Wednesday, March 31, 2010

dlvr.it: a new star on the RSS syndication market is born?

Recently, I asked via Twitter that I need a "Twitterfeed" tool that distributes RSS items evenly based on previous update rates. Almost instantly, I got a reply by @dlvrit_connect that dlvr.it provides this kind of functionality through its "trickle" mode. I also got an invite code which gave me the possibility to give this tool a try.


Before going into details, I'd like to give some background. As associate editor for Computing Now I'm using the well-known Twitterfeed to automatically feed RSS items into the CN Twitter account. It works very well but the main problem is that some source RSS feeds are published in bursts (e.g., more than 10 items at a time) and having more than three tweets at a time is probably not well received by our followers. It's difficult to change this situation and, therefore, I was hoping that with dlvr.it it is possible to distribute these "burst-ish" feeds more smoothly over time.

Fortunately, dlvr.it offers the following update mechanisms:
As others tools, it allows one to define the update period, maximum number of items to post per update period, and maximum number of items to post by day. Additionally, one may specify to trickle items over time which offers three possibilities (copy/paste from dlvr.it help):
  • Trickle Off: updates your feed and looks for newly published items to post. New items (up to the "Max Number of New Items to Post per Update Period" set for your feed) will post. Newly published items not posted during an update period will be marked as 'seen' and are not eligible for posting later. For example, if during the feed update period your feed has 7 new items, and the "Max Number of New Items to Post per Update" is set to 5, then 5 new items will post and 2 will be marked 'seen' and will never post. 
  • Post Oldest Items First: Items will be posted beginning with the oldest and working forward. During each feed update, the oldest, previously unposted items (up to the "Max Number of New Items to Post per Update Period") will post. Items not posted during feed update will be eligible for posting later.
  • Post Newest Items First: Items will be posted beginning with the newest then working back. During each feed update period, the newest, previously unposted items (up to the "Max Number of New Items to Post per Pull") will post. Items not posted during feed update will be eligible for posting later.
I think this functionality is a major improvement over Twitterfeed which simply allows to specify the update frequency and the maximum number of items to post at a time.

Destinations other than Twitter include - among others - Facebook and LinkedIn which are equally important for Computing Now. Unfortunately, only status updates are possible but I would need updates to CN's Facebook Page and LinkedIn Group.


Finally, there are also means for defining a prefix, suffix, filters, auto-hashtag placement (based on feed categories), multiple bit.ly accounts (instead of built-in dlvr.it shortener), etc. You may also read the TechCrunch article related to dlvr.it which gives a broader overview of the actual services offered.
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