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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Feedworld 2.0 & SSE

Dick Costolo, CEO of Feedburner has an excellent post on how feeds will change the way content is distributed, valued, and consumed.From all feeds being derived from a blog,today,however,there are innumerable feeds that are unrelated to blogs. Commercial publishers have embraced feeds wholeheartedly; most web services and many search engines now provide subscribed results; and podcasts and videocasts are entirely feed-based while not necessarily tied to blogs. Feeds provide three critical benefits to any digital media:
1. A notification mechanism for updates to a specific channel of content
2. The ability to subscribe to content, creating a persistent link between publisher and subscriber
3. A semi-structured version of the content
While some complain about feed overload, some see a revolutionary impact of feeds in general and some see increasing business usage of feeds, the reality is that
we can leverage the benefits of feed structure to allow publishers to provide a feedback loop to the Web site; the feed can become input to content on the site. Since feeds are now widely searched, shared, and passed around via web-based aggregators or opml reading lists, it’s probably wise today to distribute a more limited collection of broadly subscribed feeds. Items are already pulled from feeds today in a variety of both publisher-friendly and publisher-annoying ways. Blog search, of course, pulls items from disparate feeds in order to deliver specific search engine results. Since the results themselves may be subscribed, we quickly see items from one feed hopping into another mixed feed in a way nobody would find contentious. Blog spam, to visit the other end of spectrum, also sees tools that take advantage of the simple structure in RSS/Atom feeds to enable hucksters to rip, mix, and ring the cash register by creating blogs that are seeded with content that will attract high cost-per-click ads to sit alongside the content. The blog spammer thus monetizes the item without involving the publisher, and perhaps more annoying, the original content is made to seem the property of another.
By following the atomic unit of content around as it’s ripped, mixed, and republished, the content is afforded the widest variety of distribution paths to reach the largest possible audience, which in turn creates the greatest opportunity for monetization
. Read his full report available here. Microsoft has published an excellent perspective about the evolving feed mechanisms. It sees feeds transforming from unidirectional To bidirectional Feeds. These simple sharing extensions (SSE) are a specification that extends RSS from unidirectional to bidirectional information flows. SSE defines the minimum extensions necessary to enable loosely cooperating applications to use RSS as the basis for item sharing—that is, the bidirectional, asynchronous replication of new and changed items among two or more cross-subscribed feeds. Just as RSS enables the aggregation of information from a variety of data sources, SSE enables the replication of information across a variety of data sources. Data sources that implement SSE will be able to exchange data with any other data source that also implements SSE. From the user's perspective, this means that you will be able to share your data (such as calendar appointments, contact lists, and favorites) across all of your devices and with anyone else that you choose, regardless of infrastructure or organization.Clearly we are unto a new world of feeds and it is amzing to see the advancements and transformations happening centered around feed mechanisms in the past two years and clearly more changes are ahead of us.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"