HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

What Does RSS Stand For?

April 28, 2006

I've been trying to think of a good way to relate RSS and email to people who know nothing or very little about it, and have been a little stuck. I'm a huge fan of RSS, and get a ton of targeted, useful information via the RSS feeds I subscribe to about online marketing, other data related to my job, and even food recipes. Meanwhile I basically use my email to filter out 5 pieces of spam to read one "real" message.

I'm sold on RSS and look forward to it becoming more popular and easier to use when the new version of Windows comes out and more people start using IE7 and other browsers with RSS readers built in. However, the majority of Internet-users do not use RSS, and probably most don't know what it is. And even after explaining to someone how the technology works and what is required from them to use it, there still remains an unconvinced look on their face. Missing from the presentation about RSS is that final "wow" factor, or tipping point when someone understands what it "really" does.

I've seen a couple definitions for RSS, but the best marketing definition I've hear is "Really Secretive Syndication". I think this is a great way to describe it to someone who is new to the technology.

Really Secretive Syndication is a great definition because RSS really is secretive! It's one thing to explain to people that they can download a new program, install it on their computer, start subscribing to RSS feeds (with some instruction on how to find them on different web sites), and that as new content is added to a site and syndicated in their RSS feed, the subscriber will be updated of new content, and on and on and on. But, the real understanding comes in when you tell them that the whole system is anonymous and secretive. Reason being that you do not need to give any information about yourself when you subscribe to a feed...no email address, no form to fill out, no phone number for telemarketers, nothing! You simply copy/paste a link into your feed reader and you're done! You will not have to deal with spam mail from the site, and you are in complete control. Should you want to unsubscribe from the feed, just delete it! No lengthy unsubscribes, no requesting your login so that you can log in to your account to change 15 different settings to unsubscribe from an email, and no fears of your personal data being passed around to list agencies.

Yes RSS is great because once you subscribe to a feed you literally do nothing except watch the content roll in. But the real value in it is that RSS is secretive, anonymous, and allows the subscriber complete control over their subscription.

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