RSS kills traditional email lists in functionality

May 11, 2006 – 6:16 am

by Darren

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And in form, IMHO. The old process of using a Desktop-based client to retrieve your email from mailing lists is pretty cumbersome when you think about it. Using an RSS Reader makes your life a lot simpler. You can quickly look at tons of different feeds, and choose the messages you want to read. The choice is what makes the product superior to email. With email you sit by passively as a rogue marketer foists another unwanted message in your overcrowded Inbox.

RSS readers give you control. Control is what modern consumers want. People are accustomed to getting their way, and email, even with heavy filtering, quickly becomes a scattered mess. A blog with an RSS Feed represents a significant improvement in customer oriented communications. Customers can comment through RSS at FeedBurner, and can even subscribe to receiving new posts by email.

The only thing that threatens RSS is adoption, or lack thereof. It’s still a relatively small and sophisticated user base. That’s likely to change, though, as more companies make RSS applications that are free and extremely easy to use.

Based on laws against email spam, running an RSS feed in place of a mailing software might make a very good idea. No bounce messages, no claim of people not opting in, or any of the other hassles associated with old school “MajorDomo” style list management. RSS represents a chance to present a more professional message a cohesive marketing strategy to existing customers or potential ones. Email has a stigma that can’t be shaken, IMHO.

If you do decide to use RSS, make sure to track stats. FeedBurner is a good free service, but you can easily track incoming links through a redirect script, if you’re so inclined. The growth of your RSS subscribers should give you a pretty good idea of the overall health of your website.

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