Webpronews.com is featuring an interview with Nooked CEO Fergus Burns to which I'd like to draw your attention:
Here's an extract:
Q: Do you foresee a time when the number of subscribers to a company's feed will surpass the number of email mailing list subscribers?
A: Yes, we do. We see RSS a complimentary channel to Email, rather than as a replacement.
From a publisher perspective, email marketing has been simple - get people to sign up, push message out and measure the conversion/commercial impact. Publishers have also been working to a monthly/quarterly schedule which acts as an 'excuse' to get their message out.
This has changed dramatically due to Spam, CAN Spam Act, Email email virus, etc. Consumers are moving to a scenario where they will only use email for communications with individuals and groups within a closed environment. Email newsletter view and clickthrough rates are declining.
RSS gets around a lot of the problems of newsletter publication schedules, Spam, opt-in, Virus, etc - it's a clean channel, which is 100% controlled by the consumer. If the consumer subscribes, you have created a communication flow, which can reward the publisher, as long as they don't break that 'trust'.
Q: Do you believe feed marketing and email marketing can coexist? Please explain?
A: Yes - they can co-exist. I think it will take a few years for people to move over completely. In the interim you need to have a hybrid solution - email gets sent out to people, but included is a link to the RSS feed (probably a unique url feed for that person). Over time the publisher will see the shift.
RSS 2.0 is quickly becoming the definitive RSS standard, all because of its support for the enclosure tag. The enclosure tag is an optional field in the RSS 2.0 specification that allows the feed publisher to include a link to a file. The file can be just about anything.
Businesses have seized the opportunity, including tutorials, streaming audio lectures, PDF proposals, Power Point presentations, podcasts of sales meetings, and advertising portfolios among other traditional uses for RSS.