While most consumers aren’t directly taking advantage of RSS feeds — they’ve mostly been supplanted by social media and mobile news reading apps — they’re still an important way for publishers to get their content distributed and discovered.
For London-based Mediafed, that means big business.
How big? The company announced today that its platform for news feed discovery has powered 30 billion article views in the last 12 months and 89 billion news feed requests. Additionally, Mediafed has driven 6.4 billion clicks back to publisher sites and has seen its mobile views increase by 83 percent.
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With most online publishers struggling to maintain decent ad rates, Mediafed’s explosive performance could be a rare bit of relief.
Launched in 2007, the company has built a platform to help publishers distribute, monetize, and analyze their news feeds. Its business has steadily risen over the past few years, following the rise of social media, smartphones, and tablets. Mediafed isn’t talking about its revenues yet, but it boasts that it’s been profitable since its first day in business.
“One of the advantages we had was the fact that Google hasn’t really been doing much with Feedburner,” said Ashley Harrison, the company’s chief executive, in an interview with VentureBeat. Google bought the RSS feed manager Feedburner in 2007, but after struggling to figure out how to properly make money off of RSS feeds, it ended up shutting down its “AdSense with Feeds” product late last year.
“From April  to April  we’ve doubled monthly article visits,” Harrison said. “A large percentage of that growth has been from the concentrated strategy of working with U.S. publishers.”
Indeed, looking at the company’s monthly article stats is telling: It jumped from 14 million monthly views in January 2010 to 47 million in 2011. Since then, the figure has doubled every year — in January 2011 it was 100 million monthly visits, and this year that increased to 200 million. Harrison tells me he expects to reach 300 million monthly views by next January.
Mediafed monetizes news feeds for more than 2,000 publishers, including heavy-hitters like NBC, the New York Times, and Reuters (which make up its highest daily article views). The company has also partnered with more than 1,200 major advertisers.
Looking forward, Harrison tells me Mediafed is going to build on Taptu’s technology (Mediafed acquired the news DJ app last year) to help its users more easily discover content they’ll like. Specifically, the company will integrate Taptu’s tech into its Feedsportal offering, which offers anonymous statistical information about RSS feed usage.
“At the moment our strategy is to try and make RSS more available now that there are so many popular newsreaders out there,” Harrison said. “We think we can help build the RSS ecosystem rapidly by piggy-backing [on] the newsreaders people want to use.”