Notes on RSS Talk

The following is the messy-from-MS-Word dump of my notes from tonight’s RSS presentation at the HTCE. Any questions? Leave a comment or email me.


My name
is Darren Barefoot, and I’m a partner in Capulet Communication. I’m a writer
and online marketing consultant specializing in small and medium size
technology companies.

The Problem

Nearly half of the 31 billion email messages sent every
day is junk email. By 2007, it’s estimated that junk emailwill grow to 63%of all email traffic.

  • Junk
    email messages, and the email filtering software used to block them arecrippling
    corporate communications

Recent studies suggest that up to
38% of email messages that customers have opted into—message they have
requested—are being erroneously blocked by filtering software.

  • That
    means thatmore than a thirdof your company’s public relations
    email—newsletters, special offers, event announcements—are not reaching
    their intended audience.

The Solution

  • There
    is an alternative which bypasses these growing issues surrounding email.
    This alternative will not replace email, but can complement it and offset
    the growing problems of the medium.

  • RSS
    (Really Simple Syndication) represents a new way to publish your news and
    events in a format that can be accessed by anyone over the Internet. RSS
    is a reusable, secure, timely technology that empowers users and ensures
    that companies can communicate effectively.

  • Dan
    Gilmour, a prominent technology journalist, recently wrote in theComputerworldmagazine:

The best reason so far to adopt RSS is its effect on the
technology that we all once loved but is now so polluted: email. Sending
marketing messages and newsletters via email has become a fool’s errand; the
obvious work-around is RSS. I’d much prefer to get public relations materials
this way.

How It Works

  • RSS
    is typically published in a feed. For the average company, their RSS feed
    represents their public relations activity, including press releases,
    product announcements, upcoming events, and so on.

  • The
    feed is a simple file published on your Web site. You simply provide the
    location of your RSS feed, which is similar to a web address, and your
    audience subscribes to that feed.

  • The
    result is a new online broadcast feed where people interested in
    information on your organization can receive all the latest news.

  • Depending
    upon its size, a company may have one or many feeds. A small startup will
    probably have one, whereas Macromedia publishes about 20.

  • RSS
    feeds are most often read by users using software callednews

  • Subscribing
    to an RSS feed is similar to bookmarking a web site. Except in this case,
    the bookmarks notify you when the site is updated, and tell you what the
    new content is.

  • To
    understand how RSS works, consider the following example. I’m a technology
    journalist whose beat is Web development tools. Therefore, I want to be
    notified when Macromedia has any news related to their product, Dreamweaver.
    I subscribe to the feed and am instantly notified when Macromedia
    announces a bug fix, product release, a related event, etc.

Why It’s Good

  • Why
    use RSS?

    • RSS feedsare not subject to spam blockesr and email filters.So far, there’s no such thing as RSS spam.

    • Users are empowered.

      Because users can manage
      their RSS subscriptions more easily than they can subscribe or
      unsubscribe to an email newsletter program, you can be sure that your RSS
      subscribers are genuinely interested.

    • RSS is private and secure.

      Users don’t have to
      surrender any information, and RSS feeds are, thus far, virus free.

    • Users get news when it’s news.

      They don’t have to wait for
      the next newsletter.

    • RSS is reusable.

      Because it’s structed XML data, your news
      can be republished easily. Can’t cover this tonight.

    • RSS feeds can be modified.

      Unlike email, you can
      correct or change a news item after the fact.

    • Offers an even playing field.

      Your RSS feed looks just
      like IBM’s.

    • Everybody is doing it.

      IBM, Sun, Microsoft,
      Apple—these are just a few of the companies who already have feeds.

    • It drives traffic to your site.

      On every site in which I’ve
      implemented an RSS feed, it has risen to be a top-five most popular file
      accessed on that site.

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