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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Newsfeeds, a Business Basis, Marketing and Monetization Opportunity

Business Thursday: Newsfeeds have become mainstream and they are a basis today to distribute and syndicate information, keep in touch with customers and for social networking. This all has started with a development by Netscape in 1999. The basic reasons for the development have been the handling of the information overload and to evade the increasing spam problem. Today newsfeeds are used everywhere. Every common browser has a feed reader implemented and newsfeeds are used for various social networking purposes. Examples are personalized startpages for general information purposes made available by most search engines and specialized services and the use of newsfeeds to distribute information and media with widgets. By this newsfeeds are a must have for every business and publisher.

Today there are two main newsfeed standards available for general purposes. The up to date version of RSS and the Atom Standard. The RSS Standard is available by a Creative Commons License and Atom is an internet standard maintained by the IETF. Both standards are suitable for media and to distribute audio and video files by podcasting. Beside the common standards there are a couple of newsfeed standards for particular purposes like GeoRSS for local information and OPML to syndicate multiple feeds. There is an ongoing development, which is worth to be observed. New developments at the social media space e.g. are lifestreams, which enable people to share their web activities.

The basis to distribute information and participate in syndication is an own newsfeed. To develop or start a newsfeed there are two ways, developing a feed based on the standards mentioned above or to use a feed generator. Feed generators are available by popular feed services like FeedBurner and on the web by forms. After a feed has been developed, it should be checked with a feed validator. This is recommended for both, self developed feeds and generated feeds. This will assure that everything is correct and may give hints for improvements. A popular feed validator for both Atom and RSS is Feed Validator. A broad range of general and further information about newsfeeds and tools is available at RSS, Newsfeeds and Content Tools.

If a feed has been created it is time to promote and share it. Basicly this is done by placing a link at homepages and submissions to newsfeed directories and search engines. Doing some social networking for sharing a newsfeed is the next step. For example a widget may be created to share a newsfeed in another way. Last but not least there are opportunities to monetize newsfeeds. Google now is offering monetization of newsfeeds by AdSense and at FeedBurner. Further services again are available at RSS, Newsfeeds and Content Tools.

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