TECH TALK: The Death and Rebirth of Email: Solution Ideas (Part 4)

One of the casualties of the current problems with email has been the email publishing industry. Writes Chris Pirillo: If the world was a perfect place, e-mail publishing would still be a viable model for getting the word out. But marketers and morons (two groups that are far from mutually exclusive) have flooded the space with noise. So now, instead of spending our time on crafting quality content, we waste it with endless bickering. We now have to fight with ISPs, begging them to let our messages pass through without being filtered or flagged. We have to go out of our way to educate anti-spam solutions on our product to make sure we don’t get blacklisted. We have to explain to our subscribers how someone between here and there is possibly blocking the transmission, possibly troubleshooting their software, trying to figure out if there’s a utility that’s keeping them from receiving the stuff they asked for. Ugh.So, how do we surmount these ever-maddening hurdles? [What is] the solution? The Rosetta Stone of online data. RSS.

Concurs John Robb: E-mail publishing is on the ropes. It has been one of the major engines of revenue on the Internet for tens of thousands of legitimate publishers. Who is the white knight that will save the e-mail publishing industry? It should be Microsoft. Here is sobering thought: given Microsoft’s update capability, the company could put a basic RSS reader on 30 million desktops by the end of the year. What a shot in the arm for the publishing world that would be.

The use of RSS in email does not stop with email newsletters. Adam Curry takes the use of blogs, RSS and the publish/subscribe model further: I like this model best because it requires both sides of a conversation to commit to the relationship and simultaneously allows for either side to break it off if desired. Just unsubscribe if you’re on the receiving end, and stop publishing if you’re the sender. Pub/Sub also makes email lists and groups simpler. Just let new subscribers actually subscribe to your message flow!

Vishwanath Gondi summarises Adam Currys idea: I send an email to my mom with a link to a pub/sub outlook plugin and the feed that I publish privately for her. After receiving the email, my mom downloads and clicks on the plugin, which creates her own blog on a server with private pages/feeds for each of her friends. It also automatically subscribes her to her private feed that I publish and creates a folder in outlook. When she sends a mail to one of her friends, it gets sent through smtp and also to her blog. The mail sent through smtp includes the link to plugin and the friends private feed, so it is viral in nature. Other problems like encryption and finding new personal feeds can also be solvedIf this pub/sub model becomes successful, most of the data will reside on the servers. Central can be of help with the client interface because there is very little local data to be stored.

Tomorrow: Solution Ideas (Part 5)

TECH TALK The Death and Rebirth of Email+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.