The demise of Google Reader means millions in potential revenue for companies that have stepped up to replace the RSS service, according to a just-published survey.
Half of the users polled by SurveyMonkey, which conducted a survey in late April in collaboration with Feedly, one of the firms that is vying to replace Google Reader, said that they would be willing to pay for an RSS service.
Ten percent of those surveyed said that they would be willing to fork over between $20 and $45 annually for an RSS ("rich site summary" or "really simple syndication") service that offered advanced features -- some of which Google Reader included -- like integration with other services, tagging and alerts, offline reading and keyword search within their subscribed feeds.
The 10% result and the money people claimed they'd part with must be encouraging to Feedly, the San Francisco company that appears to be the frontrunner among Google Reader substitutes.
Just weeks after Google announced it was pulling the Reader plug -- it claimed use of its free Web app and service had been on the decline -- Feedly said it planned to offer a paid option this year. Feedly has not yet disclosed how much it will charge and what additional features the fee will give customers.
But the numbers could mean a big chunk of cash to Feedly when it does kick off a for-a-fee premium service.
In late May, Feedly said it had 12 million users; 10% of that total would be 1.2 million, which at $20 each, means Feedly could conceivably rake in $24 million annually.
And that 12 million could be appreciably larger, SurveyMonkey's poll suggested.
According to the survey, 70% of those who used Google Reader had not yet found a replacement for the service as of the end of April, and 20% had "no clue what their replacement will be."
But many will try to find an alternate: 80% of all Google Reader users called the service "moderately to extremely important" to them.
Google Reader is to go dark on July 1, less than two weeks from today. Feedly has prepped for the deadline, and just this week, switched on its own API and servers to process and deliver billions of RSS notifications to users daily.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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