Sunday, April 24, 2005

RSS Feeds and the Online Seller

As an online seller there is a new and recent tool that may be very helpful for you. It is called RSS Feeds. This is a technical topic and it will take some explaining to describe what it is and how it works. It is not that hard to understand, it is that like many things that fascinate technical people (geeks) it can make you yawn. But if used by an online seller it can be helpful.

I will cover this over a series of post and also present various resources that online sellers can use to help sell their goods and services. Or even to purchase goods to resell.

What is RSS Feed?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is written in XML (a specification). That is all it is. It allows content to be distributed that includes headlines, summaries and links. Feeds are like channels. And these channels are viewed by an RSS reader (there are many of them).

What is an RSS reader?

A News Reader is software that allows you to have the latest news headlines, in RSS format, delivered straight to your desktop. You can find one here Google Link.

I don't won't to spend too many words on the geek side of RSS. Because I can and do often go on and on about it. It is really cool and I love learning about it. To start with you can read these articles that explain it very well. RSS Feed's Introduction to RSS

I want to spend this post telling you why you should use RSS as an online seller.
  • RSS will increase your selling activity's reach. By creating an RSS feed of the items that you sell you can increase readership and distribution.

  • Most online sellers have a small audiences / customer base, but with time and regular updates audiences and customer bases grow. Online sellers may never have more than a few hundred customers, but the people who return regularly are generally interested in what you have to sell.

  • As a seller, you can also increase your reach as a buyer. The items that you buy can be researched, and even bought using RSS Feeds.

  • RSS allows users to opt-in, so it saves you time because you do not have to search for information. It is pulled to you, by you. As opposed to being pushed by a publisher or content provider.

How do I find the RSS feed(s) I am interested in?

Feeds are available wherever you see the orange XML logo on the site. <--This for example is the RSS Feed for this blog.

Here are a couple of links to some feed generators for a few selling sites. Note the XML logos.

eBay feed generator

Amazon feed generator

I will end here and give some time to digest this info. If you have any suggestions of ways that you have found as an online seller to use RSS Feeds I would love to here about it.

Also please note that I added a new news feed from Google to the blog, it can be found on the side bar to the right at the bottom.

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