RSS, Blogs : New tools for corporate management
From Jean-Claude Morand
Release date: August 2006
295 pages, 20 euros
Format: 15 x 21
(first edition 2-9520514-9-6)
This book offers a vision for the present and future use of RSS, a technology that enables innovative companies to implement new strategies for propagating information, breaking news and micro-marketing campaigns. The rapid proliferation of RSS makes it essential for management, marketing and technology workgroups to understand the technology—not only the foot soldiers, but also the seasoned executives. This book presents a review of the principal information aggregators, practical advice and essential guidelines for implementation, as well as a multitude of potential applications.
With the advent of the new Internet Explorer, all Internet users will become RSS users, able to subscribe to Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.
This is the first book about RSS with a focus on practical uses and management implications.
Second edition enhanced with 101 RSS applications and additional case studies.
Jean-Claude Morand is the author of three books covering various aspects of eBusiness: Cyberstrat published in 1997, Marketing 1 on 1, and Internet Tourism and the Internet in 1999. He has a Doctorate in Management and a DEA in Information systems. He is now an evangelist for STMicroelectronics in Geneva where he was eBusiness Program Manager and now serves as eMarketing Innovation Manager. He speaks regularly at conferences and lectures at the University of Lecce (Italy). He is a consultant to the RosettaNet and Edifice consortia, where he contributes to the definition and implementation of system-to-system standards for XML.
Table of Contents
1. Why another new management tool?
2. What is "Really Simple Syndication" (RSS)?
3. What is a Blog (Weblog)?
4. Why use RSS in marketing?
5. Some potential applications of RSS Podcasting
6. Audio broadcasting with RSS
7. The potential of Mobile RSS
8. New opportunities created by RSS
9. How to keep up with the news
10. Future prospects for RSS
What is RSS?
"Really Simple Syndication" (RSS) can also mean "Rich Site Summary." Sometimes it is also called an “RDF Summary (Resource Description Framework)." The technology is made up of several standards. They were initially developed as a set of technical specifications allowing the use of metadata to disseminate information in the form of small labels (for news articles) or alerts. The standards use XML tags to identify information available for transmission. .
Figure 1 Diagram of links between blogs and news aggregators
These tags allow the syndication of news by specialized aggregators. The aggregator’s job is to look for new information published on the channels you have subscribed to, and send customized information to your individual account. So RSS is a set of standards for the syndication of Internet content by using metadata (or tags) to identify individual articles or other content files.
Most of the first companies to adopt RSS were news media. According to a study of the International Federation of Periodicals in the United States, approximately 30% of publications were using this system by April 2005. At least the same proportion of the French media or more use RSS feeds. They employ them to place titles of news articles on various Internet sites with links to their published articles. Most articles are not posted in full, only the metadata with a brief description. The metadata might include a title, a URL, a brief description and a category.
RSS feeds use several variations of standard RSS and ATOM, which is described on page 7-XX. Because of these technical variations, this book will not discuss a single standard.
The most common related applications are blogs, some of which can generate RSS/ATOM feeds themselves. In fact, the flexibility of the XML language allows the development of many more applications for specialized RSS feeds. Some of this work is discussed in the chapter, “Error! Reference source not found.”
What is a feed?
A RSS feed is a "label" or notification of news that is coded according to the RSS/ATOM standards. It can be read and interpreted by news aggregators using robotic applications configured to these standards. These dedicated applications are designed to seek, identify and transmit the new information to be published in a “news feed.”
Technically, the software sends requests at various time intervals (depending on its degree of sophistication) to various transmitting sites in order to find out whether breaking news or updates have been posted. The more elementary programs send these requests regularly, every hour or fraction of an hour. My Yahoo! also contains an algorithm to identify the frequency of publication by each source. If a source sends one article per week, then the update will be done weekly. If the transmitter is more prolific, and sends once a day, then the aggregator adapts and checks the source daily. These strategies were implemented in response to early errors that compromised bandwidth by basing all searches on the highest frequency of publication.
RSS feeds are also used in e-commerce to provide information in a very compact format. For example, Amazon provides feeds to individual book browsers from their server platform. This technique makes it possible to generate custom pages by locating books through specific key words, or according to categories defined by the bookseller.
Figure 2 RSS feeds generated by Amazon ranked by category.
The popularity of RSS has grown enormously in recent months. The Syndic8.com site, which maintains an index of RSS channels, indicates a growth of 1,400 % in the two years. Between July 2004 and July 2005, the number of available channels rose from 129,632 to 417,745--an increase of 222% in a single year!
Figure 3 Number of RSS feeds avalasse – Source: Syndic8.com