Pulse has decided that there’s no future in paying for RSS apps, and instead, the future will be paid subscription partnerships with publishers. I’m not sure I agree entirely, but it certainly seems like a lucrative venture, at least early on.
Instead of charging for their application, Pulse will be relying on the $800,000 they raised in venture capital to bring their application to as many people as possible in a kind of newage-freemium model that would see the financial burden of an app purchase transferred from their users to content producers.
While users are still able to import their own feeds through Google Reader, they will also be getting content from some of the major players in the news world. The Huffington Post already has a partnership with Pulse. The application now “features customized [Huffington Post] feeds, bigger pictures, and full-length articles within the application.” While this is good news for consumers, could it mean a fragmented mobile reading experience in the future?
While getting your publication featured in a popular mobile news reader is always great news (we’re going to be featured in FLUD News), the major question is whether we will see an emphasis placed on news outlets that can afford to pay up, over other alternatives. Some of the best news comes from independent news sources with small budgets. It would be a shame if RSS apps were only serving up news, albeit much further down the road, for those who can afford the premium.
It’s a slippery slope. We’d encourage you to monitor these practices closely.
We’re pretty sure that Pulse won’t be pulling Google Reader support any time in the near future, but it’s something to think about as companies continue to redefine the way we consume news on the internet.