Feedburner is testing a new product called “Networks”, which are groups of blogs on a topic that Feedburner uses to manage its RSS feeds. The idea is to allow people to subscribe to a single feed mixed with all the content from all blogs in the category. See this list of venture capital groups as an example (which I just signed up for), where all posts from all blogs appear on the network.
Feedburner said nothing about it, but two of his investors, Brad Feld of Mobius Venture Capital and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, talked about it.
In his report, Brad states that Feedburner is testing some networks and Fred suggests sewing, garage music, and diving as examples of possible topics.
There are currently 17 feeds on the VC network, which are listed here. The goal from the publisher’s perspective is to get readers (and I suppose a network subscriber takes into account each of the individual feed counts), as well as the ad revenue that Feedburner is now selling in feeds with reasonable CPMs ( but, as I know from experience, sales figures due to very low sales). The page above is also a list of the total number of subscribers to these blogs. It is unclear whether subscribers to multiple blogs count twice as much.
The main problem with this is the rules used to determine which blogs are included in a given topic. It is not clear whether effective quality control will be implemented. In his post, Brad says that every network will have a tutor to ensure that only blogs on the topic are included, but there seems to be no barrier to having a quality blog on a topic. It may not work properly. And when bloggers and/or the network coordinator make subjective decisions about which blogs can be included in a given network, it ends in tears. The policy of who is and who is not on a blog network is impossible. I know this from experience.