By Sharon Housley
Lets face it as much as we all rely on email communications it is not really a reliable technology.
Why Should I care about RSS Feeds
SPAM and viruses have wreaked havoc with a communication medium and reduced its value. Users have become admittedly paranoid about privacy issues and have begun "tuning out" and mentally filtering mail. What this means is that vendors really ought to begin exploring alternatives means of communciation in order to be heard. One of these alternatives is RSS or Really Simple Syndication.
While I'm not suggesting that you abandon email I think that many might want to consider RSS feeds as well. Because RSS Feeds are selected by the end user spam is not an issue. RSS is created using XML, a very basic markup language. One that does not contain the risks inherent to email.
Endusers select the feeds they wish to view. Content providers select the feeds they wish to display. By providing a RSS feed another site may pick up "news" about your software and post it. If email continues on a self destruct course RSS will become a new standard and an accepted viable alternative or more likely an email supplement. For now if you have a "technical" customer base RSS might be a "cool" thing to add.
What are RSS Feeds -
In very simple non-technical terms RSS is an XML file containing a directory of web pages with related news or information. The RSS is contained in an XML file and referred to as a "feed". RSS format is very simple, in fact even I was able to create a feed with little effort.
The XML file basically contains what would be commonly used as a title and description in an html document, along with the url of a web page containing the actual content.
Sample feeds can be seen at:
http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/feed.xml http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/marketing-feed.xml http://www.notepage.net/feed.xml
Once uploaded to a website the feed should be validated (to make sure you did not use any invalid characters). The feed can then be submitted to engines. Individuals can view your content in a reader. Individuals can also add news feed to their websites by using an aggregator and tapping the feed of news vendors or others.
For convenience I've created a webpage with RSS resources at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/rss-feeds.html
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc.
http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in
alphanumeric paging, SMS wireless messaging software solutions.