Perhaps Google Reader's largest advantage wasn't its features, usability, or ubiquity - it was Google's massive resources. The Old Reader was one of many alternatives that readers fled to in advance of Reader's imminent collapse, and its users swelled by over 1000 percent in just a week. Now, after having swelled from 10 thousand users to over 400 thousand, the developers are saying that enough is enough. They currently plan to re-launch The Old Reader as a private service and only invite back those who joined before the flood, but they're still open to alternatives that would ensure continued public access.


The developers originally viewed The Old Reader as a labor of love. It was not supposed to be a job or business, but the time commitment of supporting over 400 thousand users has turned it into one, and it has stripped the team of their personal lives.

The truth is, during last 5 months we have had no work life balance at all. The “life” variable was out of equation: you can limit hours, make up rules on time management, but this isn’t going to work if you’re running a project for hundreds of thousands of people. Let me tell you why: it tears us to bits if something is not working right, and we are doing everything we can to fix that. We can’t ignore an error message, a broken RAID array, or unanswered email. I personally spent my own first wedding anniversary fixing the migration last Sunday. Talk about “laid back” attitude now. And I won’t even start describing enormous sentimental attachment to The Old Reader that we have.

We would really like to switch the difficulty level back to “normal”. Not to be dreaded of a vacation. Do something else besides The Old Reader. Stop neglecting ourselves. Think of other projects. Get less distant from families and loved ones. The last part it’s the worst: when you are with your family, you can’t fall out of dialogues, nodding, smiling and responding something irrelevant while thinking of refactoring the backend, checking Graphite dashboard, glancing onto a Skype chat and replying on Twitter. You really need to be there, you need to be completely involved. We want to have this experience again.

That’s why The Old Reader has to change. We have closed user registration, and we plan to shut the public site down in two weeks. We started working on this project for ourselves and our friends, and we use The Old Reader on a daily basis, so we will launch a separate private site that will keep running. It will have faster refresh rate, more posts per feed, and properly working full-text search — we are sure that we can provide all this at a smaller scale without that much drama, just like we were doing before March.

Anyone who betted on The Old Reader isn't out of luck. There's still a wide range of alternatives out there, including Feedly, TinyTinyRSS, and NewsBlur. Even if The Old Reader does maintain public access going forward, it may still be prudent to switch to a platform whose future is more stable.

Via: The Digital Reader

Source: The Old Reader Blog

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

    Why not charge for a small fee for use, around half to 3/4 people leave and you make money.

    • NuLLnVoiD

      That may be oversimplifying what the staff had in mind. It doesn't appear to be about the money so much as they don't want TOR to eat up their entire lives and while bringing in money might be helpful, it would take a long time to bring in new staff, train them and is a business nightmare if they weren't using that model from the start. It sounds like they are going back and looking at what they started with versus where they are and it's just become too overwhelming. A temporary switch to private service may give them the time to reorganize and switch to monetized form of business where they can go back to public later.

      • ocdtrekkie

        Also, as soon as you charge money, you have a drastically higher requirement of service.

    • Bill

      Because it's not a business and they already have jobs they like? Not everything is about money.

      • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

        With that money they make they can find someone to work on it permanently and keep their life on track.

  • atlouiedog

    This news disappointed me. gReader was my go to Android RSS reader and I really dislike feedly.

    I've switched to inoreader for now. It's not as nice looking as TOR was but it functions the way I want it to and that's the most important part. Maybe gReader will support it later on. In the meantime their alpha Android app is functional and mobile RSS is only a small part of my usage anyway.

    • bananagranola

      I believe News+, by the gReader dev, has a plugin for inoreader in the works: https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!category-topic/news_plus/extensions/aCdRf-SKYU0

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

      why did you dislike feel Feedly !!!!!!!!!!!

      • tim

        I disliked feedly, because of their website was not intuitive and slow. I tried it a while back, and gave up on it because of this in despair.

        Also, some of the functionality/settings from the greader app I value highly. I would like for it to read the article for me, since I read articles in foreign languages. I would like to know how it is pronounced. Feedly was too simple lacking the features I may want to use.

  • Mike Loomis

    I hate to do this but I have to ask: Is "betted" a word? (God, I feel like such a grammar Nazi, but it was really getting to me.)

    Other than that, yes, I agree with Gandalf. They could have charged for it and made some money while keeping the user base down to a manageable level. Win-win.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      Things like that (redundant sounds at the end of words) is what probably caused words like "cut" and "let" to become irregular verbs - at least according to Steven Pinker in his book Words and Rules. I don't know if bet is popular enough for such treatment (only popular verbs are irregular; if an irregular verb falls out of fashion it becomes regular with time) but its past might become simply "bet" in the future :)

    • RvLeshrac

      The word is 'bet,' yes. 'Betted' is not a word.

  • Jean-Francois Messier

    I personnally use TinyTinyRSS, as it is all open-source and I managed to set it up on my shared hosting at GoDaddy, and it works beautifully. I have over 60 RSS feeds, and it refreshes every 5 minutes, and it keeps all my pointers up to date for my desktop as well as my numerous tablets. I also setup the system on a server at work to demonstrate for an internal project.

    Definitely, TT-RSS is the best solution, and it works perfectly for me.

  • cabbott9

    I was betting big on The Old Reader as it was my favorite alternative. I can't stand Feedly and have started using AOL Reader which functions solidly. I just miss the mobile integration.

  • John Smith

    I find it strange that they're complaining about having a popular app... so they have an opportunity to fix their non-scalable implementation.

    • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

      My guess is they started this as a hobby, to fill their spare-time and not something they would like to do full-time.

      • Qliphah

        Pretty much, one dev said they would rather have 10k users on a fast reliable service for friends/family as opposed to a million anonymous users on a crappy one that makes money.

  • http://nikolaovcharski.com/ Nikola Ovcharski

    Excellent title, Bertel King, Jr.

  • rmeden

    Sad. TOR is my favorite Google Reader replacement. I don't miss Google Reader a bit. Simple, fast, great desktop and mobile web. Because I donated, I get to keep TOR, but hopefully they work out a partnership with someone willing to open it to the public.

    I totally understand where the devs are coming from, I just wish things could have worked out better for the masses. Maybe it will eventually.

  • tim

    I have been using inoreader. I haven't had much problems with it. Sadly, no android app for it.

    • abu

      Thats not true anymore!
      They are in beta with their own app, but even better, there is News+ with a plugin for inoreader.com, which is the new generation of GReader (also in beta, but working great). Try it! ;-)

    • SetiroN

      Oh, didn't notice someone had already mentioned inoreader. Anyway, pay a visit to their g+ beta community:


    • cwagner

      InoReader does indeed look nice :) But the lack of favicons before feednames (even if there is a setting that sounds like it does that but doesn't) is a dealbreaker for me.

      Still staying at newsblur :)

      • Danny Lewis

        What do you mean? I see favicons and have had them since I tried InoReader.

  • SetiroN

    I switched to INOREADER, an arguably even better google reader clone: https://inoreader.com/

    • Danny Lewis

      I love InoReader! If one loved Google Reader the way it was, then this one is the closest you'll get to having Google Reader back.

  • Lexster

    I rarely see AOL Reader mentioned (probably because it's AOL), but seriously, I think it's a pretty good one as well. Very close to the functionality of Google Reader.

  • Howard Hughes

    pathetic - thanks for wasting my time - scared of success huh?