After getting back from all the Web 2.0 hubbub, I’ve finally been able to dig into what people have been saying about the RSS research that my team did. It’s always amazing to see how people pick up on these things and what people focus on.
Of the big three companies (Google/Microsoft/Yahoo) Yahoo is definitely getting RSS the best…It’s suprising to me that the big companies still aren’t taking RSS totally seriously. Yeah, Microsoft is putting RSS all over the place. Yeah, you can spit out MSN Searches via RSS. Which, actually, is pretty advanced and interesting. But Yahoo is going further.
Thanks Robert. But I do disagree about one point: I think that the upward climb in RSS isn’t gonna come from the very valuable tech adopters, but from the masses. The “unaware RSS users” look just like the rest of the internet population and they love the benefit of pulling this stuff together from all over the web.
Tom Markiewicz wrote:
This is the first RSS study Iâ€™ve seen the finally takes into account the great mass of people who are actually using or have seen RSS, but donâ€™t know it…The fact that 12% of users are aware of RSS is actually a great sign….The best part is this number will only increase.
Tom, I’m not sure that awareness of RSS is all that important and I don’t think that number should increase. My mom shouldn’t care about XML or RSS, but should should care about tracking what she cares about.
Steve Rubel, said RSS Needs to Become Seamless:
RSS (with or without MP3 enclosures) has to become seamless before it becomes useful to the masses. Even Google hasn’t mastered that yet. I am using Google’s personal page to access my favorite feeds and I was disappointed to see there’s still quite a bit of a learning curve for the average bear.
Steve, we gotta get you using My Yahoo! for that. And I agree that we as an industry need to make it easier.
The biggest surprise to me was the value of the browsable feed in each tool’s built-in listing. Blog authors should be aware of their placement within such listings and perhaps consider a paid listing for increased subscriptions.
I’m not sure how I feel about paid placement for RSS feeds in readers. I hope that when this does finally happen, we all take the lead from how the search industry has done it: seperate and clearly marked as sponsored content. Jeremy has a different take.
Alex Barnett tries to extrapolate the data:
If you’re only going to read one sentence of this post and have the remotest interest in RSS, then take this away with you: the number of RSS users in the UK and US is now at a staggering 72.8 million…worldwide this is 275 million (see estimate details below).
Staggering if you think about it that way. Dunno if it holds up, but the logic makes sense. This is big and only getting bigger. And Alex makes the great point that this research is US only and that we really need data outside the US (My Yahoo! RSS is already in over 15 countries, but the data doesn’t cover that)
Last point about XML buttons. Sean Bonner said it simply:
Not only do those orange XML buttons not work, it actually makes people run away from your site.
- Mike Bazely, Silicon Beat – totally got the key points and he even quoted me 😉
- Rick Turoczy – doesn’t see much new
- The RSS Weblog – be sure to check out the comments for a discussion of a point that Brad missed.
UPDATE: Here’s a couple more I missed:
- Harry McCracken, PCWorld Blog – Nice analysis plus Harry asks PCWorld users if they are using RSS
- RedHerring – talks about the latest arrival to the RSS party and talks about the research.
- Mike Shields, MediaWeek
Thanks for the mention, even though I didn’t really provide anything of consequence. I do have plans to complete some actual analysis, but I’ll likely find some way to pretend that it’s not necessary.
As always, I appreciate the link-love.
Please update/ping if you plan to to research outside US, at least in the 15 markets you mention.
I still have to disagree with you a bit on the RSS awareness. I agree that it doesn’t really matter for the consumer; but in order to get content in RSS to the consumer, more businesses and publishers need to be aware of RSS. The more awareness, the more publishing in RSS and the more interesting uses we’ll find for it.
Tom, I do agree that Publishers and businesses need to be aware of RSS and content syndication and they need to do it. More content is better for consumers and for the industry. So lets talk about RSS and the technology to make it work at conferences and in business meetings but lets just not force consumers to talk the same way.