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The Future of RSS is Not Blogs 189

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-sick-of-blogs dept.
notepage writes "Blogs vaulted RSS into the limelight but are unlikely to be the force that sustains RSS as a communication medium. The biggest opportunities for RSS are not in the blogosphere but as a corporate communication channel. Even now, businesses that were initially reluctantly evaluating RSS are beginning to realize the power and benefit of the RSS information avenue. The inherent capacity for consumers to select the content they wish to receive will be the driving mechanism for keeping advertisements to a minimum and content quality consistent."
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The Future of RSS is Not Blogs

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  • Advertising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:16AM (#13113660)
    > The inherent capacity for consumers to select the content they wish to receive
    > will be the driving mechanism for keeping advertisements to a minimum and
    > content quality consistent."

    You sure? Between RSS feeds and Firefox's Adblock plug in I hardly see any adverts these days! Having said that, I'd like some way of having Firefox automatically select the `printer happy` version of a story, as they're entirely free of ads most of the time.
    • Yes. You're using RSS and an RSS Feed reader to avoid as many adverts as you can, and increase the amount of interesting, informative content you see. This is exactly what the quote meant.
    • I'd like some way of having Firefox automatically select the `printer happy` version of a story, as they're entirely free of ads most of the time.

      Get Greasemonkey extension. Then, find the extension for it that does this--Its called Friend-of-Print-Friendly v1.3. At least thats what I have. Bam... Just what you asked for. Sorry I'm too lazy to find the links for you. Google is your friend.

  • keep advertising to a minimum? I think not. The best we can hope for is far more targetted ads...

    • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:28AM (#13113770)
      keep advertising to a minimum? I think not. The best we can hope for is far more targetted ads...

      You say that with resignation, like it's a bad thing. Would you rather that the people who actually produce all of the content that everyone wants have no way to cover the costs of their efforts, obtain health insurance, or go on a vacation once in a while? Everyone seems to want some ad-free, subscription-free paradise where they get all in the info and entertainment they could ever want, packaged up just for them, at no cost. It's not just that it's unrealistic, it's that it suggests a serious disconnect between the people that consume things and the realities of producing/distributing what they consume, and what it takes to allow talented, dedicated people to dedicate their waking hours to creating it. Targeted ads are probably one of the very best approaches to keeping the content producers happily producing without everything being subscription-based and/or DRMed past some threshold of pain. And the more targeted, the more likely it is to be the ideal mix for everyone involved.
      • I'd rather have targeted ads than scattershot, as well. The biggest consideration, however, is how much information I'm giving up in order to be "targeted". Something as simple as a "thumbs up/down" on ads or (more likely usable) content might provide a good model.
      • You are touching on some deep economics concepts here, and I can't say that I have a full understanding (who does anyway) of it, but here are some thoughts.

        You correctly point out that without customers for a product or service, those that are providing that product or service won't have enough revenue for the things they want. Now, which is better for society: to institute advertising to convince people to become customers, or to use marketing to find out what types of products or services will gain you c

        • I basically throw out every circular I get in the mail - I'm talking print material that I get at least 4 out of the 6 days mail comes in a week. In my mind, this is a great waste of paper and energy to produce, as those circulars will not get me to buy any more than I would have without them (they might, at best, get me to purchase a certain brand over another with a coupon - if I were already planning on making a purchase).

          You make an interesting point, but your perspective is that of a singular entity -

      • "Everyone seems to want some ad-free, subscription-free paradise where they get all in the info and entertainment they could ever want, packaged up just for them, at no cost."

        Hmmm....much like the internet was back when I got on it...sometime about 1993?

        I was sitting the other day, trying to remember when it was exactly, that I saw my first ad on a website....

        • Hmmm....much like the internet was back when I got on it...sometime about 1993?

