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January 07, 2008

ReadBurner's Unplanned Big First Day Shows Real Promise

As I mentioned in this morning's post, "ReadBurner, In Stealth Mode, Looking to Sort Shared Feed Items", I was lucky enough to stumble upon a new service that seemingly had no named developer, and had no records of existing, as far as Google was concerned. It didn't even have a domain name! Yet, despite its relative obscurity, ReadBurner took its first 24 hours in the public eye and made the most of it. I'm excited to see where this could go, and now, we have more to the story.

The site's developer is Alexander Marktl, who hails from Vienna, Austria. (See his profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or FriendFeed)

While his day job is as a user experience designer for Qoove, an invoicing software service for small companies, Alexander had made ReadBurner his hobby, and it wasn't supposed to go live as quickly as it did, but as he writes in the site's new "About" page, "In the Internet you cannot hide anything that's leaked, so be it."

I can't help but feel partially responsible.


Today's most popular shared items, with sharers...


But while the morning's coverage was a surprise, he's taken the early launch as an opportunity to get serious. Today, ReadBurner got the domain name it truly deserves, at www.readburner.com. Alexander also quickly started a blog for the site at readburner.wordpress.com, and in the space of a few hours, did some amazing work, tidying up the Web site, removing feed item duplicates, and showing which people had shared specific items. Keep in mind Google Reader is just now figuring out how to do the last two, and this should be their sweet spot!

Make no mistake about it. The site is still in alpha. As it's just Alexander building the site, he admits he still has work to do to find a better way to present the content. But I think he's doing a pretty darn good job for one day's efforts. We're excited to see this, and are astounded that one guy, with one day's effort, from Vienna, Austria, can do what a few thousand engineers in Mountain View haven't done yet. It's got to be because Google doesn't want to do it.

Until Google gets their act together, we're delighted ReadBurner is here. With ReadBurner, AssetBar, FriendFeed and Spokeo out there, it's a real sign that innovation in this market is alive and well.