RSS: A Channel For Tomorrow

I’ve been around the tech market long enough to know that the next big thing for the propeller heads isn’t always the best way to market a product or service. And it seems RSS might be another one of those trendy technologies not yet ready for the marketing department to use.

Consumer adoption of RSS application readers is slower than many marketing experts anticipated. While 48 percent of current RSS publishers are spending $250,000 or more to deploy and manage syndicated content, JupiterResearch has found in a recent report that spending at this level is inconsistent with the current rate of reader app adoption. A Yahoo report states that though 31 percent of online users are using RSS, only 4 percent of users knowingly employ the technology. Last time I checked, using a “secret” marketing tool will not produce good response to any direct marketing initiative.

E-mail is the reason people go online, and most Netizens identify checking e-mail as their favorite activity. Sure, you say, you’re an e-mail service provider, of course you would say that. But you don’t have to take my word for it. JupiterResearch forecast the number of active e-mail users in the United States to grow to 165.4 million by the end of 2007 compared with 104.5 million at the end of 2001.

Though RSS may not be right for everyone, if you understand whom you are communicating with, RSS may be just what your technical or specialized business-to-business audience is looking for. Maybe your audience is the 4 percent out there. Just as you wouldn’t send HTML messages to a recipient requesting text, don’t expect every recipient to immediately jump on your RSS bandwagon. Trends are cool, but don’t waste precious marketing dollars and creative brainpower on a channel that likely won’t give you the ROI of e-mail.

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