What the Heck Is RSS?

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RSS is:

A. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindutva group.

B. Repetitive Stress Syndrome, a medical disorder.

C. Really Simple Syndication, a group of Web-content distribution and republication (Web syndication) protocols used primarily by news sites and Web logs.

Well, all three answers are correct, but the last definition is the one getting all the attention. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the definitions.) Still not sure what RSS is? According to Webreference.com, it was originated by UserLand in 1997. Since then, it has evolved into a popular means of channeling content between sites, increasing traffic and gathering and distributing news. Many worry that e-mail is losing its marketing power because it often goes unopened and because filters can block it from even arriving in your customer's inbox. RSS gets around that.

Even the search giants are interested in RSS. MSN has started an early test of a Web-based RSS aggregator, and Yahoo has expanded into mobile access to the news feeds gathered on its My Yahoo personalized home page. A new JupiterResearch report, however, found that most marketers are still skeptical of using RSS because it needs more visibility. Experts ultimately expect timeshifting technologies like RSS and the TiVo digital recorder to change media consumption and marketing. What it means for the content providers is yet to be seen. Stay tuned. I have a feeling the debate is only beginning.

Bye, Bye AIM

With nary a peep of protest, the Direct Marketing Association absorbed its Association for Interactive Marketing division last week ... and AIM is no more. Imagine if that had happened in 2000 or 2001. Though it's doubtful that there would have been rioting in the streets, several people would have been upset. The new mantra at the DMA is that direct marketers are interactive marketers and interactive marketers are direct marketers, so why have a separate unit? AIM hadn't done much since at least one member resigned in protest in 2003 after the DMA suppressed an e-mail best practices document that sought to define spam. The interactive community was looking for an independent voice a few years back. Now there's the DMA's Interactive Marketing Advisory Board. Will that be enough?

Tad Clarke is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on www.dmnews.com and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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