          But that's my whole point. It wasn't free then, either. It was just other people paying for your use of their systems. That was before the huge audiences started costing content providers so much money that they couldn't run their sites without some cashflow. Even modest sites were being run off of other budgets, and it took a while for the people who owned the servers and the bandwidth to realize that being charitable was eat
  • by DanielMarkham (765899) * on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:17AM (#13113668) Homepage
    This is the old "push versus pull" marketing discussion. Are people tired of push communications, where their email inboxes fill up with garbage? Absolutely. But the real question is how to enact a "pull" distribution system that also sells stuff. The author seems to make the point for directly replacing newsletters and other corporate communications with RSS feeds. sounds good, but I don't think it's the complete picture. The basic problem is one of personality -- most corporate communications are about as personable as a TV commercial. Impersonal works great when you're mass-distributing the message, but from a pull standpoint I think the format and method of content creation will need to change, not just the technology. My two cents.

    Robot Soccer Champions by 2050? [whattofix.com]
  • I've noticed that a lot of RSS providers, Slashdot included, already put lots of Ads into their RSS feeds.

    I use Firefox with AdBlock for browsing and Thunderbird for RSS viewing, which hosts the pages. Has anybody successfully blocked ads with Thunderbird using a plugin?
    • I'm wondering if what is meant by the article is that RSS feeds will allow marginally interested potential consumers to easily keep track of product updates, costs, and evolutionary cycles for products.

      Interested in DAPs? Subscribe to an aggregate feed that links to the corporate blogs of the top ten DAP producers and google through them for information pertinent to you. It's unobtrusive advertising always available to you. That way, big companies can avoid spamming, which they currently do, and the compan
    • Has anybody successfully blocked ads with Thunderbird using a plugin?

      Right, because for God's sake, we wouldn't want the people producing the material you're consuming to actually cover their overhead or (gasp!) see their pursuit as a way of actually improving their lifestyle or anything Evil like that. It's completely reasonable for a distributor of free (to you) material to look to inline ads as way of offsetting their costs. Yeah, it's text. But bandwidth still isn't free (nor is office space, employe
      • Just because I don't look at them doesn't mean I don't download them. I have AdBlock set that way.
      • Re:Ad blocking? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThosLives (686517) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @12:14PM (#13114168) Journal
        Free markets would balance this out; advertising makes it not a free market. Here's why:

        If the [content providers] did not get revenue from advertising, if I didn't pay the [content providers] they would have to stop producing it so I would lose the use of the [content]. If I didn't value this [content] in the first place, as indicated by me not paying, I can't complain that it went away. If, however, I want it to stay, I should be willing to pay for it directly, not indirectly through "advertising tax".

        Now, with advertising, who are [content providers] really serving? In a round-about way they are providing [content] to people, but if they lost advertising [revenue] they'd go out of business. So, in reality, these [content providers] are simply subcontracted advertisers, using [content] to get people to view ads. This is a disturbing business model, not because it doesn't work but because it allows people to get the idea that things are free. It's a great ruse by the Big Companies to have you pay to [see stuff] you want (the [content]) through a middle man (the Big Companies) while they (the middle men) take out a cut. It would be far more economically efficient to simply pay the [content provider] in the first place and cut out the middle man.

        Note that I don't think the above discussion applies to informational websites by Big Companies about their own products; it is understood that part of their product or service is making you known about it. Now, if I went to, say, Intel's website to look up reference information for a chipset and had to see or block or whatever advertisements for Pepsi, I would seriously wonder about what is going on at Intel's web department.

        • So, in reality, these [content providers] are simply subcontracted advertisers, using [content] to get people to view ads.

          No, in reality, they're choosing one of several revenue options. It's more appropriate to say that the publishers are working for their audience, and finding a way to fund the publishing of the material the audience wants to see. If they don't produce content the audience wants, there is no opportunity for revenue (because there are no eye
          • [oops - cont'd]: ...no eyeballs or actions on the ads. You don't work for the audience, nothing works.

            This is a disturbing business model, not because it doesn't work but because it allows people to get the idea that things are free.

