September 20, 2010
/ by jay.krall
Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble via Flickr
If you’re among the 89 percent of Internet users who didn’t use an RSS reader even at their adoption peak a couple of years ago, you may not have noticed that IAC Corp. recently announced the shutdown of its Web-based reader, Bloglines. IAC, which owns Ask.com, Evite and Vimeo, among other properties, said its research indicates that RSS usage is down 20 percent. But despite the decline of Web-based readers, RSS remains a very important medium for public relations and marketing professionals who want to broaden the reach of their brands online.
The promise of RSS readers as they began to grow in popularity in 2004-2005 was appealing: rather than visiting dozens of sites to get your news, pull all of that content into one place where you can whiz through it more efficiently. That proved to be popular with news junkies, and anyone with a desire to read lots of posts and articles fast, but it never caught on with the general Web-using public. The demise of Bloglines follows the shuttering of Newsgator’s Web-based reader last year, leaving the power users with just one well-known, Web-based option: Google Reader.
Like many technologies, RSS has evolved to become valuable in lots of ways outside of its first popularized use. It remains one of the best ways for a layperson with no technical skills to collect, curate and share large quantities of Web content. Here’s why:
I think we’ll continue to see RSS repurposed in lots of interesting and useful ways, even as RSS readers prove not to be the future of news consumption.
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