How could tinyurl, feedburner, and webcite be bad things? "Centralizing stuff is not good for the Internet," wrote Dave Winer recently. De-centralization is at the core of RSS and re-use of content. Centralization is for control freaks, bean counters, and moochers.
Most of us love tinyurl for what it provides, but did you ever consider what happens when it breaks, or what would happen if it disappeared for good? Steve Rubel addresses the idea recently in his post entitled "Could a Billion TinyURLs Go 404?" The possibility certainly exists. A better solution for a maintainable Internet would be using our own tinyurl services, rather than relying on a centralized service which could easily become overloaded or go extinct for other reasons.
So what about feedburner? A glitch in this service could render all subscriptions through it useless, with no notification to the users. RSS was created as an infinitely scalable method for distributing content. Feedburner works by funnelling traffic through a central site for the purpose of counting hits. It's very tempting to want to know who's reading, but using feedburner to do so makes us no better than the control happy paper publishers we so often criticize.
For kicks I checked the preferred subscription method to local newspaper columnist Joe McAdory's blog and the feed(s) from nearby newspaper The Montgomery Advertiser. Neither used feedburner. I was relieved to find that, and reminded of a familiar Confucious saying--"He who lives in glass house shouldn't throw stones."