The RSS Aggregator “Subscribe Here” Button Propogation Problem

Jeremy Zawodny has an excellent post about Dave Winer’s “The solution to the Yahoo problem” which I completely agree with. The issue here is aggregation services/sites placing subscription links everywhere. You can see an example at CNN’s RSS page – tons of My Yahoo! buttons.

I’m guilty of this myself. At one point I had 4 different buttons on this blog in the attempt to woo one-time visitors to quickly and easily add me to the aggregator of their choice. And those links worked, that’s why they’re so popular.

I can understand that Dave Winer might want to work towards standardization, it’s a great goal, but right now those little buttons are doing more to evangelize RSS than most RSS evangelists. Would he be happier if Google started playing up Atom syndication of their search results?

Some of the discussion on Jeremy’s blog has veered towards registering a MIME type and I think that’s probably the right direction to steer. But right here, right now, those little buttons are calling to people and helping spread RSS through the myriad of aggregators out there. Explain to me again why that’s a bad thing?

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