Martina Z @ Adverblog recently posted her take on RSS and it's impact on marketing , and I have to say, I agree with her 100%. Further, her stance reinforces what everyone's been fighting me on since I published an article on RSS - It's just more crap that you have to install, and your average user is NOT going to install more shit, setup more profiles on more websites that they'll forget to visit, blah. You get the drill.
You can't tell me that you welcome yet more information sources to get more information... We do, we're geeks, the general public (your customers) do not want RSS, per se. I said this way back in July in a conversation w/ J. Angel (follow the entended entry link for the context of that discussion)
You raise some extremely important points, and I'd like to share your question with others via my newsletter or my blog (let me know if I may quote you, or just cite you as an anonymous questioner!). I frankly think that corporate IT departments will not do much of anything about RSS for at least a year, thanks to ignorance and inertia.
**By all means, use my comments/name/whatever - I'd love to see this topic aired out a bit further. I get at least one newsletter a week preaching how great blogs are for business, but precious few are coming through with advice, ideas or case studies on HOW TO GET IT DONE in a large corporation, or any size company for that matter.**
Let's be frank: How often have your worked for a company that had a really outstanding, proactive IT department, and pushes the edge of how technology can make their business more efficient? They're not common. I speak as one who personally purchased and brought in the first ever IBM PC that the corporation I worked for had ever owned. Fresh out of school, I wound up being called into the boardroom to help explain why it was better than a dedicated word processor and how it might become a standard. So I know how difficult it is for the enterprise to change.
**Point taken, however, we are rather forward thinking, insofar as it pertains to our salesforce of 200+, in that we are moving quickly toward a web services environment and envision offering everything from order status info to communication with your SFA contact database via the cell phone (or whatever device you happen to fancy) That being said, I think blogging/RSS, as well as some other familar technologies like using the web, purchasing online, and sales force automation (SFA) are issues of culture and politics, sometimes more than technology.**
If your target customer is within the enterprise, therefore, that limits the reach of RSS, though it does not shut it out. In every company there are people, some people, using RSS because they want to get more out of their day and use their time more efficiently -- just like the first people who were using electronic spreadsheets while others scoffed at them. Absent the technology being in their e-mail clients, they're accessing RSS via Web sites that do the aggregation and can present the results in a Web browser, or they're downloading the free "personal editions" of RSS readers, figuring (just as all those early Netscape users did) they'll install it on their work machine no matter what IT says.
**Yes, but from a technology perspective, many enterprise clients are locking down machines to the point where installation by the end user is prohibited. Ours is one such company. Hence, corporate IT support is a must, unless the RSS reader/client is a plugin like Flash or Shockwave.**
As I've written, AOL users will be equipped to create their own RSS feeds automatically, even via Instant Messenger, later this year. It follows that RSS is going to be built into AOL Version 10 for sure. And at that point, even if Microsoft hasn't yet put RSS into Outlook, its hand will be forced. RSS will be integral in one way or another to "Longhorn," the next major release of Windows -- OR, at worst, Microsoft will create some proprietary superset of the specification. Either way, this is going to be as key as HTML was.
**Interesting potential here, but it still puts widespread RSS accessability a few years away...just like it took many companies years to offer every employee access to the Internet.**
I haven't checked to see what your business is, but if your company is marketing just to the average Joe and not to computer/Internet enthusiasts, you can certainly afford to wait on this. Unlike companies such as CNET or Wired Magazine, you don't need to live on the bleeding edge to appeal to your customers, and as we know the first people to do technological innovations are not necessarily the ones to make the big profit from them.
**I believe we can wait. However, I see huge *internal* potential for RSS. ("publishing" info/content/product updates to our company and field sales reps)**
I happen to live in a town where the local weekly newspaper was truly the first ever to put all its content on the Web. But are its publishers internationally famous and rich? No -- they're still doing what they wanted to do in the first place, nothing more and nothing less.
Journalists, control-evading lefties that they are, certainly are installing RSS readers on their machines right and left So there's a particular case for making, and publicizing, RSS feeds that point to your press releases. But other types of RSS feed? It all depends ...
