I s RSS a bad idea?

Okay, admittedly I’m stirring the pot here, but I was just thinking: why do we care so much about RSS?

* The vast majority of folks can’t use it
* A large majority of those who can, set it up then ignore it
* It doesn’t filter, it just puts all the crap in one place
* It kills a content provider’s ability to survive, if they provide full feeds
* It annoys customers if it only provides teasers
* Adding feeds is typically a painful, annoying process, *even with* myyahoo, feedburner, etc

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5 Comments

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  1. 1
    ralph

    It may be suboptimal, and I resisted for a long time, but there’s simply no way I could keep up with the number of sites I do now if it weren’t for syndication feeds. I’m able to keep tabs on the sites of the best minds in my industry in a way I didn’t and couldn’t before. And it’s great for those sites that only update occasionally; when they do, I’m right there in a way I wouldn’t be if I wasn’t subscribed to their feed. So while I share most of your reservations, the alternative (for me) is even worse.

  2. 2
    Jared Spool

    Having been in this industry since the mid-70’s, I can tell you that RSS is doing just fine, for what it is. It looks a lot today like email did in 1979. And email survived just fine.

    I think the tools will get better, on both the content provider’s side (to control the flow and provide more revenue-generating opportunities) and on the reader’s side (to be smarter about what’s going on).

    I do have to say that I’ve found Google Reader to really change my feed reading habits. It makes keeping up with good content (like this one) much, much easier.

    Jared

  3. 3
    Gabriel

    Well, that’s how I got here.

    When asking if it’s a bad idea, it’s best to specify for whom. RSS is great for me, as a reader, and great for me as a provider of content working for a non-profit. The many sources I read who post infrequently (i.e. my dad’s blog) are actually checked because they have feeds. Otherwise, it’s off the radar…

    Ditto on the (updated) Google Reader, Jared. I’m still waiting for the RSS killer app, and so far this is the best.

  4. 5
    Brad Smith

    You mean, besides the vast aide in usability? Back when the Internet had 12 sites, I could see syndicated content not being a hot topic, but there could be hundreds of sites that you stumble across on any given day. RSS takes the pain away from organizing and combing through your favorites to find something you need. If anything, the only disadvantage to hosting an RSS feed is for an advertiser’s sake. But truthfully, if your content is good enough to put into my RSS vault, I’ll visit your pages more than a user simply stumbling upon your pages.

    Users’ have changed. Users’ will continue to change. As an IA, I design for every user, increasing the usability of a site, and if RSS is anywhere close to a viable solution, guess who’s writing code for it. It doesn’t hinder your content, and if history has taught me anything, it doesn’t do anything to your page views. RSS will catch on as more tools get easier. Google Reader is cutting edge. Hell, their customized home page is slick as well. I have at least 10 customized RSS feeds imported there. As more and more companies like Google starting putting it out there, it will be hard even the simplest of users to ignore. RSS is here to stay.

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