Is that a Podcast in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Further insuring the cell phone's position is the center of the universe, FreeRange Communications today introduced FreeNews, an RSS news and weblog reader for mobile devices, phones and PDAs. With FreeNews, people can get feeds of Web information—such as news, sports, weather, stock quotes, or company news—directly on their phones.
MarketingSherpa, in a report about RSS, concludes "It chills our blood when we hear email marketers and publishers blithely state, 'I'm thinking about switching over to RSS entirely!' Oh no. Please don't. RSS is worthy of testing, but it's not an email replacement and it never will be." We'd agree. It's not a replacement but simply another communication channel.
Comparing RSS to email, MarketingSherpa offers three drawbacks to RSS and gets all three wrong leading us to believe if the writer has ever used RSS. First, MarketingSherpa claims HTML graphics can't be served through RSS. Wrong. While it does depend on the RSS reader used, any graphic can be served. Any publisher that sets their feed up to serve the full contents (and perhaps even just excepts - check with RSS gurus on this) of the article rather than an excerpt will serve exactly that including any image that is contained within the article. This includes graphic ad banners as well. See Gothamist's feed (http://www.gothamist.com/index.rdf).
Taking advantage of the FCC-free Podcast medium, condom maker Durex has made a deal with popular podcast show, Dawn and Drew, a Wisconsin husband and wife podcast team. The deal with the PodcastAlley number 2 ranked podcast involves "unscripted X-rated banter" as reported by Ad Age. Omnicom Group's Fitzgerald & Co. SVP and Chief Media Officer (how's that for a fancy title?) explained approach to the buy to Ad Age, saying, "Nobody wants to get slapped with an FCC fine. ... The thing about condoms is that young adults look at them and are kind of concerned about how they’re going to feel, and they’re a little embarrassed to spend a lot of time in front of the store display. By showing people interacting with the brand makes it seem like something you don’t need to be embarrassed about."
A podcast is an audio file that is automatically downloaded to any MP3 player via subscription. Even though one of the first statements on the Dawn and Drew website (and many other podcast related sites) makes clear podcasts are not only for iPods but for any MP3 players, many, including Ad Age, still classify Podcasts as something you download to your iPod.
Put a business guy and a tech guy in one room and it's just a disaster waiting to happen. In a classic commercial versus Utopian discussion of whether ads should be placed in RSS feeds, Calcanis and Winer go at it dissing barbs left and right. Winer doesn't think Calcanis has the "right" to have a business that involves RSS nor does he think Calacanis has the "right" to pay bloggers (with income generated by ads in RSS feeds) to publish their content. Accompanying the insanely questionable notion of that logic, Calcanis tells Winer, "You can cry about it all you want, but this train has left the station and you're still at the ticket counter bitching about why you even need a ticket."
The conversation is largely pointless. It's just version 37.8 of the same old "free versus pay" bitch session that's gone on since the first ad was scrawled on the wall of a cave. The conversation will never be resolved. There is no answer. People hate ads but they also hate to pay for content. RSS is simply the current whipping boy until the next new delivery medium comes along. One thing is certain. Where there are people, there will be ads. Get over it.