For example, what if eBay had to contact only some of its customers. Why not have a separate feed for every customer? This is the same thinking that went into another idea I had -- overnight shippers setting up separate RSS feeds for every package they handle. This way, I can subscribe to packages I'm sending or receiving, and my RSS aggregator (Newsgator, etc.) alerts me to changes in each package's status. To keep a lid on the number of RSS feeds a shipper must run, the RSS feed for each package would expire a few days after the package arrives.
Use of RSS in such a one-to-one fashion does raise other questions, however. For example, can existing RSS-enabled systems reasonably scale to this level of service, and what would it mean for networks including the Internet? Also, what happens if malware finds its way onto users' systems? Could it, unbeknownst to the user, change the settings of an RSS subscription to poll a malicious feed -- and what can be done (such as securing the RSS client) to prevent that from happening? Finally, could widespread use of this approach be the backdoor towards flipping all existing e-mail solutions on their ear, turning them from SMTP-based store-and-forward systems to RSS-based alert-poll-and-retrieve systems (alert my mail server of an RSS feed that has something for me, poll that feed, and retrieve the message)? Running e-mail this way would make it very difficult for spammers to cover their tracks.
There are still interesting services to create in this area, including personalization, security, and other tools surrounding RSS. Plumbing is the area getting the most VC attention these days. When a VC says they're looking into RSS, they generally mean infrastructure.
Media: This has grown up with the readers. Some of the existing players are now supporting RSS feeds, and the blogging phenomena has thrown up some new stars (Boing Boing, Instapundit, Endgadget, etc.).
Business: RSS is still in the plumbing phase, so business and commerce concepts, such as advertising inserted in RSS feeds or charging for subscriptions are just now starting to appear. Some companies are also starting to poke around consumer commerce - Dulance, for example, is providing RSS feeds of price search results, so you know when prices change on items you've been eyeing. Others are exploring syndication of business data, or using RSS as a business communications standard.
The other day, I had the pleasure of communicating with Stonyfield's Chief Blogger -- a full-time position. I learned why the company's five blogs are important.
First, Stonyfield is a company that is committed to healthy food. That's a refreshing thought in this day and age.
Chris, the Chief Blogger, told me this:
"It's a means of continuing to build relationships with our customers and to 'be real' with them. Blogging is a way to convey a message, engage our consumers in a 'conversation' and to express our corporate personality,"
When it comes to corporate blogging, moooove over because Stonyfield is leading the pack.
Fascinating new vs. main media dialogue happening on Mary Hodder's Napsterization (via Scoble).
Mary scooped other media by blogging about the AskJeeves/Bloglines deal over the weekend. Frank Barnako of CBS MarketWatch commented on Mary's scoop as indicative of the threat blogs represent to traditional media. But Frank's editors added an accusatory headline, Bloggers won't keep a secret ... though she'd never been asked to... (heck, the ASKJ/Bloglines dance had been well known for months...).
This is a question I’ve been asked a lot over the last month or two. When InsideBlogging originally launched, it was with the simple purpose of helping companies learn to blog.
As we did so, and as we talked to people, we realized there were certain services that companies would come to expect - even if they haven’t already said they need them.
As a result, we’ve come to a picture of this “all encompassing” view of what it is we do, even if it isn’t yet reflected on the “official” part of the website.
Here is my personal view on what it is that we do:
Consulting: Every great idea starts with a little brainstorming, a little evaluation, and a lot of failed ideas. We help companies streamline this process. Sometimes that’s generating new ideas, but more often than not it’s simply listening to what companies have to say, and pointing out what they already know (at least in terms of a first blog implementation).
Build, Integrate & Implement Blogs: Step 2, after figuring out what companies want, is to figure out the right software solution, integrate an existing design or hire a designer to build a new one, and to get the software functioning tickety boo. Obviously this includes all kinds of questions around syndication, comments and trackbacks, but that’s what we’re here for. (read on...)