Too many years ago to count, the company I worked with developed a Radio UserLand plug-in to scrape web sites and generate RSS feed. One of the first filters that we developed was the one for Dilbert.com, which back then was not offering RSS feeds yet.
Some time later they started publishing the official feed, and I have been a happy subscriber ever since. Until last week, when they broke it. Instead of my daily strip, now every day this is what I get in my aggregator:
Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.
Now, I’m not a “full content in your feed” fundamentalist, but if all your content is a comics strip, you can’t get away just linking it.
My guess is that this is another effect of Google Reader closing: the number of feed subscribers must have dropped significantly, and they decided that whoever was left was not relevant enough. They must have thought: “At least let’s get their lazy eyeballs back on our site so they can be exposed to our fantastic banners and we increase our page views”
It looks like it’s time to go back to scrapers.
PS: I’m sure that this move also broke hundreds of intranet home pages that were adding some color to otherwise boring sites using that feed.