I read this RSS releated post today on Dead 2.0 blog. I must say this is one of my favorite technology blog. It was great to re-confirm how far away we (people who work in software) with people in real world who are supposed to use the tecnology. I loved the way Dead2.0 used term “Vanish” in context of RSS and his explaination. I remember reading one of the design books where books took power steering as one of the best designs because user never notices it working for it explicitly. RSS needs to be like that. I love RSS.
It is interesting from the perspective of usage pattern for the task. Before RSS, the only way I can read content is I have to visit individual sites. RSS solves the problems where I can read the feeds by getting updates etc but now user has to sacrifice the experiences that web site provide. I think what we need to do here so people get advantage of RSS without losing benefits of great experience.
Here are few things I was thinking about ….
App Integration with RSS Reading experience
Today RSS feed reader has some standard UI that allows users to read it. But there is nothing content publisher can do to make that experience better. We could solve this Ability for RSS feed to say what their preferred reader is. This might be just a custom tag in RSS that specifies link to the reader. Link can point user to get richer application. User goes and installs the reader if they want it.
Problem it solves…
- User does not have to be stuck with what default UI and can get richer experience if they wanted
Problem it does not solve…
- It is not integrated experience.
- User still has to go out of his way first time to get the reader.
- Different application can build different usage semantic and will be confusing for users.
It would be great if there was an ability to RSS feed to specify the app they want to use for reading. That app gets executed when browser hits that RSS feed. This could also be done via Add-in model where browser provides the default viwer application and content provider provides addin that enhances that experience. This way browser can keep control over the usage sementic and keep it in the same ballpark. It means we only have platform for DATA part of the RSS but maybe we should have plugin based platform for RSS applications that closely integrated with browsers.
Got to figure out Way to Monetize RSS feeds.
I could think of 3 ways to let content publisher make money
- Showing the ads RSS has as they are
- Controlling the Ad experience in default RSS reader (special tag for Ads that get displayed on the side of the page etc)
- We could also think of ways to get LIVE search ads in the news reader based on the content (This wont work for the people who make money off their own ads but might be interesting for free content)
There might be people who make money off of the subscription based content. That means they need to identify who the owner is no matter what the reading model is. This means we have to support authentication of this content and possibility obfuscation.
Licensing: Viwer App having to licensed
I can see people actually making money off of partner deals such as Newyork times recommends “Foo” reader build by BAR company. They push people to use FOO through their RSS and they 10% of every new license that comes because of nytimes feed. This might be weak.