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Long Live RSS, Indeed.

December 4, 2010

Let’s take a break from cutting edge Social Media marketing and return to the workhorse of “off-web-site marketing,” RSS. Why? Because of the avalanche of positive press about RSS this week. Yes, internet influencers are saying nice things again about RSS.


Yesterday, John Battelle, who never writes enough, wrote on his addiction to RSS. He suggested RSS was “professionalizing. It’s the Beta to the VHS of Twitter. Higher quality, better signal, but more expensive in terms of time, and used only by folks ‘in the industry.’”


Twitter vs. Facebook vs. RSS issues do not matter much to SimpleFeed – we are a major publisher in all three mediums. But I am not sure that analogy works. We don’t view Twitter/Facebook/ RSS as redundant technologies. Obviously, Twitter and Facebook are superior social technologies, but the ephemeral nature and limited content of social mediums make them poor choices for information vital to your life and/or career. If you want to track information deeply, RSS cannot be beat. Perhaps a better analogy is books vs. television.


Anyway, Battelle’s post garnered the second highest number of comments ever on Searchblog. That is almost hard to believe given the high profile topics he discusses. So not surprisingly, he is back today with a much longer piece on RSS. While he lauds RSS’s unique benefits and discusses FM’s use of RSS, he laments it poor advertising monetization. I would suggest he is monetizing his RSS Readers effectively through events, and lead generation to FM. Just like SimpleFeed customers monetize through social and web site sales and lead generation.


Another delight this week is Om’s post “Flipboard: Future is HTML5, RSS & New New Advertising” which exploded on to Techmeme. In the post. Om speculates that “It’s not hard to imagine Flipboard showing content from Google Reader” and  Flipboard CEO Mike McCue says “Flipboard wants to make it easy for folks to consume RSS-based content, but offer it in a manner that mainstream users will find palatable.”


This statement lead to screams of delight throughout the halls of SimpleFeed as usability is the biggest impediment to RSS usage by consumers. Further, we view the iPad as the big content consumption growth story of 2011 with Flipboard leading the way. In fact, we are such fans of Flipboard that we are working with some of our customers to optimize their content publishing for Flipboard.

But that is a topic for a future post.


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