            Then it should have been disturbing for a couple hundred years or so. You may pay a quarter for some newspapers, but no one thinks in only costs a quarter to produce it (or shouldn't). Regardless, the problem here isn't the bloggers (or whoever is running the ads), it's th
  • by Woodie (8139) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:20AM (#13113712) Homepage
    Wow -

    I guess it's true, pop will eat itself. Remember when "push" internet was all the rage? Well, we all knew it wasn't really "push" at all, more like a periodic polling of "channels" of information. For a while there, Internet Explorer had a "channel subscription" feature. And there were all sorts of silly little news-ticker applets you could download and install, and then configure to pull various topics to you.

    Hey wow look! It's a brand new wheel! It's round like the old one, and goes round and round like the old one.
    • It's funny, thinking back to when I first used Win98 and saw all of that useless crap come up on my Active Desktop.

      Here we are in 2005, and I'm subscribed to 25 news feeds :)
    • This shows that sometimes, a hyped name and a lot of marketing and media attention actually hurts a technology.
    • Hey wow look! It's a brand new wheel! It's round like the old one, and goes round and round like the old one.

      Actually by your very argument, this comment is irrelevant. The "don't re-invent the wheel" argument works in situations where you already had a perfectly valid, working solution. But you're arguing that the original push concept sucked. Therefore it does indeed deserve to be reinvented, if possible, in a better way.

      Very rarely is any specific technology so revolutionary that it brings with it

    • I don't understand. Did "push" allow for people to chose which part of a subscription to use or not use?

      I think the problem with push was that it wasn't open, and seemed to be designed to force information and commercial interest to users, rather than giving letting users chose what to take. The RSS system seems to be a lot more open and truly designed to benefit the user from the user's perspective rather than from the perspective that is pro-commercial content producers. The basic idea may be the same
    • The difference is that I have Snownews installed on my OpenBSD box. I am now able to, in a few minuts and in a format that I really like, get my news from just about anyplace on the planet.

      It makes getting news in 5 minutes at a kiosk in Narita or Changi dead easy and much faster than looking at the sites in question.

      That and last I looked you could not do fun things like this [xml.com] with the old push stuff either.

      So yeah it may be a similar idea but the big difference is that this time implemantions don't suc
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:21AM (#13113722) Homepage Journal
    RSS is purely one-way communication. It's like that locked newsboard in the cafeteria and quite unlike the refrigerator with magnets.

    RSS will work for announcements - which is what it's being used for. Mainly news, notifications and other random communication. Or more correctly content distribution via a pull model. You can rest assured that RSS along will not create a community like the blogosphere. It needed readers and commentors to make it work. See slashdot for example - I read it purely for the comments (like that old playboy T Shirt).

    Stuff like RssTorrents or Yahoo maps using GeoRss. Face it people, RSS could be the usenet of the modern world - but there's a catch - you can't post !!.
    • That's solved the same as elsewhere - with a web front-end. A coupled RSS-feed and web-front would be a fine way to run a nice hybrid between a web-forum and an IRC chat. You'd get Fark threads from hell.
    • That's the point. I think they plan on using RSS for blogs. You'll RSS corporate blogs to establish relationships with individuals representing corporations and the corporations themselves.

      It will be a blogosphere, but a corporate to consumer paradigm as opposed to a gazillion long term bloggers.

      Point to note, many early adopter bloggers I know of no longer blog.

      corporations can blog forever. they need to innovate to stay pertinent, so as long as the company is viable, so is its blog.
    • Or more correctly content distribution via a pull model.

      I think that the recent fad of podcasting has tapped into an important avenue of RSS technology which I believe will become more important than simple blogs: Media content distribution. New technologies like BitTorrent make moving large files easier than every. When added to the automated process of RSS, and you have a very easy method for mass distribution of media. So podcasting is the first wave, but I believe we will see RSS feeds for ER and Da

  • As RSS has risen in prominence, the only thing I have been able to think of is how hard the folks behind the defunct "push" company PointCast must be kicking themselves.
  • wrong assumption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:22AM (#13113729)
    The inherent capacity for consumers to select the content they wish to receive will be the driving mechanism for keeping advertisements to a minimum and content quality consistent.

