RSS Marketing Roundup 03.23.06

Time once again for a roundup of what’s going on in the fast moving world of RSS, the Internet content delivery standard that is becoming the increasingly attractive alternative to email publishing and even web browsing.

But first . . .

The Importance of Email

In my ongoing examination of the adoption of RSS feeds for content delivery and marketing purposes, one thing has become abundantly clear — the continued importance of email. Thirty-five percent of the subscribers to Copyblogger do so via email, and it’s my fastest growing subscriber sector. And this with a blog aimed at bloggers!

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No Email Taxation Without Requisition

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a host of others have released an open letter to AOL asking the ISP to reconsider adoption of the proposed Goodmail “email tax” that made big news not long ago. At the time, I said I didn’t care about this, as it would only speed the inevitable adoption of RSS for content delivery.

But upon continued reflection, it’s simply a flat-out disturbing development. AOL’s plans represent only the first step down a slippery slope towards fragmentation and corporate control of the Internet’s historical open access, and we shouldn’t let it happen without a fight. It can only hurt the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are continually moving into the growing online marketplace, not to mention charities, non-profits, and just regular folks.

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Trading Words For Traffic

Many professional copywriters don’t think of blogs as a way to generate sales. Why? Because blogs are not a “direct-response” environment, and some of the very best copywriters are in the direct-response field.

Direct-response copywriting is a form of marketing designed to elicit an immediate action that is specific and quantifiable. Meaning, you’ve essentially got one shot at getting a certain percentage of readers to respond in the way you want them too. The response rate dictates your level of success.

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The Blog Network Killer?

The beta version of the Rojo FeedShare service has been released, and I think there are some interesting implications. At its essence, FeedShare harkens back to the old traffic-exchange programs of the early web, with a dash of the ezine co-registration programs mixed in. As Rojo explains it:

You give exposure by displaying “Feed Listings” (see examples) which display the name and description of blogs and other feed publishers. When visitors click on these listings they can then subscribe to the RSS or Atom feed for that blogger or publisher in any one of several feed readers.

You then create a listing for your OWN blog and for every impression you donate to the network on your blog, you will receive a listing on someone else’s blog or in Rojo.com. The goal is to help build the feed subscriber base to your blog, increasing awareness and traffic to your site.

In essence, FeedShare provides some of the cross-promotional opportunities that attract traffic-starved writers to the growing crop of blog networks. While many blog networks offer much more than traffic, they also generally want content ownership, have posting guidelines, and in some cases can even be stifling due to political rivalry with other networks.

The thing to consider here is this: any properly-positioned blogging service provider can create a network that offers this type of promotional opportunity, and will be motivated to do so by the viral exposure (and blog real estate) it receives by facilitating the network. Rojo is smartly doing this, but it may not present a huge challenge to the young blog networks.

But what if Feedburner decided to do this? Or Technorati?

Or Google?

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RSS Marketing Roundup

A big part of my going-forward focus is the ways in which RSS will transform content delivery and direct marketing online. It’s such a fast moving area, though, that if I only comment on items in my typical long-winded fashion, a lot will slip by.

So here’s my first edition of the RSS Marketing Roundup, a look at what went on this week in the world of marketing and promotion with feeds.

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The RSS Imperative

There’s been a huge amount of discussion about America Online and Yahoo’s plans to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to email messages from companies that pay for delivery. As is typical, there are arguments both for and against the idea of “email postage.”

Some of the arguments “against” may be missing the point.

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