**Just read an article on this! I'm in favor of doing this and am already pushing for it. More to the point, if some of the major trade magazines in our industry were to clue into this, we'd have an intravenous feed into their 'mailboxes'. **
In any case, I can assure you that adding RSS feeds would be a trivial matter for your Webmaster. If I as an educated novice -- I wrote a couple of books on HTML, back when people used to do that stuff by hand, but I'm no programmer -- can get Perl scripts working that automatically create RSS entries when I post new entries to my site, I'm sure that people who are paid to know about this stuff could implement the same thing in a couple of hours.
**Excellent "conversation". Thanks for corresponding!!!**
Dana VanDen Heuvel
Director, Sales Technology & Web Marketing
At 08:26 AM 7/23/2003, you wrote:
Do you know of any stats that exist to support the adoption rate of RSS
feeds into their email boxes via such tools as NewsGators, etc? The
primary reason that I'm not migrated my company's e-news (press releases
and newsletters) to RSS is that none of our user base even knows what the
hell do with an RSS feed yet. Moreover, what are the implications on
corporate IT depts who are struggling to cut costs, say nothing for
implementing new technology in everyone's email client?
Dana VanDen Heuvel
Director, Sales Technology & Web Marketing
Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: INSIDER PASS -- Jon Angel's Influence Review
July 18, 2003
Jon Angel's INFLUENCE REVIEW
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WHAT THE HECK -- GOOD NEWS?!
by Jonathan Angel
Posted by Dana VanDen Heuvel at November 24, 2003 05:36 PM
I have good news this week. Readers of my web log will know that I was
concerned about fragmentation of the RSS
specification -- just at a time when "civilians" like you and me have
gotten excited about it and publishers have started using it. But earlier
this week, Dave Winer -- whom some people apparently consider hard to work
with, but has nonetheless been the main guiding light behind moving RSS
forward --contributed the RSS 2.0 specification to a nonprofit center run
out of the Harvard Law School.
This is an extremely positive development that will give people more faith
in moving forward with RSS content. I did cringe a little because the
headline of the CNET story refers to RSS as a blog tool.
That's not wrong, of course, but it's so much more -- for publishers,
marketers, advertisers, newsletter publishers. (Anyone out there know of a
tool for automatically "scraping" Web sites -- Technology Marketing, for
instance -- whose masters don't provide RSS feeds on their own? If so, I
like to hear of it; send me a copy and I'll write about it.)
There's plenty of news on the blogging front, though. For example, Howard
Dean will become the first -- but undoubtedly not the last -- Presidential
candidate to have a blog. This happened via his taking over as ""guest
blogger" for Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig. There wasn't any big
coverage of this that I could find, except in the Washington Post.
More important, AOL has announced plans to bring blogs -- rechristened AOL
Journals -- to all of its users. (See the Washington Post coverage.) Users
will be able to post entries via a form, via Instant Messenger,
or -- in MP3 audio format -- via telephone. And, of course, RSS feeds will
be automatically generated.
I've predicted before that RSS would change publishing -- and it will.
Now, it's also going to change how millions of Americans communicate with
one another. Is your marketing organization actively producing an RSS
feed? If not, why not? I'd like to hear from you about why your company is
so arteriosclerotic that it can't outrun a granny with an AOL account.
Via Dan Gilmor's Web log, I found out about Google Alert
(www.googlealert.com/), a service that lets you take Web searches you perform
turn them into an RSS feed. Want to track what people are saying about
your product or client? Here's a new way.
RSS feeds bring users precisely the information they're looking for --
right to their desktop. We're going to see more and more Webmasters
creating feeds as a way to pull users to their Web sites. But we're also
going to see more examples like Google Alert and others I've cited in the
past (feeds that monitor new releases on Amazon or eBay auctions, for
With no official connection to Amazon, Google or eBay, these third-party
feeds generate links that take users deep within a Web site, bypassing its
home page. Will anyone at these companies object? Most likely not -- since
they get financial reward when the user completes a transaction.
But as we discussed last week, some publishers -- however unwisely -- are
control freaks who do object to deep links. I stated my position then, and
I'll state it again: Linking is the principle that the Web was built on,
and for that matter vitally important to democracy.
E-mails from you have so far been 100 percent supportive (as if deep
linking even needed defending, for heaven's sake!). I think that's good
news, though I still haven't heard anything from "Company A" regarding
Is an executive with one of IT's most venerable publishing companies
really on the warpath against linking? And what would happen to that
company's public image if such a position were leaked to, say, Slashdot?
As noted, that company's own editorial staff is deep into RSS and other
cutting-edge Web practices.