Comments: The Power of RSS

Source: Internet
Author: User
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There is a joke: a female wolf chasing a white male rabbit, male rabbit from several fork between the escape, the female wolf followed. Unfortunately, the female wolf was stuck, the male rabbit raped the mother Wolf quickly escape, the mother Wolf after breaking free to chase the male rabbit. The public escape to a marsh edge, the swamp side has a recliner, on a newspaper, there is no way to escape, Gang improvisation, in the swamp side played a roll, turned into a gray rabbit, and then lay on the chair, cover the newspaper, pretending to be tourists. The mother Wolf chased to the swamp side, no white rabbit, then asked the rabbit to see the White Rabbit after no? The Gray Rabbit opened the newspaper asked: "Is that the rape of the female wolf Rabbit?" The mother Wolf, immediately became very ashamed, said: "So soon to the newspaper?" ”

The joke is entitled "The Power of the media", after a few laughs, do you think that, from newspapers, radio, television to the Internet, mobile communications, the replacement of new and old media, not only changed the public access to information and lifestyle, but also bring business opportunities for enterprises, and even spawned a new batch of industries. Because for modern people, information is just as indispensable as fresh water, and the media is acting as a "conduit". However, there seems to be a new shift in the advent of RSS technology, as you can add the right amount of sugar in the water, ice, or even the taste of a little sweet mineral water, or hundred distilled, as the information of the users finally have the absolute choice of information, in other words, everyone can personally design their favorite "newspaper "To  you need, this is the power of RSS."

First, what is RSS?

What exactly is RSS? It can be "rich site Summary (Rich Web Summary)", "RDF site Summary (RDF Sites Digest, RDF is a Semantic web technology)", or "Really Simple Syndication (really easy aggregation)". Because the technology comes from different sources, different technical groups have different interpretations of it. But in simple terms, RSS is a simple way for sites to share content with other sites (also called aggregated content) and is often used for news and other sequential sites, such as blogs. An introduction to a project may include a full introduction to the news. Or just an extra content or a brief introduction. Links to these items are usually linked to all of the content. Web users can use the RSS-enabled news aggregation tool software to read Web content that supports RSS output without opening the Site content page.

About the evolution of RSS There are many different legends, although the birth of the place was regarded as "can not afford the fools" and was abandoned, but from the rise of the 2004 blog, RSS Technology has aroused people's attention again.

Second, RSS only for "blog" and live it?

RSS leads to a public access to information mode of revolution, namely by the industry known as "push Technology" to "pull technology" evolution, according to this clue to review the history of RSS, it can be roughly divided into two stages.

The first stage is the emergence of RSS, the "Push Technology". As early as Ms launched IE 4 o'clock, in order to compete with the then rival Netscape, launched a similar news channel with Netscape. And Netscape quickly responded by defining a language that describes news channels, which is RSS, which references Dave Winer's scriptingnews format specification. Since Netscape has been on the decline since then, it has not released a formal RSS spec (only a 0.9 release). Microsoft also launched its own CDF (Channel Definition Format) data specification for IE, which is very close to RSS. Microsoft is trying to use news channels to turn "push" technology into an application mainstream and to contend with Netscape. However, the prediction is that the "push" technology has not found the right business model, and along with the emergence of other types of network characteristics, but also increasingly unable to show their own advantages. The status of the news channel in the browser eventually came down to the Western hills and finally disappeared in the subsequent version of IE.

The second stage should be the RSS development period, that is, "pull technology" embryonic. Think of it more like a "pull technology" because the user's collector is controlled by a specific time interval or specific operation, updating information from the Web site that provides the information, whether IE or Netscape's news channel does fall into the trough, the previous RSS has not been abandoned by industry insiders. Especially in recent years, blog from a professional group began, gradually became the hottest new topic on the network. RSS has become the most basic way to describe blog topics and update information. So the RSS technology was taken over by the company Userland, a blogger/geek Dave Winna (Dave Winner), and continued to develop new versions to suit the needs of the new network applications. The new network application is the blog, because Dave Winna efforts, RSS upgrade to version 0.91, and then reached the 0.92 version, and then in a variety of blog tools have been applied, and is supported by numerous professional news sites. In a wide range of applications, many professionals recognize the need to organize, to develop RSS as a generic specification, and further standardize. A joint team redefined RSS based on the new generation of Semantic Web technology RDF, published RSS 1.0, and defined RSS as "RDF Site Summary." The work did not communicate effectively with Dave Wen, and Dave insists on further developing RSS versions in the direction he envisions, and does not acknowledge the effectiveness of RSS 1.0. RSS began to differentiate into RSS 0.9x/2.0 and RSS 1.0 Two camps, which also caused widespread controversy among the professional population.

