August 22, 2002
Open letter of request / suggestion to newspapers to provide RSS feeds

An increasing number of Internet "power users" are using various types of newsfeed aggregators to stay on top of the flow of information. I'm a recent convert myself (using Aggie)...

Having found a nice news-reader; now I'm on a different quest, one for native RSS feeds from news-providers! The benefits for the publishers are many:

Syndicating headlines is an excellent and cost-effective way of driving traffic to, and increasing brand awareness of, any website that publishes new content regularly.

Once a website produces an RSS file they are enabling others to syndicate their headlines, without any further work on their part. [...]

One positive side effect of producing an RSS file is that it can also be used by headline aggregation services like Moreover.com, who power news portals, specialist news search engines, business intelligence services or provide newsfeeds to websites. (Source RSS FAQ)

Basically, there aren't many downsides to producing an RSS feed except the little effort involved in the initial creation. Lots of help and tutorials can be found online for this. The benefits are obvious: website owners can include updated links to your top news-stories on their sites, readers can check for updated content easily and so on and so on...

Example:
Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten already provides newsfeeds to Palmpilots, through Java applets for for personal homeapgesand via WAP and SMS. (Also: with or without their knowledge, their english section is already available in RSS format through NewsIsFree.com). If they created a "native" RSS feed I would definitely subscribe, check it regularly and read their stories more often than I do now. I could imagine either a "top stories" feed and/or feed for their main topics Innenriks, Utenriks, Økonomi etc...

Examples of "official" native RSS feeds available today:

Sites I read more or less daily that I would love to see "RSSified":Sites that I visit occationally, but that I would subscribe to if they created a newsfeed (and hence, probably visit more often:More background information on RSS Syndication:My reviews of RSS Aggregator portals and software (so far):

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Comments

"there aren't many downsides to producing an RSS feed"...other than the destruction of their final revenue source (advertising) you mean?

I'm not sure what the business model of high quality online magazines such as The Spectator is, but I can't help feeling that making it possible to access their content without even visiting their site won't help it. You?

Posted by: Rich on August 25, 2002 02:06 AM

Rich, if you take a look at one of the sample feeds I mention in the posting, you'll see that what they actually provide is not all the content of their site, but rather a headline, excerpt and a "deep link" to the full story.

This way, I'd say, they are likely to get MORE income from advertising, since I wouldn't usually stop by for example Wired and Salon every day, but now I'll have their list of content fetched for me by my news aggregator, and I'll be more likely to click on and open some of the links if there's stuff that interests me...

It might not work for you, but I have certainly found my future way of reading news and other, regularly updated content (like my favourite blogs) online...

Give it a try; add a few sources (I'll post my list of subscriptions online soon) and see how it works for you! Feel free to post your comments here afterwards?

Posted by: andersja on August 25, 2002 02:35 AM

I have to agree with Andersja, RSS feeds are a perfect way to keep people updated. I personally run my own news page to keep myself updated on what interests me. (Freshmeat & Slashdot being the top ones). If I see something that interests me, I check it out.

Posted by: lucifar on March 20, 2003 04:46 AM
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andersja's blog: Update on "official" newsfeeds (August 23, 2002 05:28 PM)
"Just an update for your Norwegian RSS users out there: After posting my "Open letter of request to newspapers to"
: http://www.meberle.com/2002_08_01_LogArchive.html (August 29, 2002 10:01 PM)
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andersja's blog: More official newsfeeds (September 3, 2002 03:10 PM)
"BBC launches public beta RSS newsfeeds."

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