    Except that this is the opposite of what most media-driven corporations are about. They want you to see ALL the ads, to the point where they want to make it illegal to skip over them.

    Typically, they don't care so much about the QUALITY of the content, but its CONSISTENCY. Any decent webfarm can do that.

    Look at Coca-Cola or Pepsi or Sony. They want to bombard you with ads, over and over again, forever. They're not going to allow you to select only the ads with the hot chicks, or turn ads off after 9pm.
    • They're not going to allow you to select only the ads with the hot chicks, or turn ads off after 9pm

      Sure they are (they don't really have a choice)! Just don't patronize blogs or other free resources that support ad models you don't like (like overpowering Pepsi placement, or similar). There - they're turned off. The ol' invisible hand will find the sweet spot, and feedback to content providers telling them that they're 10% more ads away from losing their audience will definately alter their cost/benefit
    • "They're not going to allow you to select only the ads with the hot chicks, or turn ads off after 9pm."

      Sure they will. In exchange for your permission to be exposed to advertising that is relevant, and your attention to it, smart marketers will reach you in the way you want to be reached. A single informative car ad the moment before you go out to shop for cars is worth more to the marketer than the past 500 ads they paid to run past everyone hoping for that moment of influence.
  • You can use RSS as a communication medium within blogs. For example, I likely don't care about every blog entry posted by a certain user [vobbo.com], but I may care about those that involve their new baby:

    http://www.vobbo.com/feeds/search/tristen/rss.xml [vobbo.com]

    By incorporating some intelligent thought into the XML generation process (in this case, arbitrary/dynamic feeds based on URL), you can get the great communication tool out of the blogging systems, too.
  • Why would media and advertising want people to choose their content? Don't they want to tell us what they want us to see? This doesn't seem to mesh with their game plan.
  • by WombatControl (74685) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:25AM (#13113754)

    Something about this reminds me of the bad old days of Active Desktop and Netcaster, "push" technologies that were supposed to revolutionize the way people worked on the Internet - and quickly faded into obscurity.

    Corporate RSS can work, but it needs to be less annoying than push technologies were. The problem is that once RSS gets integrated into Longhorn everyone and the dog will use it just like "push" technologies - "pushing" annoying ads into everyone's faces and "pushing" the signal to noise ratio down into nothingness.

    • why is this insightfull. If a feed is full of noise/ads that it annoys you, wouldn't you unsubscribe? This is just complaining for complaining's sake.
    • So don't subscribe!

      I subscribe to around 50 different feeds, ranging from comics to news, and nobody made me sign up to any of them! If they stop being interesting, or start pushing obtrusive ads I'll drop them like any other information resource I don't want.
  • RSS is the new spam.
    • by scrotch (605605) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:51AM (#13113960)
      I agree. But it won't last.

      With email spam, a business has your email address (think large opt-in companies rather than viagra selling spam worms). They can potentially use your email address to find out more about you - where you live, what you earn, and other demographic information. That lets them target ads to you. You get ads more likely to make you act the way they want you to.

      With RSS feeds, they know nothing about you (except an IP address at best). They can't target you. They don't know who they are. If you don't come back to the feed because you drop your subscription, they don't know why... Actually, they don't even know that. They don't know what the turnover is. They have no way of gauging the effectiveness of the feed. They can tell how often it's accessed, but there's little to no accurate way they can tell what drives sales.

      You can do that with email, just as you can with physical mail. You send one version to half of your accounts, and another version to the other half. Watch your sales and see who buys more.

      Does anyone think big business will buy in to a model with no feedback for the long term?
      • The answer is simple. Create an rss reader that first authenticates your membership so you can receive the feed.