So does RSS ultimately stay in the warm embrace of the blog? Perhaps the major portals have come to understand early on in an era of eye-catching goals: any technology that wins the attention of the public will eventually lead to a successful business model. The first emphasis here is on public acceptance and recognition of new technologies, although it will be a while to determine the right business model, but with popularity, winning profits may be "everything, just the east wind." QQ So, Google so, so smart network heroes of course will not miss RSS.

So, Yahoo, BBC, CNN, Amazon, ebay and other foreign news sites, as well as the network code, Blogchina and other Chinese sites have launched RSS news channels, and all the standard blog sites also support RSS. Identifying these is also very simple, in all the sites that provide RSS channels, you can find an orange XML icon or RSS icon, which is linked to the RSS feed summary file address. These channels can be easily added to a personal collection via a dedicated RSS reader (described in detail later).

In addition, some sites also use RSS technology for the current popular "search" services icing on the cake. For example, "my Yahoo! The RSS aggregator is added to the personalization service to automatically feed back to Third-party Web site content. In this way, users who visit Yahoo can link the content of other sites and update them simultaneously, and Yahoo also consolidates its own content, such as news, weather, sports and stock information, through RSS. By contrast, Google has been more sophisticated, and since the start of last year's acquisition of, Google has allowed millions of users to synchronize their online diaries with other sites. And in order to compete for the future standards, Google tried to put aside RSS, the alternative is to use the atom format instead of the current widely used RSS. However, regardless of atom and RSS contention, the end of the flower who home, to RSS technology as the representative of the "pull technology" has shown its mainstream trend.

In addition, the company uses this technology to release video news, and Apple uses it to inform users of its latest music advice, which is more indicative of a majestic around RSS.

Third, RSS, what should I take to love you?

If you are still puzzled about RSS, then you will have a deep feeling after use, or even one of the uncontrollable love it.

First of all, users need to install RSS reader, there are many excellent foreign software, such as RssReader, Freedemon, SharpReader, ispace desktop and so on, there are such as Zhou Bo Tong, look at the world and other software.

Once installed, you will need to subscribe to your favorite content on your RSS-enabled Web site. Take the Tenkine RSS channel (Http:// as an example, after logging in:

1, found in the page has the XML typeface icon, clicks wants to subscribe the channel the XML icon (if has already given the URL link, may duplicate after jumps directly to the 3rd step).

2. Copy the URL in the IE Address bar in the new page that appears.

3, add as a collection of RSS reader channel. Taking Ispace Desktop as an example, click "New Channel" in the toolbar, and paste the URL address you just copied into the newsfeed address in the "General Information" tab of the pop-up channel Properties window, and then click OK on the Group tab to select the appropriate channel group. Ispacedesktop will automatically connect to the channel to get the RSS feed list.

In accordance with the above method, users can fully customize their own news channels, in the era of advocating personalized service, RSS to achieve everything is as IBM said on Demand (On-demand), with the power of RSS, it seems to quickly capture the hearts of the public.

The internet age is destined to be restless, as the emergence of every new concept touches some people's sensitive business acumen. As a result, the technology of blogging, RSS, Wikipedia and so on, which is defined as Web 2.0, makes the whole internet come to a ready. However, while many bloggers are defending their blog territory and arguing about whether blogs should be commercialized, they may not have thought that internet investors have turned their eyes to RSS, which has been renewed by blogging. In the savvy minds of investors, blueprints are being sketched from RSS to business models. With the power of RSS, does the existing Internet pattern really shuffle as they wish?

One, the debate behind the small orange label

As more and more blogs and major web portals support RSS, more and more pages are in a conspicuous place with an orange tag labeled with XML or RSS, as if the original colorful of the Web page added a cindy-fu-style beauty mole, quickly become a fashion symbol on the internet. However, the debate on RSS from the beginning of its birth does not seem to stop, even if the RSS is not the same as the rise of the blog with unlimited scenery, the most intense controversy is from the personal portal bloggers.

