FeedScrub Launches New RSS Filter – 500 Invites

New RSS filtering site FeedScrub launches today in private beta. 500 SitePoint readers can join the beta by using the invite code ‘sitepoint

FeedScrub, which is initially targeting bloggers and other high volume consumers of RSS, uses an adaptive filter that learns as you read and filters RSS feeds based on your input. Many current RSS filters use keyword lists to filter out (or in) content, but FeedScrub works more like a spam filter, learning about the content that you do like, and removing content that you’ve indicated you don’t like.

“Existing RSS filters focus on filtering out particular keywords, creating the possibility of false positives (deleting something the user wanted),” says founder Jason Ardell. “[FeedScrub] is personalized to your preferences so you only read what interests you, and it gets smarter as you train it to minimize filtering out stories you’d like to read.”

The site currently supports Google Reader and the NewsGator RSS readers (NewNewsWire and FeedDemon), with more RSS readers on the way. (Any reader can be used by accessing the raw filtered feed URL.)

The video below, which comes from FeedScrub, explains how to use the application with Google Reader.

The way FeedScrub works is very simple. You add feeds to the site, which creates special scrubbed versions. You then add the scrubbed feeds to your RSS reader and start using buttons included with each entry to mark the posts you like, and the ones you don’t. Eventually, FeedScrub’s algorithm will learn what type of content you like and what type you don’t, and begin to filter your feeds accordingly. The site also includes a junk feed so that you can keep an eye on the stories that are getting culled in case something you like gets scrubbed. That’s especially useful while the algorithm is still being trained.

Personally, my problem with this type of filter is that I often come across articles in my feed reader that I really enjoy about topics that I wouldn’t normally want to read. Often times these comes via feeds I subscribe to from social news sites like Reddit or Digg. I may not want to read every article that comes through about the auto industry, for example, but once in awhile one that was flagged by my peers as interesting will catch my eye. Further, because I generally only read feeds from blogs whose content I really like, I end up tagging too many posts as “I like this!” for the filter to learn anything helpful about what I’ll want to read.

That’s why PostRank (our coverage), which filters feeds based on audience engagement might be a better model. Chances are, if you’re subscribing to a feed you already like most of the content, but if you’re overloaded you just want the best of that content to bubble up.

That said, you could certainly use the two filters in tandem. Run a feed through PostRank, then again through FeedScrub. That way you’ll get the top posts from your favorite blogs and filter out anything that the crowd liked but you don’t.

Remember that we have 500 invites to FeedScrub for SitePoint readers — just use the invite code ‘sitepoint‘ when signing up. Let us know in the comments what you think of the service.

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  • http://www.jaybyjayfresh.com Jonathan Lister

    Oh, that’s a really smart idea – combining the two filters… very interested to give that a try!

    J.

  • sitehatchery

    When I add a feed, it says, “We’re temporarily limiting trial accounts to 3 free feeds during launch to help control resource usage.”

    I didn’t know it was a trial account. When does it expire, how do you upgrade, and how much does it cost? I’m not seeing this information.

  • http://www.mockriot.com/ Josh Catone

    @sitehatchery: Because the site is still in beta, you have to expect some limitations or hiccups while they work out the bugs. A lot of times, apps don’t announce information about plans, pricing, business models, etc., until they leave the beta testing period.

  • Oeroek

    I just registered. I think the idea is nice. Many feeds can clutter yout rss reader and leave you with more disorder than you started with. Pricing is mentioned actually, after I submitted the 3 feeds i saw the upgrade button.

    A short review of the registration process and first thoughts.

    Registration is very simple, type in your emailaddress and sitepoint code and you are in.

    I think the process of registering feeds is time consuming. I had to copy the url of feed from Google reader, copy paste it into feedscrub. Subsequently, you will get a new feed from feedscrub on which you can register with your reader. Boring work if you have to do this with 100+ feeds.

