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Is RSS Still Relevant?

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While the idea of content syndication is very appealing, especially when it comes to acquiring backlinks, the concept of RSS is not as popular as some thought it would be. Why is that? What is it about RSS feeds that the general public can’t or won’t embrace? Does the concept of text-only content lack appeal or is it a lack of exposure to this technology?

A recent article at Hiveminds.co.uk trying to determine why RSS feed use has not increased offers these ideas:

RSS is still unknown
RSS feeds fail frequently
RSS feeds are sensitive
Feeds have been removed
A notification service is needed

Many times, RSS feeds fail to work for a number of reasons, ranging from a domain being changed to faulty XML parsing. When something like that happens, the desired feed doesn’t load and will probably be removed from a user’s list. Potential users won’t wait around while the necessary changes are made.

User ignorance also plays apart in the lack of RSS adoption. Many web users are still not aware of RSS technology and the potential benefits associated with them. As the report indicates, many still see RSS as a “geek technology” reserved for those who understand these things. Perhaps average users would be more appreciative of syndication technology if they knew what it was and how it benefits them.

If site owners want a larger adoption of their syndication feeds it may be as simple explaining the benefits of RSS feeds to their readers.

Chris Richardson
WebProNews Staff Writer

Is RSS Still Relevant?
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  • http://www.offertrax.com ron pruett

    RSS should be sold differently to users. It needs to be made functionally attractive and led by the needs of the consumers. Most will ask, “What’s in it for me?” Unfortunately, it’s not clear on most sites. The benefits are simply not transparent. Many of the RSS related companies being built today are the infrastructure plays. Offertrax and others to follow are adding the individual components that will allow users, both the companies and individuals, to begin to create and distribute more feeds. If done properly, it will be disruptive.

  • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Richardson

    the problem for RSS is and has been ignorance. the general john q public web user has no concept of this technology or what it’s used for. your point about RSS being sold differently to different users is exactly the approach they need to take if they want RSS to crossover.

    as for me, i still find i’d rather go to the list of sites i would want RSS for than read a their feed. i like the actual navigation aspect of surfing and that’s why i don’t use feeds as much, especially at home.

  • http://www.bounceisfree.com David Armstrong

    I think RSS is at a real tipping point, as it is starting to be commercialized by feedburner and copy cats. Also, so feeds ‘force’ an article at the top by keeping the date highest…godaddy does this. So, it’s being gamed even before it’s adopted…but..there’s always a but, RSS 2.0 full featured feeds (not just headlines) have real power. Add Product RSS and consolidated topic/tags from blogs, that is power. Ron/Chris..are there are RSS “support” groups out there?

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