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Email ransom – time for RSS

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday February 7, 2006 )

I do wonder however, how AOL users will react when they suddenly stop receiving email they want to read from companies who refuse to pay the ransom. I won’t be pulling any punches in explaining the situation to them, that’s for sure.

So what to do? Given what *may* happen in the not too distant future; i.e. the tightening of filters to block even legitimate marketing messages from those companies not participating in the “GreedMail” scheme, it’s really time we all started exposing our users and clients more to the wonder that is RSS.

RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. Basically, it’s a way of publishing content through an XML feed which is then viewed via special software called an “aggregator”. It may sound a little complex, but it is very easy to implement.

It’s quite good timing actually. In my opinion, one of the key vehicles for getting RSS broadly accepted has been the delay of IE7. The new Internet Explorer will suport RSS, aka web feeds. Sure, Firefox and some other browsers support feeds, but all of them put together don’t have anywhere near the market share of IE.

Now is the time that you should be familiarizing yourselves and your clients with RSS. Be sure to have the infrastructure in place by the time that IE7 rolls out; I really believe you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t.

Learn more about RSS and creating RSS feeds

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AOL has announced that they are commencing to charge companies to send commercial email to AOL users under a certified email program. They’ve touted this as a means to control spam.. hrm; I don’t think so. Sounds like a massive revenue raiser to me.

Supposedly, the charge will be $2 to $3 per 1,000 messages. AOL says the difference between sending the pay for play email messages and standard email will be that it bypasses their filters. All sounds fairly innocent, unless AOL decides to start tightening up their filters even more, seeking commercial sources that send *legitimate* mail on a regular basis and blocking them.

The company AOL have partnered up with for this strategy is GoodMail. I’m sure as hell not going to be paying to have my mailouts sent to AOL users, a substantial number of whom are compulsive subscribers and seem to not know the difference between “unsubscribe” and “report as spam”. I’m surprised that some of them even know how to switch a computer on. Yet, I digress..

But, my personal disappointment and bitterness aside, it is a very clever way to generate bucks and I guess this is only the beginning. I’m reasonably sure GoodMail and AOL will do extraordinarily well out of it and in case you’re thinking that companies won’t pay the ransom, some notable organizations have already signed on to AOL’s scheme according to this article on USA Today.

I guess it won’t be long before many other ISP’s see dollar signs and implement similar systems; followed by the marketing executives of many big players feeling there’s no other option but to pay the ransom. There’s been some talk of Yahoo! jumping on the bandwagon, but the last I read was that Y! was not taking part…. yet.

I do wonder however, how AOL users will react when they suddenly stop receiving email they want to read from companies who refuse to pay the ransom. I won’t be pulling any punches in explaining the situation to them, that’s for sure.

So what to do? Given what *may* happen in the not too distant future; i.e. the tightening of filters to block even legitimate marketing messages from those companies not participating in the “GreedMail” scheme, it’s really time we all started exposing our users and clients more to the wonder that is RSS.

RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. Basically, it’s a way of publishing content through an XML feed which is then viewed via special software called an “aggregator”. It may sound a little complex, but it is very easy to implement.

It’s quite good timing actually. In my opinion, one of the key vehicles for getting RSS broadly accepted has been the delay of IE7. The new Internet Explorer will suport RSS, aka web feeds. Sure, Firefox and some other browsers support feeds, but all of them put together don’t have anywhere near the market share of IE.

Now is the time that you should be familiarizing yourselves and your clients with RSS. Be sure to have the infrastructure in place by the time that IE7 rolls out; I really believe you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t.

Learn more about RSS and creating RSS feeds



 

 
2 comments for Email ransom – time for RSS
  1. Michael,
    This question isn’t about AOL’s e-mail ransom, but it’s about submitting RSS feeds.
    I looked at RSS Specifications and saw the very long lists for both “RSS Submissions” and “Blog Submissions”. I don’t have a real RSS feed for my site yet (still working up to that), but I have a couple of side blogs which could use more exposure. Since any feed, including a blog feed, is an RSS feed, what’s the difference between the two lists?
    Obviously, I could submit my blogs to the Blog Submission list, but what’s to prevent me from submitting my blog feed to the “regular” RSS Submission list as well, just for the additional exposure?
    I checked a few sites from the RSS Submission list and did not see anything specifically excluding blog feeds. In fact, at least two of them (Daypop and Technorati) specifically accepted blog feeds.
    I’m assuming the Blog Submission list must just be directories more specifically targeted towards the personal Blogosphere, whereas the RSS Submission list “should” be more targeted to “real” RSS feeds (information, news, articles, etc.).
    But there’s nothing preventing me (short of a specific exclusion of blog feeds in their “rules”) from submitting my blogs (which are personal experience along a very specific subject line, rather than just personal ramblings) to every site in both lists. Is that correct?

    Thanks!
    Debbie Baus

    Comment by Debbie Baus — March 6, 2006 @ 6:13 am

  2. Hi Debbie,

    I can’t see any problem with submitting your blog feeds to RSS lists and RSS feeds to blog lists, just as long (as you stated) you follow any guidelines the directory/engine provides.

    By the way, if you’re looking for a decent freeware RSS editor to use in conjunction with your sites, check out FeedEdit: http://www.banham.cc/feededit.htm – nice and easy to use :).

    Comment by Michael Bloch — March 7, 2006 @ 4:03 am

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