eXtreme Content: Web Services Break Down Content Silos

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<P><STRONG>Sidebar: XML Gains Readers' Attention<BR></STRONG>One of the newest ways XML is being used to break down information silos is through "attention.xml," the standards for which are still being developed but could be out by the end of the year. Attention.xml is a way for new content from blogs or other information sources to be pushed to the "subscriber" when new content appears. It also includes links to other similar content, much like Amazon.com provides to purchasers ("purchasers of xxx also bought yyy and zzz").</P>
<P>Attention.xml, which employs RSS readers, also provides the content publisher with information about who is looking at what, the number of times particular content is viewed, the length of those views, etc.</P>
<P>"RSS is growing at a phenomenal rate," according to Eric Hayes, VP of development for You Software. Part of RSS' popularity is due to the user benefits, according to Hayes. The RSS reader provides the user with only new content from blogs, e-zines, or other subscription sites. By using an RSS reader, a user can unsubscribe to any content service that starts spamming him. Unlike unsubscribing to an email-based content service, the user doesn't provide his email. Rather than the sender turning off the subscription, the RSS reader turns it off, Hayes explains.&nbsp;</P>
<P>Yet, Hayes admits, providing detailed reader information to the publisher does give the sense that Big Brother is watching, so privacy issues will have to be considered as attention.xml standards are developed.</P>
<P>The next phase of attention data, according to Hayes, will be to link different RSS readers together so that one knows what you read on another. Then, rather than reading a couple of articles at work and scrolling through them again when continuing reading at home, the "home" RSS reader would pick up where the user left off.</P>

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