March 14, 2013, 2:06 PM — Americans took to the Internet Thursday as tens of thousands signed petitions on sites pleading for Google Reader's life.
One of several on the Change.org online petition website had collected more than 63,000 signatures by 1:30 p.m. ET, less than 24 hours after Google announced that Reader and its RSS feed would vanish July 1.
Dan Lewis, the director of new media communications for Sesame Street, kicked off that petition Wednesday, calling on Google to reverse its retirement plans for Google Reader. "You're a huge corporation, with a market cap which rivals the GDP of nations," wrote Lewis. "Show us you care. Don't kill Google Reader."
Lewis declined an interview request Thursday, even as his petition was accumulating thousands of signatures each hour.
Others also took to Change.org, which listed at least six more petitions, their titles reflecting some serious angst. "Please do not shut down Google Reader," read one that had gathered nearly 4,000 signees in just hours. "Please don't kill Google Reader!" another with 4,800 signatures stated.
Even Change.org was impressed with the reaction, particularly to the petition started by Lewis.
"Getting 63,000 signatures on a petition in less than a day is extremely rare," said Charlotte Hill, Change.org's communications manager, in an email. "There are 20,000 petitions started every month on Change.org, and only a handful, if that, achieve that rate of growth."
Google announced Reader's death on Wednesday in a blog post that also IDed several other scrubbed projects. The company cited declining use of Reader for the decision.
That was likely true, but Reader fans -- or simply users, since many were connecting to Google's RSS feed through third-party applications or websites like Reeder on OS X, and Feedly on the Web -- reacted with alarm.
One user went to the trouble of registering the keepgooglereader.com domain yesterday to host a petition. "If Google won't keep Google Reader alive, then lets [sic] get them to open source the code and we will run it ourselves! Who is with me?" asked the site owner, Christopher McCann, of the U.K.
McCann's campaign had attracted nearly 24,000 signatures by 1:30 p.m. ET.