Jun 2 2004

Prepping RSS for Prime Time

With all the hype in the world of blogs in the past few months about RSS taking over the world, I’ve been getting myself up to speed on the space by meeting with some of the companies in it and by publishing my own blog here.

Two of the CEO’s I’ve met with in the RSS business are super smart and are doing everything they can to get the technology ready for prime time. What do I mean by that? I mean:

Critical Mass: 10 million or more end users using RSS, not just the tech/finance/journalist axis that dominates usership today. Hundreds of mainstream publishers and marketers using RSS, not just a handful of businesses and loads of individuals or small sites.

Ease of Use:
Easy to get in the game as a consumer, easy to publish as a business. It is called Really Simple Syndication, after all, and it’s not even close yet, either in terms of technology or awareness.

Organization: Making sure RSS doesn’t quickly fall into the “information overload” bucket as the number of publishers proliferates and as the number of hours in people’s day remains constant.

Multi-Channel: Making it work with other channels the same way email has come to work with direct mail and banners have come to work with brand advertising.

Presentation: Giving publishers greater control over exactly how end users see feeds.

Revenue: Whether it’s ads in feeds, driving people to web sites, subscription revenue, or something else, the world has to figure out how RSS will contribute to the bottom line for it to be commercially viable.

Accountability: Good stats, reporting, and tracking. A pay-to-play function for marketers who use addressable media.

It will be interesting to see how this space unfolds, but my money’s on Dick Costolo of Feedburner, and Greg Reinacker of Newsgator, to be two of the pioneers who figure it all out.