Email, RSS & Push Communications

By Greg • Apr 24th, 2006 • Category: Business, Entrepreneurship, General, Ideas, Marketing, Media, Music, Podcasting, Technology, Trends

With all of the noise around RSS being the “email killer,” I find it very interesting that publishers are really starting to embrace the fact that as popular as reading feeds are with feed reader apps like NewsGator and Blogline’s, the masses just aren’t showing up yet. People still prefer email as their primary form of push communication. It’s still a well known statistic that the first thing people do when they go online is check their email. As a result, marketers will always embrace this medium.

Naturally, as a result of the lack of mass adoption of feed readers and traditional RSS subscription methodologies, we see the rise of a new generation of email services that allow individuals to subscribe to blogs. Using these services, users can receive their preferred RSS based content via email. The entrants in this space include rssfwd, Feedburner, Feedblitz, Squeet, Yutter and Zookoda, at least these are the ones who I have seen and read about the most. They all offer unique features and are geared toward either publishers, users or both. All of them seem to be on the rise in popularity. Again, they all cater to the core user behavior of email.

Being in the ESP (Email Service Provider) space, many people often ask me about my opinion on RSS and it potentially having a big effect on the email marketing industry. My response has pretty much stayed the same. I say embrace RSS, I certainly have. I think the true “shift” and mass adoption of the medium will come seamlessly to the masses. Where you and I may love to use our feed readers today, we may never consider them again once Windows Vista comes along or other streamlined apps with the plumbing of RSS built into them. To the end user it will just mean clicking on a new kind of standardized button to get an desired result i.e. a subscription to a particular content publisher.

With that embracement also comes innovation, and we plan on fully embracing RSS at Blue Sky. We see great potential in the application of RSS communications, and its ability to deliver text, HTML, audio and video. We also clearly see the landscape of social media and the impact that it has on marketing communications. Even with the rise of these new mediums, email marketing isn’t going anywhere, I can tell you that with 100% certainty. Email as a marketing medium and a way for company’s to communicate with their customers efficiently and effectively is very much alive and well. Beyond simple customer communications, email also converts and generates revenue and a tanglible ROI.

RSS will only compliment the push techology and communications space. As RSS continues to roll out as a mass medium, there is speculation on the whole concept of iRSS or “individual RSS.” This is the whole concept of having individual or unique RSS feeds per subscriber. The benefit of this is being able to deliver and create 1 to 1 targeted feed content to each subscriber, utilizing personalization and other dynamic attributes. The true scalability of this is yet to be realized. That said, we will soon see publishers and media networks begin to send hundreds of thousands of unique feeds within a specific network or feed reader ecosystem.

I think that email will continue to be the dominant push technology and that RSS will provide a complimentary channel for user preferences. Email will always act as email, message received, message sent, alert me if I want to know when I receive a new message and send along messages as I request them to be sent. As consumers of information, and in the context of RSS, one will also simply customize their browser window to display alerts or notifications of “subscribed” content – whether those alerts be via an instant messager or a sidebar app. At the end of the day, the concept essentially is the same, its the proactive syndication of content to the desktop or mobile device. That said, email will always be a component of mass messaging in the marketing world, and it will always represent the foundation of marketing in the electronic world.

Greg is
| All posts by Greg

Leave a Reply