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Yahoo releases RSS usage report

Yahoo released an RSS usage report whitepaper (via Scobleizer) that has some interesting key findings (especially if you’re in the RSS business as my company is). The report (full PDF, one-page summary PDF) is part of a much larger Yahoo! Publisher’s Guide to RSS site which has some nice resources including tutorials on submitting feeds, promoting feeds, tracking feeds, and their advertising programs.

Some of the findings of the Yahoo! and Ipsos Insight RSS usage report were:

â?¢ 12% of users are aware of RSS and 4% have knowingly used RSS.
â?¢ 27% of Internet users consume RSS syndicated content on personalized start pages (e.g., My Yahoo!, My MSN) without knowing that RSS is the enabling technology.
â?¢ 28% of Internet users are aware of podcasting, but only 2% currently subscribe to podcasts.

This is the first RSS study I’ve seen the finally takes into account the great mass of people who are actually using or have seen RSS, but don’t know it. Even this study comes short in that regard because it’s becoming increasing difficult to actually track where and how the average user is viewing RSS feeds in use. For example, many web sites display their news and press releases on the front of their web site via RSS. There’s really no way to track the impact of this on the end user as there is no visible indication that RSS is being used. This is just one example, but you get the point. The Yahoo! study reports that this group of “unaware RSS users” is at 27%, but I’d say that number is conservative with all things considered.

The fact that 12% of users are aware of RSS is actually a great sign. Some may think that’s low, but when you consider the technology’s history and the progression of usage, I think 12% is higher than I would have guessed. The best part is this number will only increase.

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