RSS - Has It's Time Finally Come?
Author: Robert Flenner
If you're like many you are saying "What is RSS?"
It stands for Really Simple Syndication and has been around for about 10 years in one form or another. It's that tiny orange RSS graphic hidden at the bottom of web sites that when you click on it you get techno-garbo (XML)!
However, news media sites have been using it to feed news to web sites, RSS Readers, and technophiles looking for the next "big thing" for years. It has gained in popularity as a mechanism to promote blogs, while capitalizing on the blog craze running rampant on the web.
At a basic level it is nothing more than a standard way to define and describe a link to content. Of course therein lies the power. Simple, standard definition to web content that can be easily exchanged and extended.
So how can you use it and where is the opportunity?
It's another channel to consider for broadcasting information to your customers. Use it to complement email or e-zines and newsletters. You can broadcast specials and events and information which would be considered valuable to your customer base. You can find industry specific feeds that might help your site become more dynamic without the additional effort. Because it involves the active participation of the subsrciber to receive the feed (at least currently), you avoid the spam filters and channel choppers that currently devour your best promotions. Of course this will require the user adoption rate to accelerate.
Too good to be true?
Perhaps, but some heavyweights are helping to ensure you don't dismiss it so easily.
When Microsoft talks people listen! Microsoft is doing more than talking. They are embracing RRS, in fact it will be a standard part of the next release of Internet Explorer. Yahoo (MyYahoo) and Google (Google Reader) already have RSS readers on the market and expect the list to grow in the coming months.
Like any technology for promoting your business there are three approaches to consider. Adopt it, put it on your radar screen, or ignore it. My recommendation is don't just ignore it. At a minimum put it on your technology radar screen. If you are looking at adoption it comes back to that age old question. Where are you getting the content? If it is content that your customers are asking for and is not readily available you have a winner.
Let's discuss how you can use it to your advantage today!
What does it look like?
About the author
Robert Flenner is founder of www.bentgrassgraphics.com devoted to community oriented small businesses. His articles have appeared on many web sites such as O'Reilly, and is the author of a number of books on emerging technologies and ecommerce. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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