Big Companies Don’t Get RSS

RSS is a great way to share information. By sharing information, you can make your information source more valuable, attract more readers, and reach more people. News organizations get it. Web publishers get it. Bloggers get it. But most big companies and organizations don’t get it.
Take sports scores or stock data. They should be ripe for being syndicated by RSS. But you can’t find either, legally, as an RSS feed. Sure you can “take” some of this information from sites like Yahoo. And to some extent, Yahoo lets you do this for personal use. But if you are a Web developer, you can’t just take this information and build your own service.
So why aren’t sports scores and stock data available as RSS feeds? My guess is that the people that own this information think it is too valuable to be given away for free. Boy, are they missing the boat. They should be paying more attention to their real goals, and not worrying about collecting a few dollars by selling raw data.
Take sports scores, for instance. I’m sure that organizations like Major League Baseball don’t want to have an RSS feed of baseball game scores because they think it would hurt the fees they collect from news sites that pay for the information. But what if they provided a “next day” RSS feed where you could get yesterday’s scores? Web developers could jump on it to build sports sites and fantasy league games and such. Small news sites could feature the scores. What would this do? It would build interest in the game, that’s what. Interest would lead to attendance and viewership. And the people paying them for up-to-the-minute scores would still do that because “next day” is not good enough.
How about stocks? Why doesn’t the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ provide a free “closing bell” RSS feed. This wouldn’t cut into their revenue since “closing bell” is not any good for a major news site. But I, for one, would love to build a “play the market” game. Small news sites could feature the data as well.
I know there are tons of ways to get stock info on your site. But they are either little applets that don’t give you real access to the information, or they are semi-legal rips of Yahoo feeds.
It isn’t just sports and stocks, either. RSS feeds of books, music, television schedules, or even movie showtimes could be beneficial to the original owners of that information. Web services developed around them would sell more books and CDs and raise awareness of shows and movies. Right now you need to pay for this information. But information is not their true product.
Hopefully these large companies will realize that they are hurting their main goal by trying to make a few dollars off of what should be free.

Posted on January 31, 2006 at 12:10 pm by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General