Earlier today Alex wrote a post titled “Innovation Is Not Over, This Is Just A Digestion Phase” commenting that “daily we are faced with examples of gaps in what we created that need to be patched. RSS is still not mainstream…”
RSS is still not mainstream. Is it a wonder why?
First of all, a lot of the basic data is either not available in RSS or isn’t easy to access. Take the New York Times Bestsellers list for example - no RSS feed exists for it. For Amazon top sellers, there isn’t an RSS feed available for consumers, it has to be accessed via an API.
Secondly, even when an RSS feed is available it’s rarely presented in a user-friendly way that’s simple to benefit from. Generally users have to get how to use RSS readers in order to derive value from the technology. Take Blockbuster’s New Releases for example. Once the RSS feed is located you’re greeted with “In order to view RSS content, you need an RSS Reader.”
The digestion phase involves packaging the innovations into products that deliver tangible end-user utility.
Enter our new Popular SmartLink Widgets - over 50 automatically updated widgets with personalized and top lists from favorite sites across the web for books, movies, music, recipes, stocks, and more. Here’s the SmartLink Widget for Blockbuster’s New Releases:
I can simply install this onto my blog and it will be automatically updated with the latest releases thanks to the RSS feed that syndicates the content.
Additionally, each object in the widget contains a SmartLink that instantly provides access to the best and most relevant information for that object from across the web. So as the widget is automatically updated with new content I can instantly discover and explore it in depth to learn more.
Here’s where things get really cool. Individuals can create, just as simply, SmartLink Widgets for their Amazon Wishlists or Netflix Queues. Just drop in your information once and hit “GO”.
A SmartLink Widget is then created out of your Amazon Wishlist and once integrated onto your site or blog it’s automatically updated whenever you add an item to your Wishlist. SmartLinks are inserted for every item as well, again enabling people to instantly discover more about the object.
The same is true for your Netflix Queue. Andrew created a SmartLink widget for his queue and inserted it into his sidebar. Now readers can see what Andrew’s about to watch, comment and make recommendations, and discover more about each movie through the SmartLink. Here’s Andrew’s Netflix queue, it’s automatically updated as he adds items to it:
Additionally, bloggers can easily insert their Amazon Affiliate ID during the creation of the widget and all links to Amazon will include it. Because the widgets are automatically updated they provide bloggers with constantly changing, and always popular or relevant, content that’s monetized.
If you like the sounds of all of this, check out the new Popular SmartLink Widgets. They’re dead easy to install and are a great implementation of a number of cool technologies. And as always, keep the feedback coming - it’s what helps shape these products.