RSS 101

I’ve got an issue with this article from today’s MediaPost on a few levels…

Hespos says that XML Syndication currently faces a standardization problem. “There are plenty of readers but no killer apps.” Hespos notes that XML Syndication is still very much in the early adopter stage. “All I see is a lot of bickering in the early adopter community,” he says. “[XML Syndication] lives in blogging communities. If Microsoft were to take it up that would be a good thing, because it would speed up the adoption process.”

Rick Bruner, president, Executive Summary Consulting, agrees. “It comes down to what Microsoft does with it. Longhorn is expected to come with an RSS reader. At that point, it could go mainstream–it could become a viable ad medium then,” Bruner says. [MediaDailyNews]

My issues here are that the writer claims (in the article, but not quoted here) that Atom will soon overtake RSS, which is interesting because based on the number of Atom feeds and the release level of the format it is still very early. Sure Google is the main backer, and apparently it’s easy to say they’re major so therefore it will win. This brings me to my next issue which is right in the quote above…

Both Hespos and Bruner claim that it is Microsoft who is holding adoption up based on their general lack of support. This is total bullshit!

The adoption rate, first is significant, both on the content generation side and also on the aggregation side. I’ll let you decide which number scale is more correct – Bruner in another article states according to research it is somewhere between 2.5 Million and 8.8 Million. It’s big. (There is no study on usage of these feeds… just that certain blog systems generate multiple formats.)

Microsoft does not have an aggregator and has not integrated RSS into the browser or the OS. but waiting for Microsoft and Longhorn will only delay what is already happening. People are finding ways to use RSS – though it needs to be made much easier to do so. Longhorn is not coming tomorrow or even this year… waiting on that will just have you listening to the hold music…

In thinking more about it, I think it’s going to take an AOL-like experience to make this take hold on a mass-scale – again assuming it should be used by all. Imagine the AOL UI with an RSS aggregator within. They could deliver their ads in a sane way, but enable a great number of people to read a huge amount of content within an efficient timetable. Maybe this hurts their ad model, as less time on is going to reduce the number of ad impressions, but perhaps they’ll just have to rethink the way things are served…

Dave Winer covers the software claims quite well (as you might expect) on his site.

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