Bloglines vs. Rojo

After having used Bloglines for some months as my primary RSS client I decided to use only one machine for working anymore so using a webbased RSS reader became pointless for me so I went back to Liferea. A few weeks after that I learned about Rojo.com and liked the screenshots in the tour but never had to the time or the motivation to try it out.


But now I finally came around to get a Rojo.com account and here comes a short comparision of these two free services.

Registration

Both services don’t ask for any real-life data during the registration. All they want is an email address and a password and Rojo also wants a nickname. During the registration on Bloglines you can also already select the interface language and the timezone that should be used later.

During the registration I had a problem on rojo.com that was probably related to my mail forwarder. I contacted the support (of rojo.com) and got a really fast and very friendly response :-)

A few hours later I then got finally an activation mail and could proceed. The activation form on rojo.com also includes questions for personal information like firstname, lastname and zip-code which you can skip by hitting “Exit wizard”.

Interface

While Bloglines uses a multi-frame interface rojo.com puts everything into one single frame and does quite a lot of the management using JavaScript. Right after entering rojo.com you get a list of all the new entries in your subscribed feeds (listing 10,25,…. posts per page).

On Bloglines on the other hand you have to click the “**** Feeds” link in the left frame to get an at least partially comparable listing. Bloglines actually lists all subscriptions having changed and leaving it to you to expend the listing to get to the actual posts. The problem is see here with the bloglines solution is that the entries don’t get “paged”. So you get everything on one page which is quite a lot with my more than 130 subscriptions ;-)

Bloglines.com by default lists only unread posts and decides that a post is read when it gets listed somewhere. On rojo.com on the other hand it always lists all posts and lets you switch to “unread only” mode. The posts are by default listed in a collapsed way where you only see the title and the meta information. If you expand the post it is marked as read. IMO the better solution. But for me there is an option missing to switch the default to “unread only” on rojo.com.

Organisation

Bloglines uses folders to organize feeds while rojo uses tags. Perhaps a combination like it’s done on spurl.com would be the best way to please everyone. Nothing really much to say about it IMO ;-)

Importing and exporting

Both services offer OPML exporting and importing which works quite well. Since bloglines organizes all feeds in folders the folders from the OPML file will also be imported but don’t extend or overwrite the folders already existing on your bloglines account. The importer simply creates a 2nd folder with the same name :-? At least it recognizes already existing feeds in scripts them.

While exporting works on both services without a problem, only bloglines managed to import the my quite big OPML file. Rojo.com exports all your tags as folders which means that feeds that have more than one tag appear in more than one folder. I will probably later on contact their support about this, but not today, I don’t want to get on their nerves :-)

Community features

Rojo.com like bloglines counts that number of subscribers to a feed but doesn’t let see you a list of them. On bloglines you get such a list if the subscriber hasn’t marked the feed as private. Sharing feeds works on a global basis on rojo.com. You can either share your whole feedlist with your contacts, with everyone or with no one. On bloglines you could also set specific folders as being private which is IMO the better solution for the permissions on sharing feeds.

On rojo you can also build a network of contacts which you can explicitly inform about interesting stories/posts but hitting the “share” button when viewing a post. Nice :-) Since I have no contacts yet this is only theoretical for me for now ;-) On the other hand I’d love to have something like http://www.bloglines.com/public/zeroK available so that also guests could read my feedlist on rojo.

Conclusion

Both services look quite decent but the no working import on rojo.com is a big minus point for me. On the other hand the community features on rojo are more interesting than their counterparts on bloglines. I also prefer rojo’s approach on listing feeds in a post-centric way since the posts are the important part and not the feeds. Also the really fast and friendly support on rojo is definitly a + point.

Other services

Before yesterday I only knew Rojo and Bloglines but then also found other services like http://feedlounge.com/ which looks very promising. Now I hope that I will get on the beta-tester list so that I can get my fingers on it :D

Update (2005.06.17 17:27 GMT+2)

Importing my feed dump now finally worked without a problem on rojo. All the folders were transformed into tags.

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