RSS FeedOne of the latest tools in the marketing arena is Feeds. You sometimes see a small orange RSS sign like this one on a page for a RSS Feed. Or in Blogger they have a similar Feed called Atom.
But this is not new – I hear you say. True. In Internet terms and for the experienced Internet marketer this is old hat already. But for the normal Internet user this was – to my mind at least – a bit out of reach.
If you clicked on this Orange RSS button – you were presented with a page full of code that would make the normal user’s head spin. You required a special RSS feed reader. Just a little too complex for the average Joe Blogg.
But now we have Internet Explorer version 7 (IE7). I predict that this will dramatically increase the use and usability of RSS feeds.
Why? Because it is now so much easier to:
1 Know that there is a feed on a page.
2 Subscribe to the feed and
3 Read the feed.
1 Know that there is a feed on a page.In IE7 there is a setting to play a sound when a feed is found on a page. If this is switched on, the moment IE7 detects a feed on a page – it gives off a little whistle – to make the user attent that there is a Feed on the page. Whistle while you work! At the same time the new “View Feeds on This Page” icon becomes active and changes to Orange. But I like the little whistle it gives off. Maybe one day when all sites have feeds the whistling will become a bit much (and then you can switch it off) – but currently it is new and a new thing one can use to market your site and to ensure people are kept aware of what you are marketing and of the changes on your web pages. If you have IE7 installed you can for example on this current page that you are on see what I mean by the feed button in the IE7 toolbar lighting up.
2 Subscribe to the feedThe moment you click on this active RSS feed button on a page that has one – Internet explorer displays the feed and gives you the option to subscribe to it. Very much in the same way as what you can subscribe to a favorite web page.
Once you have subscribed to a page you can also – by going to the Feeds Tab in the Favorites Center (As it is called in IE7) – you can immediately see which feeds had something updated since the last time you looked at it. The changed feeds are highlighted for you. This is simply an amazing tool to keep abreast of any developments on pages of interest to you, as and when it suits you, without being bombarded by a series of emails.
3 Read the feed.In the past one had to download and install separate feed readers. This was clumsy and not easy at all. The new IE7 Feed reader integration is really nifty and it really makes it easy to read a Feed. One way is to simply click on the feed button if it is highlighted on a page. And the second one is to click on a feed in your Favorites Center. As simple as that.
I can already see two types of feeds: One that simply reminds the subscriber of a change that took place on a page and invites the user to visit the page. The second is including the detail of the change with a link to the real page.
Marketers had to find something that could replace emails as the threat of spamming is simply too costly. And this seems one of the ways they came up with.
I predict that marketers will now start including Feeds in their websites with a vengeance.
Dr Loot Gous
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