        That way, you get demographic information, possibly subscriptions and possibly some tracking mechanism for feed traffic.

        Right now, rss feeds are open. How long will that last?
      • They can use a redirector or parameter to tell how many hits on the URL are from RSS, like the ?from=rss slashdot uses. Then have the server use a straightforward tracking cookie or link it to that person's existing one, and voila (sp?).
      • This is a good point. Despite all of the talk of "push" technology RSS isn't really pushed. It's an automated pull technology. When you "subscribe" to an RSS feed the only thing you are really doing is telling your application (the RSS reader or aggregator) to go to a specific URL and download the XML content that can be found there.

        In other words your subscription to an RSS feed is roughly analogous to bookmarking a popular web page.

        There are, of course, mechanism where attributes of the RSS feed can
      • You can do that with email, just as you can with physical mail. You send one version to half of your accounts, and another version to the other half. Watch your sales and see who buys more.

        Close, except for the volumes. As long as both samples are large enough to give statistically significant results, you don't need to do half and half.

        Typically, you'd have an existing champion ad, and produce a variation in one (and only one) element of targeting, timing or content (etc) (and note that content i

      • I think you're missing something. The way that companies can make RSS work for their customers is to provide customizable RSS feeds based on user-specified criteria. That way, for example, somebody could receive a customized RSS feed from Lands' End when new XL blue sweaters are released. Netflix could notify you when sci-fi movies originally released between 1978 and 1980 become available. You can't get any more customized than that! I think it would be great to be notified when products that match my
  • RSS for advertising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scrotch (605605) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:31AM (#13113795)

    So, the author (who sells RSS software) suggests that companies create PR/advertising feeds and that people will sign up for them? Interesting. Not very different from email lists except that customers could actually unsubscribe. Great for the customers, and legit opt-in businesses stop looking like spammers. I don't think I'll be signing up for them, but I'm sure someone will want to subscribe to Best Buy's marketing list.

    But that's totally different than most blogs. Blogs are about self-publishing for people that don't create full websites. They're not for advertising a business unless the business can't afford a cheap webmaster.

    Blogs as content sources and RSS as advertising feeds have totally different purposes. One won't replace the other, because they don't do the same thing.

    And RSS won't help content publishers (like many bloggers and newspapers) because it circumvents advertising. Great for the customer, bad for the revenue stream. Unless you build so much trust and traffic through RSS that you get more traffic to your website. But how do you advertise the RSS feed to people that don't visit your website?

    Personally, I don't see RSS being that revolutionary. But then I'm not selling it.

    End rambling.
    • And RSS won't help content publishers (like many bloggers and newspapers) because it circumvents advertising.

      RSS does not circumvent advertising, it's easy to drop an ad in an RSS feed. What you meant to say, I think, was that blogging circumvents advertising. Which has nothing to do with RSS as a delivery mechanism and everything to do with the ideology of the "it's my voice and I won't let it appear to be biased" authors.

      Imagine, for a moment, the perfect ad targeted to the perfect audience. There's

      • -- And RSS won't help content publishers (like many bloggers and newspapers) because it circumvents advertising.

        RSS does not circumvent advertising, it's easy to drop an ad in an RSS feed. What you meant to say, I think, was that blogging circumvents advertising. Which has nothing to do with RSS as a delivery mechanism and everything to do with the ideology of the "it's my voice and I won't let it appear to be biased" authors.

        Actually, what I meant is that RSS is used to circumvent advertising. If you

        • "Right now RSS is a delivery mechanism for content and not advertising."

          Advertising is content. It can be delivered through RSS just like the rest of the content you want. Smart RSS advertising will be narrowly targeted and unobtrusive. Blogs are a great medium for this because they themselves are narrowly targeted and have more actively engaged viewers than other forms of traditional media.

          "You can scan so much content because you don't have to filter out advertisements, images, differing layouts, e
          • Advertising is content.