Wu Yu in his blog "RSS will be the next garbage refuse to use the 10 reasons for RSS" article, in the blogger raised the controversy about whether RSS is useful. The 10 reasons for this article argue against the futility of RSS, among them, he thinks his reading way is a mass reading, will not choose personalized, pointing to RSS before the proud personalized service, and other bloggers also to the image of the analogy for their own interest in the price of the house, stocks or cars and other news, Users may also occasionally care about "sister Furong", which is still the traditional portal model of the mass reading mode. However, another group of bloggers, represented by Keso, said that RSS feeds the choice of information back into the hands of the individual, making the freedom of information choice more expansive than the individual. Although this freedom is relative, the real choice is still in the hands of the media, but still can not deny that RSS makes netizens have more power of speech.

If the debate from personal portals is more about RSS from pure technology or its acceptability, the portal and its investors consider more of the business value of RSS. Some people also pointed out that after the RSS, netizens may only need RSS reader, rather than IE, through the update channel rather than enter the Web site to access the portal, you can  they need, which will affect the portal, especially the portal site advertising revenue. and Keso that the use of RSS can make personal portal and portal win. Portals can use RSS to strengthen the integration of information outside the portal, to enter the field of personalized information. and personal portals, including blogs, and so on, with the help of RSS can more easily enjoy the information services provided by the portal. Second, the personal portal should be built on the basis of the portal, because the current network environment, or the future of the network environment is good, connected is the inevitable trend. Finally, he pointed out that RSS currently has no impact on the portal, the impact on the traditional forum is obvious. And for the portal, the traditional forum to take away a large part of the flow of the portal, the portal is really worrying about the outside of those strong cohesion of the circle, how to attract them is really difficult, RSS does not have any technical content, on the contrary, may be the portal more hope to retrieve cohesion with RSS.

Whatever the end result of the RSS debate, designing an RSS business model and applying it is the most persuasive, and FeedBurner appears to be a surprise to both sides of the debate, and a new model of information service is seen.

Second, the temptation of the FeedBurner model

Come near FeedBurner

FeedBurner, a startup company based in Chicago, was founded in February 2004 and gained a Portage Ventures 7-digit venture capital in July 2004. The company's commercial positioning itself as a channel provider and RSS preprocessor, as a third-party (third party) service, creates a business model that is entirely based on RSS channels, not content providers (Conetent Provider), or General Service providers ( Service Provider, but in the content and service to establish a container mode of channel services, as readers/subscriptions, is to obtain information channels, and as a content provider, it is the channel of information dissemination. On top of this container, they offer a variety of value-added services such as traffic statistics, personalized processing, and the creation of their business models, such as Amazon's ads, RSS ads, and so on.

Company CEO Dick Costolo thinks their business model is mainly based on the RSS advertising model, where users can embed Amazon ads in RSS via FeedBurner services, and if these RSS ads click on Amazon to generate consumption, Users can also get a certain amount of revenue through the Amazon affiliate program. At present, FeedBurner has got at least one patent on the RSS advertising model, and is developing RSS advertising technology similar to Google AdSense based on relevance content, and will apply for the relevant patents. In addition to the RSS advertising model, FeedBurner RSS traffic statistics is also a potential service, many users use FeedBurner is because it can be observed through the RSS Access blog. At the same time, for FeedBurner, a large number of data statistics is also very valuable information, these are the market research and analysis of target users of the value of advertising resources. Finally, through partnerships with other rss-related services such as Flickr,furl, as well as with content providers such as media, newspapers and other websites, further develop business opportunities on the channel.

In simple terms, this business model consists of three aspects:

The first is advertising, which is inserting ads in RSS. The main idea is that some content publishers may be happy to make money from their own content, FeedBurner can play a similar role like Google AdSense.

The second area is value-added services, such as providing more detailed statistical analysis Services, and the upcoming Total Stats Pro is one such service. I have previously introduced FeedBurner's RSS access statistics, and for those publishers who care about readers ' preferences, the value of RSS access statistics is self-evident, which is as important as the television ratings survey, or the click analysis of online ads.

The third area is to provide management services for large RSS feeds. Some customers need to manage their large number of RSS feeds efficiently, which feedburner can do professionally.

