Content Syndication from Around The Web

I’ve been recovering from what I hope is a twenty-four hour bug of some kind. I feel a lot better now than I did in the morning, so I’m holding out hope that I’ll feel just fine tomorrow. In order to remain at least somewhat productive, I spent most of today catching up on my newsfeeds and finding new interesting blogs to check out.

I’ve been especially interested in blogging, RSS and content syndication, and podcasting lately. These are areas and technologies that have had unprecedented growth lately, as more and more big companies (such as the New York Times and Yahoo!) are strongly pushing the adoption of RSS. (Google is pushing Atom.) Here is a brief recap of the various things I’ve been reading around the web today:

  • I’ve been keeping an eye out on Lockergnome’s RSS fanatics news feed because there has been a remarkable amount of fascinating information coming in through that channel lately. Several of the latest etries have had a strong business focus, such as this article explaining how RSS meets the needs of direct marketers just as well as email does.

    The post explains, in marketing terminology (as opposed to technical terminology), the benefits of the client-pull paradigm to deliver targetted, personalized advertising and communication to customers in the same way email newsletters frequently do today. One of the chief benefits of RSS, however, is that it doesn’t have to deal with spam filters which means that your message is guaranteed to get to the client. (This is built into the publish-subscribe nature of RSS as opposed to email.)

  • Also via Lockergnome, one of the new quality blogs I’ve found is Ms. Debbie Weil’s articulate writings about business and blogging and how the two can work well together. She’s a recognized marketing expert who has become an expert on what blogging can do for a company’s brand image.

    Her recent podcast interview with Rok Hrasnik is a very insightful look into how the business world sees blogs and content syndication, and how we in the tech world aren’t quite getting our message across yet.

  • Another interesting use for RSS comes in the form of intra-organization communication. In such a case, content syndication solutions can replace the role of most mass-email communications within organizations. This has myriad benefits, most prominent of which are the increase in employee productivity and the assurance that each employee receives the syndicated message at the same time. (No more spam filter and email relay delays.)

    Also, if you’ve ever worked in a large organization’s offices like I have, you’re already familiar with the problems that huge amounts of email causes. When everybody sends email to everyone else, most of that email looses its relevance causing confusion and wasting time. Add to that the daily corporate-wide announcements, alerts, and other notifications sent via email and you’re suddenly dealing with email overload.

  • Another great example of a content syndication application comes from the new job search engine Indeed. Indeed is a lot like Google, only they crawl job-posting sites like Monster.com and CraigsList and index all the available job positions. You then search for available positions and Indeed returns the results to you.

    What makes Indeed stand above the rest is that its search result listings are available as an RSS feed. This means you enter your search once and then your news reader repeats it for you every time it checks the feed. (In fact, CraigsList has been doing this for some time. They also offer email subscriptions, but do you see how much more of hassle this is?)

    The advantage is obvious: no more wasting time typing in the same searches and no more wasting time signing up for and managing email “alerts” for search results. Google lets you sign up for Google Alerts, which notify you when new documents are indexed that match your search terms, but I’d much rather see them implement this with a hassle-free solution that won’t clutter my inbox such as RSS.

  • And while we’re on the subject of using RSS for any publish-subscribe and client-pull communication, why don’t we consider the implications of using branded RSS aggregating software to get at all this content. In fact, branded RSS aggregators are gaining popularity very quickly.

    The experts say this will help create a “stickier relationship” between publishers and readers, and this, of course, means stronger branding and a more powerful influence on consumers. The question here, though, is will it bring on the RSS wars?

Content syndication technologies are gaining popularity as more and more applications for them are being found. Marketers are beginning to understand the advantages of RSS and many new business models which are based on the technology are being tested—and succeeding.

RSS doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with blogging, though blogs did popularize the technology. So buckle your seat belts, because RSS is getting ready for prime time and it’s beginning to hit the marketing and business worlds by storm.