If only we lived in an ideal world

After my last post on the importance of IP addresses, I emailed a few friends I respect for feedback.  I’m glad I did because there’s an important aspect I neglected to address.  Brett Slatkin made this comment:

The post makes sense. What I’d focus on in part is that reputation based on IP is fundamentally broken, which is why email sending with SMTP and feed fetching through polling are both fundamentally flawed. We need better protocols that use client tokens (like OAuth) to do rate limiting instead of using just IP addresses.

I hope this would be obvious, but neither SendGrid nor SuperFeedr are optimal solutions.  Let me be more blunt.  In an ideal world, neither company would have reason to exist.

I also understand that as an entrepreneur you have to dream big while also realizing that significant change usually doesn’t happen overnight.  One day we may all drive Tesla’s, but that doesn’t mean we can do away with our gas stations quite yet.

I’m a firm believer that companies should focus on solving the problems that exist today while being ready to adapt as better solutions get adopted.  For the sake of completeness, here’s the missing footnote to my last post:

The ideal solution to the problem of polling feeds is PubSubHubbub.  The ideal solution for accessing authenticated APIs would be for parties to use token based authentication like OAuth or WRAP.  And as Isaac Saldana mentioned in the comments, the ideal solution for email reputation would be widespread adoption of DKIM which moves the reputation to the domain instead of the IP address.

Those are the ideal solutions.  Too bad we don’t live in an ideal world.

  • However, the value-add of Superfeedr goes beyond their feed-fetching capabilities. What's most interesting to me is what these services do beyond the raw interactions. For Superfeedr this is bridging feed and ping formats into Atom, XMPP, and PubSubHubbub. And there's room for much more! -Brett

    • I think fetching feeds reliably is the main pain point for developers. Take that away and you have a vitamin, not a pain-killer. That said, I think SuperFeedr can still be interesting even after every feed on the web supports PuSH. In addition to the features you listed, the data that flows through them is also valuable. I bet someone would pay to have access or control of that. A good parallel might be feedburner?

      • julien

        Both of you are right!

        Superfeedr's goal is to be the pipe of all that data by making sure it's available in an easy way to consume for anybody and anywhere (servers or desktop apps…)

        As I always wanted to be very transparent, here are a few points. Whether PuSH invades the web or not I think Superfeedr will win. If not, then, well, we'll still need people to hide the "polling" behind hubs. If yes, then we want to be the "provider" for all these hubs (see our publihser approach). We're also soon releasing a set of feature for which your parallel with feedburner makes a lot of sense : analytics being the most obvious one!