How to feed a killer appetite with RSS


I only just got around to reading this piece from last week's Guardian by Charles Arthur (thanks for the tip Katie) and I wholeheartedly agree - mobile RSS could be a white knight for the UK mobile operators. The problem is I suspect they'll miss the opportunity (again) by calling it "mobile RSS".

Apart from the 5 geeks I know probably less than 1% of the population knows what RSS is and therefore when we start seeing it marketed in mobile phone stores and they give it a geek name, most people will just say "huh? whatever...can I have a shiny new phone for free please". What you want them saying is "I'd like to get the website's I like delivered to my phone in easily digestible chunks"...or something like that. Lots of people will like that and likely pay good money for it as Charles asserts but the trick is going to be in the marketing and with all due respect, the mobile companies don't have the best track record here. 3G went down a storm didn't it....ummm, no. High speed mobile Internet is slightly more accessible though and where most of them ended up but even that is less accessible than "Premiership football scores live". That's the Orange data service I use most. While we're on the topic of Orange, anybody else besides me see a big opportunity for Orange to use the icon above to make themselves the default mobile RSS company? Damn...we're back to the geek problem again. Surely some smart marketer can work this out?

Charles say "Just give us the phones. We know where the blogs are" and though a few of us do, a few others will need leading there but it's not that hard. I mean, just use some marketing nouse to do it and just don't call it mobile RSS.

[update] - good video from Piers explaining the problem brilliantly!

Link to How to feed a killer appetite with RSS | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology


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Comments (4)

  1. alasdairford says:

    from the company who gave us RPC over HTTP as well πŸ˜‰

    I don’t agree with Charles’ MP3 analogy I thnk that’s just plain confusing, I have had some success describing RSS as a web page digest, or no effort updates from your favourite web pages.  stress the no effort and people like it

    Mention blog, blogging or RSS by name and watch the soporific effects.

    Personally I’d like the MSPs to provide free access to feeds through an aggregator,  cost is a barrier to me using RSS in a personal rather than vocational capacity and I’m a convert, imagine the barrier if you don’t see the need.

  2. stevecla01 says:

    alasdair…I know, don’t get me started on RPC over HTTP. "We coulda been a contender" had we got this right πŸ˜‰

  3. Piersj says:

    Steve, I couldn’t agree more. Outside of ‘techies’ noone knows what RSS is. We surveyed people on an average high street in Sutton, Surrey recently and asked them ‘what is RSS?’ you can see the results on this Youtube video

    RSS needs some marketing to explain what it does!

  4. Absolutely agree Steve, the "RSS" moniker is massive barrier to its takeup on the web and "Mobile RSS" would no doubt fail big time because of the name. "Webfeeds" is a better name but still lacks something for me. I also think that the logo means nothing to most people. A radar? What’s a radar really got to do with it? Picking up little bits of stuff from the web? Being aware of everything that’s going on around you? None of it really does the trick.

    And oh boy, that video is classic. Makes me miss England…

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