From RSS To My Media

    December 15, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

So far only 4 percent of those polled say they use RSS (really simple syndication). Yahoo Senior Director of Personalization Products, Scott Gatz, says that number should be closer to 27 percent, as many use RSS and don’t know it. Yahoo began publishing RSS feeds via Yahoo News and Yahoo Buzz back in 2003.

And really, the average user (the driving force of Web 2.0) doesn’t need to know the technicalities. RSS is lingua non-grata. “My Media,” as Gatz and Yahoo call it, is all they really need to know.

During his keynote address on RSS at the Syndicate Conference in San Francisco, Gatz gushed about the future of highly personalized and user-friendly syndication subscription. iEntry Inc. CEO Rich Ord was in attendance and filled us in on what was discussed.

The Web is growing exponentially, especially due to user-generated content. That means the volume of available content is overwhelming. The next generation technologists are producing ways to organize this content to make it easier to manage. Yahoo is in the game providing not only RSS for text, but also for images, blogs, news sources, and now even podcasts.

Yesterday, Yahoo launched the MySubcription area for podcasts, allowing users to subscribe to those feeds.

One might expect a progressive and trendy company such as Yahoo to be in the game earlier. But other companies have begun participating as well. This week, launched their Congressional Votes Database, using a feed to put their brand in front of customers on a regular basis.

Purina is using RSS for pet tips and expert Q&A, encouraging people to sign up via media spots. Target is also using RSS, converting the ad circular to an online format and distributing the latest bargains through RSS. These are useful features that consumers understand.

The transition to My Media is led by email (something consumers already understand).

“We see email as the hub of consumers looking for information. So we updated Yahoo Mail with more interactive features. One of the key things we did was to integrate RSS feeds as a folder with the other mail folders. I can forward RSS posts just like I do email. This is taking RSS to an even broader audience,” said Gatz.

The key to creating a successful RSS campaign is making the information within that campaign incredibly relevant to the consumer-and usually that involves less of a sales pitch and more of nformation providing. Providing what consumers want, when and where and how they want it helps create the ever-important viral effect as information discovery becomes more social. If the information is useful to one reader, then it’s probably useful to a friend of their’s.