I was talking my friend Dan Cundiff about Page2RSS shutting down, and the viability of offering up tools like this for us mere mortals to use in our every day work.
Hmm, page2rss shutdown quickly – it will be missed. Makes IFTTT recipes for that sort of thing a little harder to cook up.
— Dan Cundiff (@pmotch) May 2, 2016
If you aren’t familiar with what Page2RSS does, it is a simple tool that takes a static website, and turn it into an RSS feed for you. A valuable service for those websites who do not understand the importance of RSS, but unfortunatley is a tool that has gone dark as of today.
https://t.co/GAkeJMHeSu has been shutdown for good. We apologize for the short notice.
— Page2RSS.com (@Page2RSS) May 1, 2016
Page2RSS is one of those valuable tools, that is more feature, than a actual thing all by itself. These types of tools really don’t take much to keep alive and running, something you can scale using AWS or other cloud infrastructure, but only if you have an actual business model, and customers who are willing to pay for it.
The problem is, the tone has been set for the last 10 years, that free is how you do things. A concept that has been led by tech giants like Google, and wave after wave of VC investment–setting an unrealistic expectation that thins should be free. Providers of simple tools like Page2RSS feel that if they are going to compete they will have to be free, even if they can’t afford it. Something that then results in consumers of simple tools like Page2RSS thinking things should be free, because if it is not, they’ll go find one that is–establishing a very unsustainable cycle.
As the tech giants shutter more of their free services, and VC investment focuses on the enterprise, maybe the bar will be raised to a more realistic place. One where tooling providers can accept micro payments for the tooling and services they provide, and consumers can begin to come back to reality, and realize it takes money to develop and support these valuable tools, making them more willing to cough up some change to pay for the valuable services and tooling they depend on.