Email, RSS and the Future

Lawyers seem to be wondering what the RSS fuss is all about — those that have heard of it, that is. All the while they and their clients go on fighting the spam wars in email, at increasing cost with decreasing efficiency. One emerging strategy for commercial email users to counter spam is “Goodmail”, whereby security is promised for a fee per message. There’s currently a big brouhaha about whether big email providers like AOL and Yahoo should go this route. But the clearer voices, it seems to me, are talking about RSS and the opportunities it provides for commercial messages to reach willing audiences and only those in a secure and spam-free fashion.

Paul Hoffman, head of the Virtual Private Network Consortium (the international trade association for manufacturers in the VPN market) has this to say in his blog, LookIt:

Many of us see blogs as just the first driver for everyone to be able to read syndicated feeds on their computers. The next major wave of syndication will be one-way business communications, some of them personalized. Do you want ads from legitimate dealers of some hobby you have? No problem. Do you want notices from your bank when your online statement is ready? No problem, and the feed will be fully legitimate. If we’re lucky, it will even be digitally signed, and possibly encrypted (although that will probably take years to get right). There is lots of room for creative growth for syndication, and having a standard like Atom will help lay the foundation for it.

If MoveOn and other organizations want more assuredness of delivery of their message, they should be sending their message in channels that don’t have spam.
LookIt: The future of some email may not use email

Lawyers pay attention.

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