Friday, June 10, 2005

The future of RSS feeds

WARNING: There's going to be an extraordinary amount of hubris in this post. You've been warned.

I think Steve Rubel is wrong in his prediction regarding RSS feeds. Rubel thinks publishers should hide full-text RSS feeds behind a registration wall for paying subscribers and make partial-text feeds freely available. But I have to ask what the point of that is? If the content of the source site already requires registration to access (like the New York Times, for instance) you are already essentially putting the content behind that wall.

It all comes down to how intrusive you think RSS advertising is. There's also the question (in my non-technical mind) of how to keep those full-text feeds private? What's to stop me from emailing the full-text RSS feed link to someone who wants it? Maybe I'm not seeing something but I think Rubel's tilting at windmills here. As long as publications/bloggers depend on advertising revenue then the issue of full-text w/ ads vs. partial-text w/out ads is moot. The advertising will get before the eyeballs of readers in some way shape or form. It's inevitable.