It is difficult to have a conversation about technology these days that does not involve RSS. In the age of the Internet, communication is expected to be instantaneous. RSS offers instant real-time distribution in an on demand world. What is RSS?
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What RSS is Not!

It is difficult to have a conversation about technology these days that does not involve RSS. In the age of the Internet, communication is expected to be instantaneous. RSS offers instant real-time distribution in an on demand world.

What is RSS?

RSS is a standard format for syndicating information or content over the Internet. Once a visitor subscribes to an RSS feed, they receive the new information each time the feed is updated.

RSS Does Not Equal Email

RSS is not email, nor is it designed to be a replacement for email. RSS is a supplemental communication channel that can be used to deliver content. Email newsletters have had an increasing problem with spam. Email open rates have plummeted, filtering systems have become increasingly complex and with the complexity and volume even "approved" messages have been unable to get through.

RSS feeds are opt-in, and in most cases subscribers need not provide any personal information to subscribe. RSS is simply an alternative method to communicate with your audience.

Use RSS to supplement email. RSS technology is a great supplement to email communication, it will allow you to avoid spam filters and quite possibly reach a new audience that is leery of providing personal information to subscribe.

RSS does not have the problems that are inherent to email marketing. Email filters, do not prevent the message from going through. RSS does not have any costs associated with list maintenance. With RSS, the sender is known, compliance with the CAN SPAM act is not an issue. RSS is 100 percent opt-in, there are not any worries of misdirected email or customers not receiving the information due to spam.

RSS and email are not mutually exclusive. While it is true that there are significant benefits to RSS that are not inherent to email communications. RSS has not yet reached the tipping point. Therefore it is best to offer both RSS and email as options to customers.

RSS Does Not Equal Blogs

Many assume that RSS is only for syndicating the contents of blogs, nothing could be further from the truth. Blogs and online journals have rocketed to popularity in the last few years, and many bloggers use RSS as a means to distribute and syndicate their blog posts. Subscribers receive information each time the blog is updated. However this is NOT the only use for RSS. RSS can deliver any kind of content, including forum posts, discount coupons, newsletters or press releases. Blogs are just one type of information syndicated by RSS feeds.

Blogs may be syndicated using RSS, but do not assume that content found in an RSS feed is from a blog.

How is Podcasting Related to RSS?

Podcasts are simply RSS feeds that contain audio content in the enclosure field. Over the last year the term podcast has expanded to include RSS feeds that contain videos as well as audio files. Podcasts use the RSS specification to deliver the rich media.

In the short time RSS has been around, many misconceptions have been formed for a surprisingly simple concept. RSS is simply a standard for syndicating information (any type of information) on the web. Users opt to subscribe the information in an RSS feed.


Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll software for creating and editing audio files.

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