Just read a report commissioned by Yahoo into the current use of RSS. It includes facts and figures about your typical RSS user as well as discussing the various tools used to read feeds etc. I was quite surprised to see that the use of tools such as Newsgator and NetNewsWire is not that prevalent. Could it be that people don’t want to install yet another application in order to read a bunch of feeds?
The section titled, “Awareness and Usage of the XML Button”, was particularly interesting. It’s on page 9. Looks like I am not the only one who thinks that the XML button is not the best way of subscribing to a feed. According to the report only 17% of Internet users have seen the XML button on a site and only 4% have ever clicked on it. It’s important to define the term “Internet user” used in the report. The vast of majority of people that use the Internet are not technical so it is unreasonable to expect them to know what RSS is or what XML means. It is this reason why subscription methods should be developed that make it easy for this type of user to subscribe to feeds. I’m a developer so I know what RSS is and I know what the button is there for but I would not class myself as your typical Internet user.
It’ll be interesting to see how this develops, if it does, over the next few months.