Permanent link to archive for 4/28/05. Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's too early to give up

Advertising in RSS is just starting now, for all practical purposes. If we wanted to, as an industry, reject the idea, we could, by asking the people who create the software to add a feature that strips out all ads. Make it default to on. Then, that would force the advertisers, if they want to speak to us, to do so respectfully, by our choice. Create feeds of commercial information that we might be interested in, and if we are, we'll subscribe. If not, we won't.

Too often we forget to think in our own interest, and only remember the interest of the content developers. Well, this time around we're developing the content too. We didn't need them to create the medium, they're only recent arrivals. The usual RIAA whining about there being no incentive to create doesn't apply here, because we don't have an RIAA here. But let these ads gain a footing then they'll start complaining about their right to make a living off us. Better to shut the door right away before they get in?

If there isn't any money for them to make, so be it. Or let them find a respectful way to make it. This is the most sensible time to act, and it could be done relatively easily. Your opinions are welcome of course.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 4/28/05; 1:55:37 PM - --

Weblogs.Com support for RSS pinging

Today we have fully integrated support for RSS pinging in weblogs.com.

That's the news, the details follow.

What does weblogs.com do?

In 1999, when weblogs were still pretty new, but not so new that you could visit them all in an afternoon, it became useful to have a way to find out which blogs had updated recently. So I wrote a tool that would check the weblogs and when one updated, it would add it to a list of recently updated blogs.

Eventually there were so many blogs that we couldn't check them, we had to ask them to tell us when they updated, that's when the "pinging" started. Now the pinging process records not only the address of the weblog, but if it's provided, the address of the RSS feed for the weblog.

Popular services like Technorati, Feedster and Pubsub.com are built on the output of weblogs.com.

Extended pings for RSS

In December 2004, as an experiment, we implemented an "extended" ping handler that allows a caller to specify the address of an RSS feed in addition to the address of the weblog. This could make it easier for applications that use the output of weblogs.com to do interesting things with RSS. So far there's not been much adoption of the extended ping, but perhaps that will change now that the RSS url is included in a new version of changes.xml.

What's new in changes.xml

1. In the top-level weblogUpdates element, the version attribute changes from 1 to 2.

2. A weblog element may contain an optional rssUrl attribute containing the address of the feed if the ping was an extended ping.

3. These features also are present in shortChanges.xml.

What should I do?

It depends on who you are. If you're the developer of a weblog tool, you might adapt your tool to call the "extended" ping handler, since it provides more information to weblogs.com. If you're a user of a weblog tool, you might check with your vendor to see if your tool supports it, and if so, how you can activate it. If you have any questions, please post them here as a comment. Thanks!

# Posted by Dave Winer on 4/28/05; 10:15:16 AM - --



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