Reaction to our research

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.

Scoble wrote:

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 I’ve seen the finally takes into account the great mass of people who are actually using or have seen RSS, but don’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.

Niall wrote:

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.

Other coverage:

UPDATE: Here’s a couple more I missed: