RSS is fast becoming part of the fabric on the web. When IE7 goes beyond beta, RSS popularity will only increase. The IE and RSS teams are now looking for feedback about which icon to use to represent feed-related stuff withinin IE7:
"There are five parts of the experience for feeds in IE7: discovering if a webpage has a feed, previewing the feed, subscribing to the feed to get continual notifications of new items, managing the list of the subscribed feeds, and reading the feed contents. The icon in this post is for the first two parts which shipped in Beta 1. The icon is visible in the IE7 frame to indicate the presence of a feed for the current webpage. Clicking on the feed icon takes the user to readable preview of the feed from which the user can subscribe to it.
The choice of what icon to use is challenging because it should be universally symbolic, but today there is no single icon for that represents feed. Instead there’s a variety of mostly orange rectangles with the words “XML”, “RSS”, “ATOM”, “FEED”, or “Subscribe.” "
I'd go for #4, but what I think about this doesn't matter a bean. We're asking customers for the feedback. Quite right. Tell them what you think.
I think Dave Winer makes it pretty clear where he sits on the matter:
"My feedback: a big thumb down. Use the white on orange XML icon and stop re-inventing."
"And about that orange XML button? Only 4% of the internet population ever clicked on it and half of those people said they either left the site or forgot what they did afterwards. We’ve got to make this easier for folks - we are losing 1/2 of the users who WANT to subscribe to content."
"My thoughts? Stop caring about it so much! We don’t have a unified icon for HTML or favorites, so why for RSS? RSS is, in my mind, becoming a fundamental part of the fabric of the web, and icons for RSS are so last year."