RSS – no it’s not the same as RSI – seems to stand for Really Simple Syndication, but originally the acronym stood for Rich Site Summary.
If you’ve been around the internet you can’t have avoided seeing this orange RSS symbol. You’ll have seen it on blogs and news sites – probably anywhere information is being regularly changed and updated.
So what’s it about? Well it’s been around since the turn of the century – sounds ancient doesn’t it? But it is a brilliant way of keeping up to date with all those news sites and blogs that you like to follow – whether for personal interest or business. Instead of going to each of the sites in turn to see if anything new is happening or receiving a load of emails telling you about the latest blog posts – you get all the latest items coming to you automatically. This makes it much more convenient and a great time-saver. And it doesn’t involve giving away your email address – so no chance of your details being sold on or receiving unwanted sales pitches.
In order to use RSS you need an RSS reader or aggregator. There are a number available; some of the most popular are My Yahoo! and Bloglines. When you find a site you would like to get all the updates from, you just subscribe to that site by clicking on the RSS symbol. Once you have added the subscription to your RSS reader you will always have the latest news and blogposts at your fingertips.
So if it is such a fantastic service why has Google canned their own RSS reader – Google Reader? Perhaps it is a bad call on their part, but they say that the number of users has declined and they are concentrating their resources elsewhere.
Looking around the net it would seem that there have been other instances of companies pulling back from RSS. LinkedIn used to have the facility of picking up the RSS feed from your company blog and publishing it to your LinkedIn company page but this is no longer supported. Indeed, if you are looking for ways of using RSS in your marketing strategy you may find your options limited. It’s still a great feature to have on your website so that you can pick up individual subscribers but as a means of syndicating your material to other sites? I would be interested to hear of any sites you currently syndicate your material to through RSS – please add your comments below.
Perhaps the problem with RSS is it puts the customer too much in control – whether the customer is an individual who didn’t have to give out their personal details in order to get the latest news from site X or whether it is a small business trying to market themselves in an efficient and economic manner without recourse to expensive marketing packages.
It’s a brilliant service but it would seem that there just isn’t enough money in it!