RSS and web products

Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

I had a recent AIM exchange from my boss alerting me to low adoption of RSS by consumers. This was based on a Forrester report that points to only 11% of users adopting the technology. Added to that is a follow-up blog post from Steve Rubel that says the end is near and marketing can ignore the technology. During the same AIM exchange my boss sent another link to a Mark Hopkins post that takes issue with the concept and flips it on its head.

I agree that RSS readers as a tool for avid blog readers is probably hitting the peak adoption. For new users there is a learning curve and it can be daunting to wade through the noise to get to the blog posts you enjoy. So 11% sounds like a reasonable number for people using RSS aggregators. Where I disagree is in the technology being dead.

Show me a Web 2.0 website that doesn’t use RSS in some form or fasion. You can even see inroads in old media companies adding the ability to send a news article to Facebook, Digg, etc. Most consumers don’t care whether the data they see is RSS, CMS content or hard coded, they expect to see content. As Mark points out the ability to market using RSS may not come via Google Reader but rather through integration with devices, platforms and websites that will allow users to see relevant content in the context they can control.

Let’s take RSS off the cart and let it live.

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One thought on “RSS and web products

  1. Thank you Brooks.

    My friend couldn’t easily read http://dangerismymiddlename.com on his new phone. I sent him the link to the RSS feed, and that worked great. I don’t care if the salepeople want to sell it or not; it’s needed, if only for a way to get the content on devices that don’t like our PC-centric designs. I think that this is part of your point. I agree with you totally about that, and your point that if the 11% figure is based on feed reader usage, then folks are looking at the wrong figure. Have your salespeople show your product’s RSS feed as Web content that can be viewed on any device, have them hold a phone with the content on it being viewed within a standard browser, and then they will want to sell it even if it they aren’t aware that THAT is what RSS actually is.

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