Our friends at FeedBurner released their first market report yesterday (November 21, 2005) in a series called, "Feed For Thought." Other then the clever name for a series of reports on the state of RSS and feeds, the first report titled, "How feeds will change the way content is distributed, valued and consumed" offers a look into the state of RSS and I found it to drop several clues as to the direction that FeedBurner will be going in the near future.
The market report highlighted the following two feed trends which appear to be FeedBurner's strategic objectives:
1.) Leverage the Structure of Inputs
FeedBurner wants to continue to add take RSS feeds and manipulate them to add 3rd party features to its users and publishers. I found this paragraph to be extremely compelling:
"We can leverage the benefits of feed structure to allow publishers to provide a feedback loop to the Web site; the feed can become input to content on the site. There are unique capabilities that can be provided to the site as a function of performing transformations and enhancements to the feed derived from the web content. FeedBurner will be making several announcements throughout the winter regarding a thoroughly open approach to leveraging the structure of the feed order to add activity and meta-data feedback to the site."
A feedback loop? So feeds are going to be able to interact with the item on the website…very innovative! I cannot wait to see how this feature is implemented.
2.) A Focus on the Item
FeedBurner believes that an individual item not a feed or set of feeds is where the focus of feeds needs to be. FeedBurner states in the report that:
"We believe the choices surrounding feed focus are artificial because ultimately, it is the atomic unit of measure in the feed – the item – that is the most important and requires significant attention."
I could not agree with them more. In focusing on a feed item some issues may arise due to availablity of feed items and the ease to reuse the content. The report explains that there is fine line between content item misuse by other unauthorized parties and a good willed effort to re-purpose content (i.e. Tech Memorandum).
FeedBurner goes on to state in the report that it is their mission to manage syndicated content at a more atomic level by attaching "threads" to the individual item, they can then provide tools for its publishers of all sizes to track the threads as well as use the threads as a line of communication. This is pretty innovative stuff. Sounds like FeedBurner is banking on implementing interactivity into feeds via threads as well as offer even more feed metrics to publishers.
It is my belief that FeedBurner has a near monopoly on the feeds industry and feed usage in my mind is only going to continue to increase as publishers start to turn to circulation method of the future rather then the current manual delivery and circulation systems. Therefore, I have deemed, FeedBurner, "the Google of feeds." If they stay true to their mission as stated in their report they most definitely will be. What do you think?
Check out the post on FeedBurner's blog Burning Questions or for more blogosphere analysis on the first FeedBurner market report check out these posts on Niall Kennedy's Blog, Media Guerilla, vrypan|net|log, Collin vs. Blog, Read/Write Web and i-wisdom.
*FeedBurner flaming logo image from BurningDoor.com.