Looming new network information supply chain

According to the traditional classification standard of network industry, network Information service can be divided into three levels: foundation layer, application layer, content and business layer. This classification method is not only very hierarchical, but also shows the network industry collaboration and service relationship sequence, similar to the traditional industry supply chain in the upstream and downstream relationship (as shown in Figure 1 left). Among them, the foundation layer includes network equipment, operating system software, communication environment, access service and other network industries necessary for the operation of the basic facilities, the service object is the application layer, such as Cisco, telecom operators, ISPs and so on. Application layer provides network software, network design, database, website development and other technical application services, for content and business site services, such as IBM, HP, ORACLE, Microsoft and so on. Content and business layer are directly oriented towards end consumer services. Content is the media platform services on the Internet, that is, ICP, including the integrated portal, vertical portal, online community, online trading agency platform, and so on, are intangible goods service-oriented transactions, there is no physical transfer, the source of revenue has service fees and advertising fees, such as Yahoo, Sina and so on. The business layer namely the online store, the content and the business layer because all is through the Internet directly to the consumer to provide the tangible or the intangible goods and the service and obtains the income, therefore belongs to the Internet Commerce category, however, the FeedBurner's appearance has changed the existing "supply chain" to some extent, The content provider and the channel service provider are separated, the consumer obtains the information through the channel service provider rather than directly from the content provider, on the other hand, the information channel service provider wins the profit through the FeedBurner business model.

Fig. 12 The supply chain of network information service

However, there are some problems with this new business model:

1, a small number of users. At home, the popularization of RSS technology and the development of the market is in the Enlightenment period. According to the world is not fully calculated, the current domestic RSS users around 200,000, and the global user estimate of about 10 million. However, the scale effect of network economy shows that only when the number of users is large to a certain scale, the marginal cost of the network economy is actually zero, so that more profits can be gained. So the success of the RSS business model remains to be seen.

2, a single business model. Although after FeedBurner, such as Feedsky and other followers, but still seems to jump out of the "advertising" the circle of profit, and this is the original intention of the RSS with the back. If you put aside the statistical services provided by the FeedBurner, will it return to the Web portal advertising flying in the sky? This is a new business model to emerge.

3, the distribution of benefits in the supply chain. The distribution of benefits between information channel providers and content providers is related to how far this business model can go. Because, the main source of information or such as portals, such as content providers, even if the blogger can pen, write more blog, but leave the portal their own information acquisition has become a source.

So while FeedBurner's success has won the house in the calm Internet industry, the success of RSS is still a long way from being difficult.

Third, the RSS to ask where the road?

In the RSS industry chain, the following are areas for investors to consider: advertising, search, reader, analytics, aggregation portals, RSS applications in the business and service sectors.

Advertising: With the popularity of RSS, advertising is bound to enter this field, and there are already many companies are trying to do this. In addition, the analysis of RSS content to provide contextual advertising content of the technology will also be an important investment in the field of RSS advertising, but there is no doubt that Google has always been one of the largest potential competitors in this field;

Search: RSS Search has only just begun to develop, there are many opportunities for innovation, which is the important investment point;

Reader: RSS reader exists between the client and online reading two camps, and the future of the reader in addition to more user-friendly subscription, there are two ways to continue to develop: one is to strengthen the processing capacity of information to help readers cope with the information overload caused by RSS, let RSS reader become an important tool for personal knowledge management, Second, in the future to enhance the ability to deal with RSS ads, like the current Firefox, Maxthon and other browsers continue to strengthen the advertising shielding function;

Analysis tool: The reader analysis tool based on RSS seems to be the most backward one in the whole value chain at present, and the commercialization of RSS can not be separated from the reader's analysis. Although FeedBurner is currently in the leading position in this field, but the trend of RSS centralization will inevitably require more RSS reader analysis tools;

Aggregation Portal: RSS Standardized machine recognizable format makes the dissemination of information and aggregation become a more easy thing, so by aggregating different RSS feeds, it is possible to easily build a news portal to become a traditional gateway competitor;

RSS applications in business and services: The value of RSS is not only in the news, it can also play an important role in the delivery of business data, so there is a certain amount of innovation and investment opportunities in the field of business and service RSS applications.


As Keso said, "RSS business opportunities, just like the 1997 Im not sure," even though it is now more inexplicable, but at least we still believe that it exists. Even software giant Microsoft seems to be aware of the technology that has been snubbed by them and is now in a stunning power, so they announced in mid-June last month that the next-generation Windows operating system Longhorn will have the ability to support RSS syndication news. In this respect, feedburner and so do not know is the joy of the mainstream company to RSS support, or the fear of another one of the formidable opponents of the game to come. (End of full text)

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