            I work in the publishing industry and around here, advertising is definitely NOT content. Advertising piggybacks on content (news stories, editorial, etc.) to reach viewers in exchange for money because viewers wouldn't bother with it otherwise.

            But what we call it is beside the point. If your RSS feed fills up with stuff you don't want to read, you're going to drop it. And then neither the feed nor the advertiser are going to be successful. Imagine if the ads on your favorite blo

        • Actually, what I meant is that RSS is used to circumvent advertising. If you are able to watch 50x more sites with RSS than the web, that's because you're just looking at content. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, cause I only look at a couple of feeds. Right now RSS is a delivery mechanism for content and not advertising. You can scan so much content because you don't have to filter out advertisements, images, differing layouts, etc.

          Well, certainly half right - the bit about the differing layouts and stuff

          • Please forgive me for not answering each of your questions. The line between advertising and content is getting blurrier and blurrier. I consider any element that is paid for (in cash or trade) an advertisement.

            But more importantly:
            Are you arguing against the concept of advertising, or about the obtrusiveness of the presentation?

            I am NOT arguing against advertising. My company relies on it. I would like it to be as clearly distinguished from unpaid content as possible, but I know that ain't happening

      • Companies can used personalized RSS to their advantage.

        I should be able to go to widgetco.com and sign up for information about my widget200.

        It can provide general information supporting my widget, let me know of any recalls, inform me that it's about to be out of warranty, let me know that a guiness would go great with my widget.

        If it's fine tuned to my tastes then i'd have an RSS for every widget in my house.
        • If it's fine tuned to my tastes then i'd have an RSS for every widget in my house.

          Amen to that. I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere I saw the idea of those warranty registration cards you get with every new device you buy behaving like RSS feeds. That way you could get a notice when your warranty expires, or a product recall is in effect, etc... Once again, sure, you can get that stuff with email or snail mail, but you're in better control with an RSS feed because you can opt not to look ins

  • ISP, News, and more. (Score:3, Informative)

    by barik (160226) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:31AM (#13113798) Homepage
    RSS can be quite useful for IT and other administrative notifications. My ISP, Pair [pair.com], for example, uses RSS maintenance feeds [pair.com] to notify customers about about outages, maintenance, or other known problems.

    RSS is serving as a vehicle for other communication mediums as well, like mailing lists and newsgroups. Gmane [gmane.org], another service that I use quite frequently, provides RSS feeds for their technical newsgroups.

    And finally, RSS is already used by most major news agencies, such as Yahoo, the BBC [bbc.co.uk], New Scientist, New York Times, and so on.
    • "My ISP, Pair , for example, uses RSS maintenance feeds to notify customers about about outages, maintenance, or other known problems."

      Your ISP uses RSS feeds to notify you of outages? That's a great idea. I think the power company should do the same thing.
  • by generic-man (33649) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:32AM (#13113802) Homepage Journal
    Coming up on Slashdot: noted blog pundits and blogebrities alike blog their blogs out about this news that the blogosphere might be bloginalized! Blogs everywhere rise up in blogtest against this antiblog corporate movement to co-blog-opt RSS!

    TrackBack (1)

    This comment TrackBacked by buy c1ali$ now
    buy c1ali$ now blogosphere
  • Biased What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vethia (900978)
    I'd be skeptical of the opinion of anyone who wrote an article to promote his or her own business. This article is published on a site that sells RSS feed creation services. The author is also the site's marketing director, as is clearly stated in her bio. The article is just one big ad for this site's product.
  • because some corporate RSS feed says it's good. If I skip ads with Tivo and use Firefox to block ad popups, why would I consciously read a corporate RSS feed (aka ad)?

    I read some corporate blogs, like Raymond Chen and Larry Osterman at MSFT, because it's very high quality information for free. It doesn't change my opinion of MSFT, which is pretty neutral to begin with, it just helps me understand Windows development...which helps me do my job.
  • by Scott Laird (2043) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:41AM (#13113887) Homepage
    Let's see--it's an article on how RSS is the future of business communication, hosted on a site that sells business RSS services, written by the site's owner, and submitted to Slashdot by the author.

