Chapter 7. Using Syndication

As you may know, syndication is a simple XML-based mechanism for publishing content. Syndication feeds come in two predominant flavors: RSS and Atom. From the viewpoint of publicizing your web site, you don’t need to worry about the differences between them. (If you’d like to learn more about how to use syndication feeds, check out O’Reilly’s What Are Syndication Feeds PDF, available at

You syndicate content by encoding it within an RSS or Atom feed. This feed can—and usually does—include links to the site originating the content.

Subscribers can view syndication feeds in all different kinds of software, including web browsers, email clients, standalone programs, and on HTML web pages. There’s no mechanism built into syndication to pay for subscriptions, but once you are subscribed, your feed display is automatically updated when a new item is added to the feed. It’s up to the syndication viewing software to decide how to render feeds, but software that can display web pages often shows the underlying pages that the feed links to.

There’s some controversy about how publishers can best use syndication feeds, since it’s not obvious how to make money from them. (Google has introduced a program allowing publishers to insert contextual ads within syndication feeds, but this is a controversial step.)

However, syndication feeds work well as a device for driving traffic to a site because:

  • Feed content is ...

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