Dabbling with RSS

Scot’s Newsletter is dabbling with RSS:

I can’t promise this will be a good use of RSS, that the newsletter will appear the way it should, or that I will continue this test beyond this issue of the newsletter. I can’t even promise that I will eventually roll out an RSS feed. In other words, this might disappear never to be seen or heard of again.

Scot goes on to ask that readers not switch from email to RSS because his advertising revenue is based on his guaranteed circulation of 41,000. Since I’m the contrary sort who would like to subscribe via RSS rather than email, I’ll just toss my two cents in.

Your assumptions dictate your answer. If you assume that circulation means non-bounced emails, then you’ve already precluded RSS as a revenue producing delivery mechanism. I think that all email based revenue models are suspect in view of the current spam growth rate. And the latest call for email postage is frightening. So I’d consider refinements of the revenue model.

  1. Redefine circulation to include RSS – Greg Reinacker has a solution for counting unique RSS deliveries. Something like RSSgenr8 could be used to convert the online issue to a RSS feed [found via Lockergnone]. This might not work in general, but I think that Scot’s advertisers are tech savvy and could be persuaded.
  2. Redefine circulation to include views from RSS – Distribute the newsletter table of contents via RSS to drive readers to the online newsletter and extend the unique RSS delivery technique to tie views to the originating feed id. This should provide a conservative view of RSS circulation.
  3. Get paid for ad click through – So it doesn’t matter whether the ad is in the email, RSS feed or website. This would be a big [and scary] change, but I think advertisers would welcome it.

Randy Cassingham added an RSS feed to This is True – Wierd but True News from Around the World several months ago. He also sees RSS as an antidote to spam. For me, it’s one down and many to go.

BTW, Scot’s Newsletter covers Windows, broadband, do-it-yourself networking, Microsoft, and the Internet. I’ve been a subscriber for several years. Recommended.