Need someone to lead product or development at your software company? I lead product and engineering teams and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

RSS Strategies

Freshness Warning
This article is over 16 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

There are two news stories in today’s MarketingVOX|Publishing Digest about the business of RSS syndication. Gawker’s Nick Denton recently released Kinja, a Web-based tool that is being billed as a news reader for every day people. Yahoo recently added an RSS reader and search to their My Yahoo portal. At least two companies are working on ways to turn RSS feeds into revenue-generating content.

Is XML syndication part of your publishing strategy? Or do you consider it a tool for blogs and geeks? While it seems that RSS is gaining some corporate traction, it isn’t yet widely used by everyday Internet users. My mom doesn’t even know what RSS is, never mind why or how you’d use it.

Google has email alerts that let you save Web and news searches and have new matching items emailed to you. I mentioned recently that they don’t have RSS feeds for it, and someone commented that RSS as a delivery mechanism isn’t yet mature enough. The commenter speculated that Google probably doesn’t want millions of people requesting an RSS feed at the default update interval of their news reader.

I know from looking at my own server logs that my syndication feeds are by far the most requested resource on my site. They consume considerable bandwidth and I have gone to great lengths to optimize my feeds to reduce their bandwidth needs.

While it could be argued that these problems exist with any content format you publish, they are aggravated by the nature of RSS. When someone visits my home page, they don’t refresh the browser every 15 minutes to see if it has changed. And if they did, browsers are designed to check with the server and to not download it again if there’s no change. Most news readers don’t do this. They grab the entire feed with each update regardless of whether there has been any change. There have been many efforts to design a way that allows feed publishers to tell a news reader how often to request updates, but those features are not widely implemented by readers.

So my question to you is are you using RSS, are you using it for non-blog content, and are you getting anything out of your investment in the extra bandwidth?

This is a cross post of something I posted to MarketingVOX|Publishing. I thought that my readers here might have some things to say about the subject. Comment on this at MV|Publishing.

Recently Written

A framework for onboarding new employees (May 15)
There’s no single good way to onboard an employee that works for every role. Here's a framework for creating a process that you can adapt to each situation.
TV hosts as a guide for software managers (May 10)
Software managers can learn a lot from journalists or late night TV hosts and how they interview people.
The Improvement Flywheel (Apr 29)
An incredible flywheel for the improvement of a development team. Fix a few things, and everything starts getting better.
Managers and technical ability (Dec 26)
In technical fields, the closer you are to the actual work being done, the closer your skills need to resemble those of the people doing the work.
Dysfunctions of output-oriented software teams (Sep 17)
Whatever you call it, the symptom is that you're measuring your progress by how much you build and deliver instead of measuring success by the amount of customer value you create.
Evaluative and generative product development (Aug 30)
Customers never even talk to the companies that don't fit their needs at all. If the only product ideas you're considering are those that meet the needs of your current customers, then you're only going to find new customers that look exactly like your current customers.
Product Manager Career Ladder (Aug 19)
What are the steps along the product management career path?
Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.


What I'm Reading


Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497


Public Key

© 1999-2020 Adam Kalsey.