It’s Always Somebody’s First Time

February 12, 2008


Had a conversation with Tim yesterday about merchandising RSS feeds on a blog.

Nearly all blogs assume that the reader knows what RSS is and how to use it. “Come on!” you say. “Everyone who reads blogs knows what RSS is!” I doubt it. As of a 2005 Yahoo! whitepaper,12% of Web users knew what RSS was and only 4% knowingly used it. At that time about 30% actually used it. So for every person who said “I will use RSS”, 8 people used it in some simpler form…and 18 didn’t use it at all.

Whatever you sell, today is someone’s first time to buy it. Today you’ll sell to someone who’s never purchased business information or ridden a train before. Someone is buying their first car or computer, or subscribing to their first blog. If you respect that person instead of labeling them a ‘newbie’, you’ll approach it like ProBlogger. Notice – on a blog targeting bloggers! – the “What is RSS?” below the RSS feed icon.

Make it easy for me to buy from you the first time and, if you follow through and deliver value, I’ll keep buying from you.

Update: I’ve looked for a good “what is RSS?” definition. Nearly all of them answer the question from the perspective of a blogger, not a reader – classic “who-is-the-customer” confusion. The best I’ve seen is here at


2 Responses to “It’s Always Somebody’s First Time”

  1. Tim Walker Says:

    Russ — Check out this “What is RSS?” page from ProBlogger:


  2. rsomers Says:

    Nice! Beats About’s explanation. I’ll use this one going forward

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