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Marketing Without E-mail: Introduction

written by John Botscharow,
[contributing columnist]

I want to start a serious discussion about marketing without email, focusing on using channels. For those of you not familiar with that term, by channel I mean an RSS feed that goes direct from a database on a server to your computer. The only think that you the reader need is a piece of software called a news reader in order to decode the specially coded feed in XML,which is a simplified form of HTML.

The advantages of RSS feeds is that they do not go through any spam filters, so you and the publisher can rest assured that the content you want, which he is providing, will get delivered. Secondly, as far as I am aware, there is no spam. You cannot receive a feed without asking for it. Readers can subscribe or unsubscribe very easily without any participation by the publisher. The reader is in total control of what feeds he or she receives.

RSS was developed and has traditionally been used as a very efficient and highly effective syndication tool. By syndication I mean making content available from your site so it can be used, in summary form, on other people's web sites. It's a way of sharing your articles without resorting to email and this is what my new Headlines channel is going to do for me. But that assumes that the site using the content has the ability to translate XML code into HTML. Setting up that service is not difficult, but it is not a general practice as of yet. More on the subject of syndication in the near future.

What has happened in the last six months or so, is the development of a community of publishers that were tired of all the problems associated with email publishing and who wanted an alternative way to publish their newsletters. I am speaking of Q