In a panel presentation to SES New York, Stephan Spencer encourages companies to offer complimentary RSS feeds. “Give them away” he says, and make it easy for your readers to subscribe. Store promotions, clearance specials, upcoming events, and new arrivals all offer great content for your readers.
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What is Flickr?
Until recently, I defined Flickr simply as a free service for bloggers who wish to post photos, not only on their blog but also on the Flickr service for other Flickr users to peruse, vote on, add to their favorites list, etc. Flickr even supports RSS feeds, with ability to add comments and notes to photos. You can of course use Flickr to share your family photos and snapshots with friends and relatives. And amateur photographers can show off their work. On Flickr, the photographic “creme” rises to the top, due to other Flickr users who make comments, post blog entries, and cause the photos to achieve recognition in “most popular” lists.
But now I’ve come to realize that Flickr is so much more. It’s not just a cleverly designed web application. It’s a repository of human knowledge and creativity organized organically. It’s a visual conversation. It’s countless stories intertwined. It’s a community. It’s a virtual world. It’s a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
If you haven’t heard about RSS yet, you need to check it out! RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a standard designed for syndicating headlines and other web content to other websites. It has evolved into a popular means for individuals to keep up with the latest articles and musings across favorite websites — using RSS newsreader software (which is starting to get built into web browsers and email clients). RSS is widely used in blogs (including this one — just check the RSS link on the bottom right column) and on news sites such as the BBC and CNN.
RSS, in my opinion, has the power to turn email marketing on its head. RSS represents a separate web-delivered channel that, quite unlike email, is impossible to spam. If the subscriber doesn’t add your RSS feed to his or her newsreader software or web-based news aggregator (like My Yahoo!), then you can’t break through to him or her. What a brilliant idea! I think it’s inevitable that most newsletters and promotional content will eventually be delivered through RSS feeds rather than to our email in-boxes. The overload of spam is driving many consumers to RSS as a secure and unspamable way of getting news and commentary. And, as David Sklar opines, RSS will hopefully become the standard for companies to actually conduct real business with their customers. David is spot-on when he calls RSS the “ultimate opt-in.”