In the wake of Google Reader's demise earlier this summer, we've seen numerous RSS services hit the market with varying degrees of success. Feedly quickly jumped out ahead of the competition with support for importing feeds and syncing with a variety of apps. Now the company is expanding its free service with Feedly Pro, a paid RSS subscription service that gives power users more options for consuming news on the internet.
Feedly Pro was initially announced at the beginning of this month, and the company offered 5,000 early adopters the chance to sign up for a lifetime subscription to the service. Those 5,000 subscriptions, priced at $99 each, quickly sold out, and beefed up the company's coffers enough for it to invest in the infrastructure required for a wider launch by the end of the month. Today, interested users that missed out on the lifetime subscription offer can now sign up for Feedly Pro at $5 per month or $45 per year.
Search is the main reason to pay for Feedly Pro
For most users, the most enticing reason to subscribe to the service will likely be its new search feature, a function that has been missing from most Google Reader replacements. While Google was easily able to integrate search into its Reader product, today's RSS reader providers typically don't have the same legacy in and knowledge of search technology and have not been able to offer it as readily. In addition to search, paid subscribers will get premium support services and one-click Evernote integration for saving articles to read later. The company says that it will add new features to the pro service regularly, but it did not identify what they would be exactly. It has also added HTTPS and one-click Pocket integration to the standard free version of its product.
Paid services keep the lights on for RSS readers
Google Reader was a beloved service offered for free by the search giant but unceremoniously killed to the dismay of many loyal users because it wasn't deemed a valuable resource by the company. As new competitors have filled in the gaping void left by Google Reader's absence, it's become increasingly clear that the only way many of them will be able to survive will be to have clear revenue sources, and paid subscriptions are a sustainable way for them to keep the lights on. Feedly Pro isn't the only paid service on the block; Newsblur, another RSS reader, has offered paid subscriptions for a long time and other competitors, such as Digg, plan to release paid options in the near future. RSS isn't dead, but the only way it's going to keep living is if it can put food on developer's plates, and paid options are the way to do it.