26 March 2006

When your rss-feed needs an rss-feed

content is signal
advertising is noise

S/N is the ratio between these two

and the history of the web
is the battle between them

most webpages offer a tiny amount of S
in a sea of N
(and not just ad N
but also garbage links
and decoration)

websites with good content attract eyeballs

but eyeballs use bandwidth
which costs money

advertising tries to pay for bandwidth
by decreasing the S/N

Google's empire was built entirely
on minimizing the N-cost of text-ads
(but there's still vast room for improvement
in matching text-ads to page-content)

before the bubble burst
there was an insane competition for
eyeballs at any cost

(YouTube is repeating this gamble)

rss paradoxically tries to strip the N
to attract eyeballs
sacrificing the decoration
and the garbage links
(so that all rss feeds look alike
and you can no longer tell
what site you're visiting
without doublechecking the titlebar)

but inevitably the N creeps back in

as images and media and ads in rss
(i deleted the Huffington Post
because their rss feed included
an embedded sound file!)

until your rss feed needs an rss feed
of its own

but if we'd just
we could create simple clean
high S/N pages
that served as their own feeds...