It’s The Feed Stupid (continued)

I found this post by Dave Winer regarding the use of RSS feeds by major media companies at pc4media.

Dave makes a number of interesting points but i don’t agree with most of them. Contrary to Dave’s argument, I think RSS will reduce the traffic to the site. I am seeing that on my blog. More and more of my readers read my blog posts in a feed reader and do no visit my site unless they want to comment. I don’t think that’s bad because the traffic is shifting to another place, but its still traffic. Traffic is just a proxy for audience. Audience is what matters to a media company. I agree with Dave that RSS can increase the audience. But i also think RSS will reduce web site traffic.

I also think ads will absolutely be a big part of feeds. Dave doesn’t like ads in his feed. He says, “I get the value when I read the full article, and there I don’t mind an ad, but the aggregator window is mine, I paid for it, I paid for the Internet connection, like seeing ads before a movie (a practice I abhor) it doesn’t seem fair for you to put ads in my space.” I don’t get that argument at all. Why is it OK to put ads in his browser window but not his feed window? Because he paid for the feed reader but not the browser? Come on Dave, that’s silly.

So, where do i come out on all of this? First, RSS is an important new distribution medium for content of all kinds and any media company, large or small, needs to support RSS agressively in order to maximize its audience.

Second, RSS will be an ad supported medium. And I think it will be an extremely efficient ad supported medium because the feeds a person subscribes too will give the advertiser a lot of information from which to target ads. And that is a good thing for everyone.