    Then fed to me via Slashdot's RSS feed.

    Yep, that's the future of advertising via RSS if I ever saw it.
  • RSS subscription is one of the few techniques that can make people interested in subscribing to press releases or offer up enough order to the large amount of self-promotoion, spam, and junk mail that marketing departments churn out on a daily basis like used toilet paper.

    The only people interested in the scatter-shot "show me everything from this company's PR department" are the people who are absurdly interested in the company.

    • Zealots/Fanatics - For example, Apple fans (of which I'm probably one)
    • Inv
  • by analog_line (465182) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:47AM (#13113927)
    ...because that's really what RSS allows you to do, run your own newswire.

    It isn't a brand new medium in the least. What it does that is new, is make it easier for individuals to access "press releases" (in quotes, because with RSS and the like the press is rarely the target, the whole idea is customers reading this crap themselves) that previously only appeared on the various business PR newswire services.
  • And not only on other websites, but also on other devices.

    I think this too will be eventually be spoiled by "RSS Spam," with only a couple of news/information sites left after the dust clears.

    Of course this may be a viable communication tool for intra-corporate communication, being able to broadcast company "news" or other communications to employee/client computers, cellphones, blackberries, what-have-you.

  • by Mordant (138460) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:47AM (#13113932)
    for automated publish/subscribe models because it's an actual standard [ietf.org].
  • RSS is more hype (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Virtual Karma (862416) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:47AM (#13113934) Homepage
    RSS is more of a hype than anything else. What exactly do you understand by RSS? Its nothing but a structure that we have all agreed upon, to publish information. What makes it work is the acceptance. I can write code to extract information from a RSS document (basically XML) knowing that every RSS document will have the same structure. Now if instead of RSS it was some comma seperated file that we all accepted as the standard, my scripts will work in similar fashion. Instead of the title tag my script will look for the first value in each line. Instead of description tag my script will look for the second value in each line. So RSS is nothing more than a standard that we all have accepted.

    Please dont get me wrong. As the author of Newster.net [newster.net] (yeah yeah.. this is shameless advertising) I really appreciate the establishment of such a standard. The standard is what makes the site work. My point is that RSS is very simple and sweet, and should be perceived and interpreted that way. Its a standard and not rocket science...

    • Exactly. It's just like all the other standards out there. It's only as useful as what it was designed to be used for. ...oh wait.
    • RSS is more of a hype than anything else. What exactly do you understand by RSS? Its nothing but a structure that we have all agreed upon, to publish information.

      Kinda reminds me of the early days of the web. Remember all the hype surrounding HTML? RSS is relatively new & it's getting a lot of attention, hence, hype. I suspect that the "very simple and sweet" RSS standard will get more complicated just as soon as some folks discover they can make more money if only highly trained specialists can

    • Any standard would work, but a standard was needed. The great leap was the idea of introducing a simple standard for only sending headlines and summaries. Think about it for a second. In the current world of ever "richer" web media content, what would be the first thing on someone introducing a complementary protocol's mind. Probably how to get flash working on it. It was a real insight that having a one liner and a URL for more is a very useful thing to do, most people would think such things are so trivia
  • Audio RSS Browser (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anthm (894202) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @11:48AM (#13113935) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of RSS, I just made a voice RSS Browser yesterday. The source code is available to download and the program will let you turn just about any RSS feed into an IVR in less than a minute. http://www.pbxfreeware.org/ [pbxfreeware.org]
  • Seeing as he pushed story after story relating to blogs
    Don't believe me? Look for the magic word in the following stories or their links
    One [slashdot.org]
    Two [slashdot.org]
    Three [slashdot.org]
    Four [slashdot.org]
    Five [slashdot.org]
    Six [slashdot.org]
    Seven [slashdot.org]
    Eight [slashdot.org]
    Nine [slashdot.org]
    Ten [slashdot.org]
    Eleven [slashdot.org]
    Twelve [slashdot.org]