    Due to launch, feeds are limited to 3??? Enabling another 10 feeds costs you 5 dollar/month. Unlimited access costs 10 dollar/month. I don’t get this. Why these limitations while in private beta. 3 or 10 feeds is way to few to get a decent picture. Besides, I cannot imagine paying 5 dollar to filter 10 feeds. The unlimited option is actually the only interesting choice.

    Feeds are updated depending on subscribers of feedscrub. with one subscriber this can take up to three hours. If you use Google reader, the cache time of this reader is added to that. With a limited beta and a maximum of 3 feeds per person this will probably mean that updates will be minimal.

    I like the idea of the junk feed with all messages that are scrubbed. You can filter false positives. There is also a learning page on which you can see what choices the system makes for you. Maybe this page could be expanded with the content of the feed and not just the title.

    It is difficult to get an update on current status of the launch. The most recent message in the “latest news” section dates december 16 2008 leaving me with a feeling of inactivity. Also, the january archive button links to a white screen.

    I submitted 3 feeds and am very curious of the result. I like the idea and am sure that some caveats and usability issues will improve. I do think however that the number of free feeds should be expanded, just as the number of feeds in a basic account. Thinking about it I am not sure if I would be willing to pay for this service. Let see the results first.

  • Jason Ardell

    Hi Oeroek, Jason Ardell, co-founder of Feedscrub here.

    Thanks for your comments; I appreciate your feedback! A few answers to your questions below…

    > I think the process of registering feeds is time consuming.
    Tip: just enter the name of the blog you’d like to scrub in the “Add Feed” box, for instance “techcrunch”, then hit enter. Feedscrub will search for your feed.

    > feeds are limited to 3??? Enabling another 10 feeds costs you 5 dollar/month. Unlimited access costs 10 dollar/month.
    [Plug:] if you sign up soon you can upgrade to unlimited for $5/month and lock in that price.

    > I don’t get this. Why these limitations while in private beta.
    We just wanted to make sure that folks are getting a good user experience from a scalability standpoint. It’s a lot of load on servers to fetch all these feeds so we’re limiting it for now. Very soon we’re releasing a feature to allow you to earn more feeds.

    > With a limited beta and a maximum of 3 feeds per person this will probably mean that updates will be minimal.
    So far our job queue is running smoothly so your feeds are fetched at a _minimum_ once every 3 hours. For popular blogs (Mashable, TechCrunch, Lifehacker, Hacker News, etc) it’s currently around every 30 minutes.

    > Maybe this page could be expanded with the content of the feed and not just the title.
    Click on the title of the post and you’ll see the text content of the post. ;-)

    > It is difficult to get an update on current status of the launch.
    Follow us on Twitter! @ardell, @timdorr, @feedscrub. We’ll be kicking up the blog asap too; I certainly have fun story to tell about our launch today!

    Have fun using Feedscrub, and we look forward to hearing more of your feedback! Do you have a blog we can follow? I promise we won’t scrub it :-D.

    Best,
    Jason Ardell
    jason@feedscrub.com

  • Jason Ardell

    @sitehatchery No expiration date, just a limit of 3 feeds for now. Plans to allow you to earn more feeds soon!

    Once you’ve added 3 feeds it’ll prompt you to upgrade; $5/month for a limited time.

    Jason Ardell
    jason@feedscrub.com

  • danh2000

    I likee the idea and it looks really nice and clean – obviously early teething problems though as I couldn’t train my filter.

    I think they should also provide some useful error messages – I just got :

    “Error – lolwut?”

    …which not surprisingly, didn’t help me at all.

  • http://www.maxhyatt.com MystaMax

    I like the idea (protection from information overload), but can’t deal w/ the limitation. But, I do understand where Mr. Ardell is coming from.

    Seeing how I’m using other free products in conjunction to accomplish what this service offers, I’m less inclined to pay for it. Don’t get me wrong, I like what they offer, its just not enticing enough to make me switch services.

    For example, the folks over @ PostRank.com do a good job of filtering feeds, so I read the important stuff. If you read feeds as much as I do, missing a day can be overwhelming. They have a tool (greasemonkey extension) that allows you to view rankings (otherwise popularity) of feeds right in Google Reader. I love it, and use all day everyday.