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Tuesday June 28, 2005 7:41 pm

Mark Fletcher, Scott Rafer, Bob Wyman on Tomorrow’s RSS at Gnomedex

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories:

Mark Fletcher, Scott Rafer, Bob Wyman spoke about the evolution of RSS at Gnomedex. This was a very important panel to be a part of, and I think that if you are in internet business, or if you are thinking of getting into business online, the following is something you should read and evaluate. With Microsoft announcing that RSS is going to be built right in to Longhorn, it is time to pay attention to the medium.

Scott Rafer says that Feedster is placing ads in RSS feeds, and that he is surprised by how little the medium has evolved. Now that RSS is turning into a real business, only large economics can change it, like an urge to create RSS-only publications, and the take-off of RSS on mobile phones. Both will likely create new extensions. Mark Fletcher agrees that there hasn’t been much extensions to RSS. He sees RSS as the universal inbox, pulling in any type of info into an inbox. A way to deal with information overload.

Bob Wyman says he searches the future (PubSub). As they evaluate new documents from feeds and blogs, they are matched against standing, persistent queries. The results are transmitted as rapidly as possible to the users. He also agrees with the comments of the other guys - RSS isn’t just for text anymore. PubSub does airline status, earthquakes, etc. It will be a very important change in the environment. The other trend he believes we will see in RSS is not RSS. The future of RSS is Atom. Its a format that a lot of vendors have interest in. All aggregators read all formats, so there is less and less of a reason for anyone to use the antiquated formats.

One good point, that all readers need to pay attention to, is that web publishers should just choose one RSS format to link to. I whole-heartedly agree with this. Your average visitor has no idea what RSS is, and giving a choice between RSS 0.92, 2.0, and Atom is not offering any type of service. All aggregators nowadays can parse any type of feed, so choose one and run with it.

I asked them about monetizing RSS. Asking users to pay is dreadful says Bob. Dave Winer comments that placing an ad in the feed is like picking up a nickel on the floor, and ignoring the millions flowing by in front of your face. He then mentioned he would subscribe to a Best Buy feed. Jason Calacanis then commented that no one would ever opt-in to advertising, as it is ridiculous. The room then responded in mass disagreement, with a few commenting that they subscribe to Woot!’s RSS feed, which advertises a new product for sale every day.


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