5 July 2004

Advertising and RSS

I've been following BlogOn 2004: the Business of Social Media, which will take place on July 23rd in Berkeley, California. They have their own blog, which is full of gems about what's currently the hot discussion. Here's a bit on advertising and RSS:

"Doc Searls points out that RSS incorrectly comes across as a push technology, when in fact it's a pull. People who subscribe decide and not the other way around. Doc notes that it's a persistent misconception of the Net as an instrument of supply rather than an environment of demand.

Though that's easy to do seeing as there is so much digital content and people use the metaphor around the content where we drown in information but we use google to search through it. But RSS and the blogosphere together as an information model for users are more about discovery of things you wouldn't know to search for unless you knew about them to begin with. So messaging from supplier to users of the traditional sort is dead, and Doc suggests we quit wishing it back. Instead, putting the information out on RSS, where users configure it via RSS subscription, through the filter of the blogosphere is the model, with pull, mixed with authenticity, and community filter (sans spin).

Dave Winer has an aside to his thoughts on advertising and RSS:

BTW, two excellent feeds for watching for products as they are being invented are Gizmodo and Engadget. For a long time Gizmodo was the only act in town, and didn't have an RSS feed for many of the reasons Jeff Jarvis lists here. Then along comes Engadget, and supplies a feed, so all of a sudden Gizmodo does too. Guess what, now they both get links from my blog and many others when they run something that fits into our respective world views. In the old days a PR person would call you up, or you'd have to drag your ass to a press conference. Today, my aggregator does the drudge work, and I get to have all the fun.

To which, Doc replies:

How about equipping market demand by using RSS to notify suppliers of a customer's transient demand? For example, I'm in the market for a minidisc transcribing machine: a cross between the Sony MZ-N707 I use to record interviews and conference sessions, and the Panasonic RR-830 pedal-operated transcribing machine I use to play the sessions back after dubbing them from digital minidisc to audio cassette (a pretty clunky "solution" to a problem that's been around for a long time). I'm in the market for lots of other stuff too. So are all of us. What can we do to communicate that demand, actively but selectively? I believe RSS is a necessary but insufficient answer to that question. And that there's money to be made in making up the difference.

But discovery is not about broadcast messaging, the old metaphor before RSS+blogosphere. Discovery on the supplier end is about finding users for conversing, finding user needs and thoughts, using this feedback well, and returning useful products and services. Discovery on the end of the user is about filtering to get to products and opportunities that better match those user needs, including a user's community who may use some product that only has value or excitement to a network of users (read: community of interest). However, RSS+blogosphere are not enough, only one step on the road to figuring this out, and the conference discussion is an attempt to iterate to the next level of what we need to move forward."

Posted by Mary Hodder at 07:38 AM on July 03, 2004

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