It's a busy day in the web services world.
Two new OPEN web services were introduced today and I believe that both are game changing.
I just blogged about Alexa and that is certainly a big deal.
But the announcement that gets my juices really flowing is Feedburner's announcement of FeedFlare.
FeedFlare, at its most fundamental level, is a "data tag" in your RSS feed.
To understand what I mean, let me take you back to my four rules for the future of media:
1 - Microchunk it - Reduce the content to its simplest form.
2 - Free it - Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it.
3 - Syndicate it - Let anyone take it and run with it.
4 - Monetize it - Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk.
Item 4 is key here. Many content creators will not free and syndicate their content unless they can track it and monetize it.
RSS hasn't been very good at either of these. But Feedburner and others are working at changing that.
There have been numerous attempts to monetize feeds by putting ads in them. But guess what? Not many people click on them.
And it's tough to get advertisers to put CPM (brand) ads in feeds because there is no way to track and measure them. And no way to target them. So brand advertisers won't even consider RSS seriously until the tracking piece is solved.
FeedFlare is a footer at the bottom of every post in the RSS feed.
It looks like this in a feed (go to the bottom of the post).
Instead of just putting some useless tag in the feed, Feedburner did something much better. They put some really useful services, like email this post, post to delicious, number of links to this post, popular tags for this post, etc.
And this is all open, so anyone can create new services for FeedFlare. Hopefully there will be tons of them to choose from.
The key thing is that all this meta data that is getting created via FeedFlare is available via an API. That will power the tracking and targeting stuff that needs to get built so that advertising in feeds can be as powerful (or maybe way more powerful) than it is on the web today.
I have been telling all my friends in the TV/film business that they need to be syndicating their content, getting it out there, putting ads in it, and expanding their reach beyond the closed worlds of cable television and DVD.
They don't see the tools in place yet to support that model.
Well FeedFlare is a good start. It's not the total solution, but since its OPEN, it's something that can be built on top of. And it's pointing us all in the right direction.
And that's exciting. So excting that FeedFlare is in my Feedburner feed already. I hope you like it and use it.