05 October 2007

I noticed that BoingBoing took notice of Ars Technica’s article on the blocking of RSS feeds in China:

More recent reports tell us that the PSB appears to have extended this block to all incoming URLs that begin with “feeds,” “rss,” and “blog,” thus rendering the RSS feeds from many sites–including ones that aren’t blocked in China, such as Ars Technica–useless.

Woah, hold on there kids! So far the only RSS block I know is Feedburner - which has been blocked before. Meanwhile online aggregators like Bloglines and Google Reader remain unaffected. Hell, my aggregator is still passing along feeds to me that are from Feedburner! Anyway, Ya I Yee has pointed out that Chinese RSS giant Feedsky is an alternative. Which got me wondering:

Does Feedsky filter firewalled feeds?

Some quick experiments to see if Feedsky even acknowledges the existence of some feeds:

This blog’s Blogspot feed: Yes, it is filtered.

This blog’s Feedburner feed: Filtered.

My Flickr feed: No!

Ya, I Yee’s Feedburner Feed: No! Wait, what? Why didn’t mine go through?

The traditionally blocked BBC News Feed (which I get laundered by an aggregator): Yes, filtered.

The Flickr page of Jake Appelbaum, home of the notorious Oiwan Lam photo link: No, not filtered!

Jess Nevin’s LiveJournal: Yup, filtered.

A Google search for site:feedsky.com + blogspot or + flickr shows there are some Chinese bloggers whose flickr feeds are chugging right along through Feedsky, and at least one Blogspot blog that was feeding through Feedburner to Feedsky with no problems until September 24th, when updates stopped, roughly the same time Feedburner was blocked. Poor guy had Feedburner laundering Blogspot for Feedsky, only for Feedburner to get written off too.

Except for Ya, I Yee’s Feedburner. What’s up with that? The Fickle Firewall’s flightiness f**ks with us again.



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