Could the Death of RSS Harm the Web?

Google AnalyticsRSS, or Really Simple Syndication, helped blogging to explode.

It made updates quick and easy to find.

In fact, an RSS feed technically determined whether a site was a blog or not.

But RSS has proven to be controversial and has been phased out by some sites.

RSS Problems

While RSS can’t be blamed for all content theft, it certainly made scraping a lot easier. RSS could also be blamed for discouraging site visits and discussions.

Both Facebook and Twitter disabled RSS, preferring to control update feeds themselves. If RSS becomes sidelined by more powerful services and sites, the web could be severely affected.

Burying the Open Standard

RSS was never perfect, but it was open, giving developers total freedom. Products like Yahoo! Pipes and FriendFeed relied on this. If services discontinue RSS feeds, compatibility will be ever more limited.

Already, many bloggers also rely more on social media and less on RSS. While the loss of RSS may be inconsequential for some, it hints at a more closed-off web where people are less able to control how their content is used.

So will the death of RSS affect us? Arguably, yes, if indirectly. And the future of RSS really depends on whether anyone cares enough to save it.Keep up with posts like this by subscribing to our RSS feed, or following @WhoIsHosting on Twitter.

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