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.