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Editor and Publisher Touts RSS Over Email

In the latest Stop the Presses! column at editorandpublisher.com, Steve Outing says that email is becoming an unreliable way for publishers to reach their audiences. This article is written to reach an audience of newspaper and magazine executives, but applies equally to the managers of companies who publish email newsletters.

Who'd have thought that things could get this bad? E-mail -- long touted as the "killer app" of the Internet and the best online channel for publishers -- is rapidly being decimated by spammers and virus writers. Yes, "decimated" is an accurate word. The evidence is quickly mounting that e-mail is no longer an efficient means for ethical publishers to reach subscribers....

Information design consultant Michael Fraase in a column last week wrote, "The spammers won. E-mail, for anything other than communicating with individuals you know already, is useless. ... Online publishers are struggling with the loss of the spam war, because e-mail was one of the best publishing tools the non-corporate media has ever seen."

Alternatively, Outing suggests summarizing information posted to a website by using RSS, the XML-based headline syndication standard. He says:

RSS allows potential readers of a Web site to view part of its content -- typically headlines and short blurbs -- without having to visit the content directly (unless they want to click through to it). Viewing is done with a piece of software separate from the Web browser, the RSS aggregator, which the consumer uses to subscribe to "feeds" produced by favorite Internet publishers. The feeds are constantly updated as the publishers add new content.

Of course, the easiest way to produce RSS feeds that summarize the content of a website is to use a weblog publishing tool to create the website's content in the first place. Tools such as MovableType, TypePad, Slash, and Manila are good choices, although their features and target audiences vary widely.

If you work for a company that produces an email newsletter, and you find that newsletter is generating less business recently, CTDATA can help. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss ways that you can migrate your message to a weblog-driven website.

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