Google’s announcement in March that it was to close its Reader service a few months later sent most users of the service scurrying off to find a replacement. Various companies spruced up their existing RSS reader offering while others built a new one from scratch in an effort to sweep up news addicts looking for a new home for their beloved feeds.
While Feedly proved a popular choice for many, Digg’s reader also gained a lot of praise for its clean, simple design, and picked up a lot of former Reader users as a result.
For those hoping for an experience as close to possible to Google’s Reader tool, the aptly named The Old Reader was a no brainer. It looked like Reader and acted like Reader. In fact, it’s turned out to be a bit too much like Reader – it’s closing down next month.
Well, to be specific, it’s closing its public site. This means that if you switched to it after the news broke that Google’s Reader was shuttering, you’ll no longer be able to use The Old Reader from the middle of August.
‘No work-life balance’
Developers Elena Bulygina and Dmitry Krasnoukhov explained the decision in a lengthy piece posted Monday. Essentially, the pair became overwhelmed by the extra amount of work involved in keeping the site going following the sudden influx of new users in the last couple of months. The first sign that all was not well came last week when The Old Reader crashed and remained offline for days.
“In March things became ‘nightmare’, but we kept working hard and got things done,” the pair wrote in the post. “First, we were out of evenings, then out of weekends and holidays, and then The Old Reader was the only thing left besides our jobs. Last week difficulty level was changed to ‘hell’ in every possible aspect we could imagine, we have been sleep deprived for 10 days and this impacts us way too much.
“The truth is, during last 5 months we have had no work-life balance at all.”
User registration has been closed and the site will be kept running for a select few, including friends, backers, and those who signed up before March 13, the date Google announced it was shuttering Reader.
If you don’t fall into one of these categories, you have two weeks to export your OPML file (click on your name top right of the The Old Reader interface, then on Settings, then scroll down and look for the export your feeds link), which you can take to Feedly, Digg, or another RSS reader.
Bulygina and Krasnoukhov do offer fans of The Old Reader some hope, explaining in their post that they’re ready to listen to anyone interested in acquiring the site. But if no takeover happens, it’s curtains for most users.
“We’d rather provide a smooth and awesome experience for 10,000 users than a crappy one for 420,000,” the developers wrote, adding, “Sorry, each and everyone if we failed you. You are an incredible, supportive and helpful community. The best we could possibly hope for.”