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Learning the Basics of RSS

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What is RSS? You probably have seen this three-letter acronym in
the course of your internet surfing. RSS stands for Really
Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary; syndicating means
republishing an article that comes from another source such as a

An RSS is a means of publicizing updates about websites. It may
or may not include a summary and photos of the latest posting.
But those that provide summaries (thus Rich Site Summary) allow
users to skim through the article so that they could decide
later on if they want to access the website source. The RSS feed
usually contains the title of the update originating from the
website. It is also usually the link to the website source.

What are the benefits of RSS? RSS gives benefits to both readers
(users) and web publishers. 1. It gives you the latest updates.
Whether it is about the weather, new music, software upgrade,
local news, or a new posting from a rarely-updates site learn
about the latest as soon as it comes out.

2. It saves on surfing time. Since an RSS feed provides a
summary of the related article, it saves the user’s time by
helping s/he decide on which items to prioritize when reading or
browsing the net.

3. It gives the power of subscription to the user. Users are
given a free-hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS
aggregators which they can change at any time they decide

4. It lessens the clutter in your inbox. Although your email
address will be required to enjoy the services of online RSS
aggregators, RSS does not use your email address to send the

5. It is spam free. Unlike email subscriptions, RSS does not
make use of your email address to send updates thus your privacy
is kept safe from spam mails.

6. Unsubscribing is hassle-free. Unlike email subscriptions
where the user is asked questions on why s/he is unsubscribing
and then the user would be asked to confirm unsubscribing, all
you have to do is to delete the RSS feed from your aggregator.

7. It can be used as an advertising or marketing tool. Users who
subscribe or syndicate product websites receive the latest news
on products and services without the website sending spam mail.
This is advantageous to both the web user and the website owner
since advertising becomes targeted; those who are actually
interested in their products are kept posted.

What are the drawbacks of RSS? The disadvantages of RSS use are
brought about by its being a new technology and some
user-preference concerns. 1. Some users prefer receiving email
updates over an RSS feed.

2. Graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds. For
conciseness and ease of publication, RSS feeds do not display
the photos from the original site in announcing the update
except for some web-based aggregators

3. The identity of the source website can be confusing. Since
RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or name of the website,
it can sometimes get confusing on what feed a user is actually

4. Publishers cannot determine how many users are subscribed to
their feed and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, they
would not know the reasons why users unsubscribe which could be
important in improving their advertising.

5. RSS feeds create higher traffic and demands on the server.
Most readers still prefer the whole update over a brief summary
of the entry, thus they still access the site.

6. Since it is a new technology, many sites still do not support

How do I start using RSS? There are two things needed: an RSS
feed and an RSS aggregator or reader. The RSS feed comes from an
RSS-supported website. There are also websites that provide a
list of RSS feeds of different websites. An RSS aggregator is
used to read the RSS feed from the source website. It scans and
collects data on latest RSS feeds from the worldwide web.


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  • Posted On June 18, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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