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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

While RSS end-user adoption has been relatively slow, marketers have jumped at the chance to use this new internet channel increase their online sales.

If you're new to the world of RSS --- RSS is a simple technology that allows you to deliver your online content directly to your subscribers, other websites and the search engines. It helps you improve your content delivery, as well as increase your online traffic and reach, and even conduct business intelligence more easily.

RSS content is delivered through so-called RSS feeds, which are just simple files that carry your online content. Each of these simple files contains multiple "stories" that you may want to deliver to your audiences, called "content items". A content item can be anything … an article, a blog post, a whole newsletter issue, a sales letter and so on.

But there is more to RSS than simply getting your content out.
One of the fields of RSS marketing is also News Mastering, which allows you to:
[a] take multiple third-party RSS feeds,
[b] mix them together,
[c] filter your new mix using various keywords that you're interested in,
[d] use the mix and your filters to create a new stream of content, pulling together all the content items from dozens or hundreds of other RSS feeds … but only the content items that match your filters.

You can now take this stream of content and either subscribe to it yourself, if for example you want to find out immediately what the market is saying about you, what it's saying about your competitors, and what your competitors are doing themselves.

Or you can take this stream of content and display it on your website to:
[a] enrich the visitor experience, by giving them access to the latest and most relevant líst of content from your field, such as the latest news in the field you are covering … and do so automatically;

[b] by doing so also making your website more search engine friendly, thus increasing your rankings.

But up until now doing all of this was quite complicated and really wasn't accessible to most internet marketers.

But no longer so ...

Yahoo! Pipes Changes The Landscape
Yahoo! Pipes is the latest offering from Yahoo!, finally bringing the premise of News Mastering to the mass market, and actually putting it on steroids.
The general idea behind Yahoo! Pipes is to allow its users to "easily" connect various internet data sources, mix them together in various ways, add additional functionality to them and create a new single output, pertaining directly to your settings.

While this may sound alot like the standard RSS aggregation and filtering we mentioned above, it actually goes much further than anything on the market in enabling you to manipulate outside sources and come up with a new content output, all of this in a visual programming environment.

The "old services" simply allowed you to combine various RSS feeds, set some basic rules on how you want to get content from them, such as limiting the output to only the content items that match your keywords and removing duplicates, and get a new single RSS feed from them. You could then subscribe to this RSS feed in your RSS Reader (for business intelligence purposes) or use it to display its contents on your website.

But Yahoo! Pipes goes much further.

[BTW - in the Yahoo! Pipes glossary, a pipe is an output you create from mixing and manipulating various content sources]

a] Aggregate and Filter any XML Feed
Aggregate any kind of XML feed, not just RSS, which means that if your application provides an XML data output, you can now aggregate that data feed with other different feeds you might be interested in, and create a single RSS feed that you can subscribe to in your RSS Reader.

Just as an example, imagine having an RSS feed that brings you various data from your organization in a single output, such as the latest salës data from your webstore, latest account of company expenses, notifications of new employees, important team communications, your website visitor counts and so on. It even lets you combine other pipes into a new single pipe.

[b] Content Manipulation
Apply various filters, such as a keyword content filter to give you only the content you're interested in, sort, count, truncate, join or even create your own filters. It even lets you add your own input fields.

For example, you could create a pipe that aggregates all the RSS feeds from top online retailers, and include an input field that allows you to enter the name of the product you want the latest deals on, and then creates an on-the-fly output with the latest deals for this product. Essentially, it allows you to add simple or advanced search functionalities to filter out only the content you're really interested in ... from hundreds or even thousands of content sources.

[c] Social Applications
Browse through pipes created by other users to either use them as an end-user, or use their pipes to create your own new pipes. It of course also allows you to make your own pipes public and even provide them as a service to end-users.
There are really almost countless opportunities of what you can do with Yahoo! Pipes, and various new applications will surface when the service gets some milage.

The best part is, you can either create your own application that you use when the need arises from the Web, or an RSS feed that you subscribe to in your RSS Reader, to constantly deliver to you the content that you want. Or you can use the RSS feed to display that content on your website.

All of this is done through a visual interface, which might be daunting for the average user, but shouldn't present a problem to marketers that either have the time to learn the ropes or pay a little something to a person that already has.

How Marketers Will Profít

If you're thinking of how you can profit from Yahoo! Pipes as a marketer, there really are countless opportunities.

[a] Provide highly relevant streams of content on your website to enrich the visitor experience.
[b] Become a preferred access point to relevant and latest content in your industry.
[c] Build applications that allow your visitors to easily access the content they're interested in.
[d] Take your business intelligence activities to the next level. And much, much, more ...

With all the capabilities available through Yahoo! Pipes, countless new opportunities will certainly arise quickly. The best part is, you can now more easily take advantage of them.

About The Author
Article by Rok Hrastnik. Get the easy way to mastering RSS marketing today. Click here now to get all the details on how to make RSS marketing work for you and help you increase your online profits:


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