    There's probably more but I haven't figured out how to get my own complete listing of comments yet so this'll have to do for now
  • RSS is convenient for keeping track of news, but you'd think that these companies found a solution for Cold Fusion (nuclear physics, not the app server) with the way they tout it. Come on people, it's a XML stream that's updated with a little bit of programming/scripting magic, not something radical and new.
  • '"Coolness" often wears off if a channel is not monetized.'

    Oh yeah? Or is it that if a thing really is "cool", it gets monetized (people get other people to pay for it), and things whose coolness wears off can't be monetized? Correlation is not causality, and it's a mistake to think that money is necessary for coolness. It's the other way around.
  • It seems that RSS is just "push" technology souped up and much more elegant (and open) than any of the other implementations made in the mid/late 90s. I would expect that more top-down organizations like big corporations would adopt this technology.
  • by dmorin (25609) <dmorinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @01:14PM (#13114836) Homepage Journal
    Actually I'm far more impressed with the usefulness of RSS monitoring feeds for ebay, amazon, Fedex, etc... then I've ever been with news headlines. I see the logical leap (maybe not the next, but in the very near future) as getting us that much close to the concept of the personal agent who can monitor the state of various information sources and do our bidding.

    Bear with me a second. There's already a movement underway to create "structured blogging" (which really needs a better name), and Microsoft already has a similar concept, where you attempt to state up front what is in an RSS item. So say that you're watching new movie releases at your local cinema, then you would be able to tell that each item might have title, stars, description, rating, and show times. It's really not hard to make that leap, it's the same argument people make now for the "Semantic Web" (and hopefully will be adopted quicker as we learn our lessons :)).

    Great, so now I'm in a position to have a piece of software on my machine that is watching that feed for new movie releases. It sees that a new Shakespeare movie is opening this weekend, so it alerts me on my cell phone to this fact and asks for permission to go ahead and buy the tickets. Or maybe, if I have a properly enabled phone, it sends me a link where I can do it for myself. Like I said, this isn't going to happen tomorrow, but there's nothing technically stopping it.

    Or how about a froogle watcher that keeps track of the average price on item X, and then knows that when it spots somebody offering more than 30% off that price, it goes ahead and buys it (again, or alerts me so I can do it). Even better, it spots it cheap, buys it and then immediately puts it up on ebay at a profit for automatic flipping.

    Or a weather agent that sees, at 3am, that the hurricane has changed direction and is now headed straight for my hometown, so when I wake up at 7am there's a message waiting for me that maybe I should cancel my golf game.

    Or a traffic monitoring agent that sees a truck has rolled over on Rt93 south, and tells my alarm clock to wake me up half an hour earlier so that I can take the backroads.

    Is there anything special about RSS that enables any of what I just said? Nah, not really. It's more about the notion of polling information feeds and being able to automatically act on them. There's nothing new under the sun there. The question has always been one of technological adoption. You can't create the perfect technology and then tell the world "Why won't you use it!?! Use it now!" It has to prove itself, and grow over time. So if it takes going from blogs to RSS to Structured RSS to Smart Agents, I can wait.

  • Okay, color me easily irritated, but read the bottom of the article:

    Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com/ [feedforall.com] software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net/ [notepage.net] a wireless text messaging software company

    So, as nearly as I can tell, the marketing director for a company called Feed For All, who in the past has posted exactly one comment [slashdot.org] on Slashdot, writes an article for the compan

  • We're looking at using it on an electronic medical record (in mental health). For every client (50000+) that is a patient of a staff (1000+), they get an RSS chart feed. Events are filterable by type and access restrictions. Now there's no more whining, "I didn't know you did that with that patient."

    RSS Rocks!

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw

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