The Upside and Downside of RSS
“The biggest thing RSS has in its favor is no spam filters on feeds,” says Jennings. In addition, O’Gorman told NCDM attendees, it’s virtually spam- and phish-proof, and can help boost your SEO rankings when optimized for keywords in your content.
But there are drawbacks. “With RSS feeds,” says Jennings, “when someone unsubscribes … that’s the end of it. You cannot recontact RSS subscribers because there’s no [e-mail] address involved.”
Perfect deliverability might sound great, but this advantage is offset by the limited ability to track and measure performance results. “While all of these activities are possible with RSS, only a few RSS marketing tools offer them, and most won’t integrate with existing e-mail solutions,” Hrastnick explains.
According to O’Gorman, individualized RSS is the latest generation of technology that helps marketers attain a more measurable environment. Via an individualized URL in each subscriber’s feed, you can track and measure subscriber actions to the recipient-level; this allows for behavioral targeting and testing. And that means marketers can take the next step by creating RSS feeds tailored to each subscriber for better traction and response.
Marketers still have much to look forward to on the RSS front. Hrastnik says: “When Microsoft comes out with Windows Vista and the new platform starts getting enough penetration, RSS will become a household tool—although most users still won’t know it’s actually called RSS.”