Here’s a decidedly new media conundrum… For a few weeks before its unfortunate demise, I was a subscriber to the RSS feed of Jeff Bercovici’s Mixed Media blog on Portfolio.com. It was a brief subscription, cut short by Portfolio’s eventual disappearance.
But as I soon found out it was less a disappearance than a recasting, as Portfolio.com was, “reborn as a product of American City Business Journals, which like Condé Nast, is a unit of Advance Publications.” Not only was Portfolio.com reborn, but the RSS feed for Mixed Media transferred directly to the open arms of Matt Haber’s Pressed Blog. So unbeknownst to me, I found myself an unwitting subscriber to Matt Haber’s RSS feed.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one level it makes sense, Biz Journals owns the Portfolio.com property and therefore the subscriptions. But I’m not a paid subscriber, moreover, I don’t subscribe to Portfolio.com generally, I was a unique subscriber to the Mixed Media Blog. I have nothing against Matt Haber, but the automatic transfer of the RSS feed seems a little bit slimy to me. I never asked to read the Pressed Blog, so why is it ok for Biz Journals to infiltrate my Google Reader. What are the ethics of this? Is there an existing standard to govern this newfangled conundrum? Surely there should be. Somebody call Randy Cohen.