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The Power of RSS Feeds

Author: Jerry Holliday

The Power of RSS Feeds

Real Simple Syndication or RSS is the powerful web tool of the so-called ‘Web 2.0’ revolution that all Internet marketers and Webmasters should be using right now. RSS and Blogs are revolutionizing the distribution of information to consumers, whether it is HTML, Flash or streaming video. This distribution channel provides a fantastic opportunity for marketers to connect directly and build bridges of trust and loyalty with their audience.

Many attribute the success of blogs to the technologies of RSS and Atom which enables subscribers to receive constantly updating feeds piped to their desktops via RSS readers, websites or applications. This form of distribution has an advantage over newsletters since it is not blocked by spam filters or lost in a sea of junk.

The use of RSS, mostly used today by the web savvy and businesses, is about to hot up with the new update of Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft’s new operating system, Vista. IE7 will alert readers when RSS feeds are available and automate the subscription process, as Safari and Firefox do now. Microsoft’s endorsement of RSS could make it a mass-market technology within a few years, making feed subscriptions as relied on as search engines.

A business effectively using RSS can bring new site visitors, increase search engine positioning and generate product interest. As consumers become comfortable signing up to feeds from blog and news services, they are more likely to be comfortable with buying from these sources as well.

The benefit to the consumer is that they can opt-in to their content of interest, thereby totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the feeds decline they can simply remove it and no longer receive content from that source.

Although RSS has been around for several years, it is still in the nursery phase, so business and commerce concepts, such as advertising inserted in RSS feeds or charging for subscriptions are just now starting to appear. Google and Yahoo are in the testing phase of pushing advertising through RSS that has excited marketing people, but has horrified RSS purists, who feel that adverts clogging up these distribution channels are not the way to go.

Wherever the dust settles, consumer expectation will drive businesses that are slow to adopt. It is certain that RSS will become a standard, like email addresses and websites are now a “must” for businesses. RSS feeds will join their ranks.

About the Author:
Jerry Holliday heads a collaboration of UK based specialist freelance designers Code 9 Design

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