RSS and the Future of Content Distribution

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

"Thousands of people were producing new Web sites every day. We were just trying to take all that stuff and organize it to make it useful. " - David Filo

This quote was made by David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo! with Jerry Yang. They created Yahoo! as a way to organize data on the Web that they were interested in. As Google created a search engine to organize information, Yahoo!'s goal was to setup their business model in a way that was much different. Instead of having to search for information, users would simply navigate from category to category to locate the information they were interested in; a theory that any person could accept, no matter their breadth of knowledge on the Internet.

Over the past several years, Yahoo! has created one of the most popular sites on the Internet. So what was it that's made them so famous? Was it their Yahoo! brand? Was it the way their site is categorically structured? Both of these definitely helped contribute to their success but what is the main reason why Yahoo! has become so popular? In my opinion it all comes down to content and the amount of information that is on the Yahoo! website. There are literally millions of articles, stories, and other information behind that behemoth of a site. Yes, it took nearly 12 years to get where they are today but my point here is that content is a major key to success on the Internet.

The Birth of RSS

RSS, Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, is an XML-based format (using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) that provides an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content. Using RSS files, you can create a data feed that supplies headlines, links, and article summaries from your website to others. Users can have constantly updated content from websites delivered to them via a news reader (aggregator), a piece of software specifically tailored to receive these types of feeds.

RSS makes it easy to take another site's content and feed it to yours. As an example, let's say I took Yahoo!'s Sports RSS feed and added it to my site. Every time they posted a new sports article or story it would be updated on my site as well, a concept that was a revolutionary breakthrough for the Internet. Now websites can grow their content without having to write all the data on their own. In my opinion, this idea will continue to drive the Internet and will thrive for many years to come.

To view Yahoo! News RSS, click here, you'll see what I'm talking about.

The big consumer benefit to RSS is that consumers opt-in to obtain content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information they receive. The RSS reader acts as an aggregator, allowing users to view and scan multiple content streams in a timely fashion.

So let's reverse this whole idea now. Let's say you have a website or blog. Do you provide RSS feeds for the content on your site? Can your users simply take the content that is on your site and feed it to theirs? In a few years, most websites and blogs will have RSS integrated with their website. RSS will become a standard, just as email has become a standard in our lives today. It will be a regular service that is packaged with the development of every website.

The end doesn't stop here. RSS will be used for all types of syndication and content distribution of the future. Email will eventually use RSS and corporations will use it for various communication channels to notify their clients of upcoming specials, discounts, product announcements and technical support issues.

I'm excited to see where RSS takes us. Look what email has done for us over the last several years. Email is such an important part of all of our lives - we could not live without it. In my opinion, RSS is just as unique. RSS is going to drive the distribution of content for many years to come, if not forever.

Daryl H. Bryant is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Horizons, helps his clients achieve online success through search engine marketing and customized website solutions.

Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 701
  • |
  • Total Views: 152
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>