Do Your Customers Want RSS Feeds?

Email has been the standard method for pushing information out to customers for some time and will continue to be. However, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) will grow in use. People’s email boxes are getting full, spam is increasing, companies want to charge for email… RSS is looking pretty good.
RSS, like a web site is comprised of those who create the content and those who read the content. The easiest way to create RSS feeds is to let your web/blog publishing system create them for you each time you update your web site. I use
To read RSS feeds, use a service like, My Yahoo, or othersservices. There are online (hosted) RSS readers like the ones I’ve listed just now and there are RSS readers that is software installed on your computer. Microsoft Outlook can read RSS feeds (with add-on software), Thunderbird can read RSS feeds as can other programs which are dedicated RSS readers.
Now that we’v covered that bit of RSS 101, how can you use RSS in your business?
The NY Times writes that although the use of RSS feeds is still in its infancy for most consumes, it is catching on.
NYT writes By giving merchants another free way to reach consumers, these alerts serve as a hedge against the recent move by AOL and Yahoo to start charging for some commercial bulk e-mail deliveries. But more important, retailers see them as a way to reach consumers who are growing weary of commercial e-mail.
“I don’t know how many e-mails you get a day, but I can’t keep up,” said Jon Nordmark, the chief executive of eBags. “Rather than delivering a slightly relevant message to a person’s mailbox, this allows us to get customers very detailed information directly.”
The system, in the case of eBags at least, appears simple enough. Starting later this month, consumers who visit either the company’s main site or its shoe site,, will see R.S.S. icons near the sites’ products, with messages offering users regular updates on those products. Once a user has indicated a preference for, say, black, size 11 Cole Haan shoes, he clicks on the icon telling the company to send the alerts to his personalized page, then confirms the request by signing into that page.

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