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RSS: A "Really Simple Solution" For Sending And Receiving Content

By Marketing Basics Copyright © 2004

"RSS" stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content. Using this standard, web publishers provide updates, such as the latest news headlines or weblog postings.

Consumers use RSS reader applications, or one of a growing number of online services to collect and monitor their favorite feeds in one place. RSS content from a publisher, viewed in one of these readers, is often called a "feed."

For consumers, RSS makes it possible to review a large number of sites in a short amount of time.

For publishers, RSS allows instant widespread distribution of content updates to consumers.

So, who publishes RSS feeds? Some of the biggest names on the Internet now offer content using RSS feeds:

* Yahoo!
* BBC News Headlines
* ABC News
* Plus...many, many more!

In addition, thousands of weblog authors publish feeds to keep themselves better connected to their readers. Weblogs, also known as blogs, are a driving force behind a recent surge in interest for RSS and syndicated content. Many experts believe that in the very near future, the number of top-tier sites not syndicating any content will be in the minority.

If you're interested in collecting and browsing feeds, you have a multitude of choices. However there are two primary categories of feed reading applications: installable desktop programs and online services. There are also many desktop applications for Windows and Mac OS system users, but two of the most popular ones are FeedDemon (Windows) and NetNewsWire (Mac OS X).

Both require a small purchase price, but are at the head of the class for user-friendliness. They also come pre-loaded with dozens of feeds, so you can start exploring the syndication "universe" immediately. Free readers are also available. Just perform a search for "RSS Reader," using your favorite search engine.

If you would prefer to use an online service to track and manage your feeds, you have the advantage of being able to access your feed updates anywhere you use a web browser, and in some cases, on mobile equipment.

Also, any upgrades or new features are added automatically. There are, however, disadvantages to going mobile, such as different and fewer features, as well as slightly slower performance versus desktop systems.,, and are probably the three best-known examples of web-based feed reading services.

If you have a website or weblog, you can add RSS syndication as a publishing option, in some cases automatically. How easily you can accomplish this depends entirely on how your site is served today.

For instance, if you are using a hosted publishing tool like, you may already be publishing a feed without even realizing it. Check to see whether your provider's administration tools offer feed-related options or controls. Other types of websites and application platforms may require some programming skills in order to add RSS syndication capabilities.

In the world of web syndication, multiple versions of RSS and Atom are vying for widespread adoption. offers a feature called SmartFeed that makes sure feed readers receive the version they're most compatible with.

SmartFeed automatically handles the syndication format details so that you can focus your energy on creating content.

Marketing Basics specializes in writing articles that teach, explain and define basic marketing principles and techniques.

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