RSS – A Publisher’s Perspective

Simon Waldman, Director of Digital Publishing for Guardian Newspapers, gave a speech to the World Editor’s Forum in Seoul last week and has posted a transcript on his blog. It makes for an interesting and thoughtful read on the impact of RSS from a publisher’s perspective:

RSS and News Aggregators: Opportunity or Threat?

To add my completely unscientific tuppence-worth, I believe that if you have a feed on your site, no matter what you do it will attract more traffic. Maybe this is more noticable for a small site like my own, but you should certainly not lose any traffic as a result of syndication overall. Feeds don’t just sit there waiting for subscribers to come along but, along with the articles therein, are propagated around the web thanks to the likes of, Technorati and Syndic8. More links to your site increases your Google page rank and the additional exposure, while perhaps not a big deal for a large and popular site like Guardian Unlimited, can only be a good thing. If people really like what they read they will come back for more. Say what you like about the Guardian, but it stands out from the crowd.

Simon doesn’t dispute any of the above but in the highly competitive and increasingly globalised arena of news delivery, no such organisation can afford to ignore RSS or the implications of syndicated content overall. As he says, it’s great for readers but wasn’t designed to make publishers’ lives any easier.

A final thought from me is that with Safari’s RSS support, we now have one-click subscription that is easy and works; increasing adoption of RSS in other browsers (e.g. Firefox and OmniWeb) and with the rapid evolution of high-quality newsreader applications such as NetNewsWire Mac users seem way ahead in embracing this new technology.

Thanks to Gillian Thompson at Macworld UK for sending the link along.

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