, will you have to pay to get into RSS aggregators? Ouch.
Apparently, about a year and a half ago Mr. Curry purchased Radio and Frontier licenses, and then paid Userland $10,000 to be included in the feeds that the products come pre-loaded with. I didn't know this kind of thing was happening, but it shouldn't be surprising, and realistically, I think it’s part of the future that we need to think about in a level-headed way.
I was emailing with Brent Simmons about this (by the way, his NetNewsWire comes with no paid-to-play entries). We both seemed to think that this kind of thing is OK, as long as it’s clearly marked as such, like the little labels in your newspaper that say “advertisement” when there’s an ad dressed up to look like a newspaper story.
Because, if this syndication thing takes off like a lot of people (including me) think it’s going to, prominent placement in the initial set of feeds that come with an aggregator could be a very valuable property indeed. This is right up there with placement on the start page that your ISP presets for your browser and most people don’t know or care enough to change.
Like I said, inevitable, and not actively harmful if pay-to-play entries are clearly marked as such.