Time and again, you must have come across this three letter acronym while doing internet surfing. In simple terms, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary which refers to republishing an article that comes from another source like a website.
RSS refers to a means of publishing updates about websites. It may or may not include a summary or photos of the latest posting. However, those that offer summaries allow users to skim through the article for deciding later if they wish to access the website source. RSS feeds usually contain the title of the update that originates from the website. It also usually links to the website source.
Some of the benefits of RSS feeds is as follows:-
Firstly, it offers both readers and web publishers, latest updates about weather conditions, new movies and music, updated news and software upgrades. Thus, you can get the latest on offer.
Secondly, it saves on surfing time. This is because RSS feeds offer a summary of related article as well as saves the user’s time by helping him decide on which items need to prioritize while reading or browsing the net.
Thirdly, RSS feeds offers the power of subscription to the user. Users are offered a free hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators which can be changed any time as per their decisions.
Fourthly, it lessens the clutter in your inbox. Although your email is a requisite for enjoying the services of online aggregators but RSS never uses your email address for sending the updates.
Fifthly, RSS feeds are spam free. Thus, unlike email subscriptions, RSS never makes use of your email address to send updates thus, keeping your privacy safe from spam mails.
Sixthly, unsubscribing is hassle-free. Thus, unlike email subscriptions where the user is asked questions the reason behind unsubscription, in case of RSS you have to delete it from aggregator.
Seventhly, RSS feeds can be used as an advertising or marketing tool. Users who subscribe or even syndicate product websites receive latest news on both products and services without sending spam mail. This is beneficial for both web user as well as website owner since advertising becomes targeted or those who are actually interested in their products are kept posted.
Despite providing several advantages, there exist several disadvantages also of RSS feeds.
Firstly, users prefer receiving email updates over an RSS fees update.
Secondly, graphics as well as photos never appear in all RSS feeds. This is because of conciseness and ease of publication.
Thirdly, using RSS feeds can make the identity of source website a bit confusing. This is because RSS feeds never display the actual URL or even name of the website thus making it confusing on what feed a user is actually reading.
Fourthly, publishers can never take into account how many users are subscribed to their feed and frequency of their visits. With this, they may know the reasons why users unsubscribe to RSS feeds.
Lastly, since RSS feeds is a new concept, thus several sites never support it