Software Marketing Resource Articles: April 2005

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Display RSS Feeds

RSS offers webmasters a unique opportunity to display fresh content on websites. While publishing an RSS feed is a great way to generate site interest and increase communication, syndicating and displaying feeds from related relevant sources can also generate interest, increase traffic and improve search engine ranking.

RSS Radars
Webmasters with limited time or capacity can syndicate related content. In a nut shell, webmasters can create RSS radars by combining a mix of content from related sources by grouping similarly-themed feeds. RSS feeds are updated at different intervals, providing an ever-changing collection of related information.

RSS is a form of eXtensible Markup Language or XML. Viewing an RSS feed in a web browser generally produces code that is not easy for website visitors to decipher. As a result, webmasters use tools to display the content contained in an RSS feed.

Content contained in RSS feeds can be added to websites a number of different ways. Each method for displaying the RSS feed has pros and cons associated with it. Webmasters will need to determine which option will best meet their hosting and technology needs.

Using Javascript to Display RSS
Javascript is the easiest way to display RSS feeds on a website. There are a number of sites that will allow you to generate code that can be inserted into a website. The javascript will auto-update, showing the latest headlines as the feed is updated. Each time a visitor visits the website the javascript pulls the data from the feed. Often, the various scripts can be customized so that the look of the feed can be made to match a specific websiteeeds with hopes that the search engines will devour and spider the contents, you will be disappointed. When javascript is used to display RSS feeds, search engines do not actually "see" the contents of the feed, meaning that the search engines will not index the contents of the feed within the website.

Feedroll - Feedroll is a free service for syndicating RSS and ATOM news feeds on your website. Simply select a feed, customize the design, then copy and paste the code provided onto your page.

Using PHP to Display RSS
PHP is a slightly more complex solution for displaying RSS. Like javascript, as the contents of the feed updates, the web page contents will update as the page is refreshed. The benefit of using PHP to display RSS is that the contents of the feed displayed with the webpage can be spidered and indexed by search engines. The result is a feed that always displays the most current information from the RSS feed and the web page content is considered search engine spider and robot-friendly.

rss2html.php - The rss2html.php script allows users to create web pages that will always display the most current information from the RSS feed, and because the resulting page is pure HTML, it will be in a format friendly to search engine robots. Using rss2html.php, webmasters can customize the format and look of the web page created from the feed. The RSS feed's contents can easily be integrated into an existing website's theme. The rss2html.php script parses the RSS file, extracts the pertinent information, formats it, and serves it up as regular HTML.

FeedRoll Pro - FeedRollPro was really designed to enable publishers to syndicate their own content on other sites. But it can be used to syndicate news feeds from other sites on your own pages.

Using ASP to Display RSS
ASP is similar to PHP. The free ASP/ASP.NET scripts can be used to convert RSS feeds into HTML and display on ASP/ASP.NET web-server.

rss2html.asp - ByteScout has implemented a guide for displaying of RSS/XML feed using free RSS2HTML.ASP script in ASP or ASP.NET environment. This script can be used free of charge on any ASP or ASP.NET web-server and generate HTML from RSS feed. This free ASP script uses MSXML to load RSS feed from URL and display it. You can use it as a standalone or call from script on HTML page to generate HTML content from RSS feed and then display on your HTML page.

RssFeed - RssFeed is an open-source custom ASP.NET server control that displays the contents of a specified RSS feed in an ASP.NET web page.

If PHP or ASP is used to update feeds, the website will have free fresh, relevant content each time the feeds referenced are updated.

Export RSS to HTML
If you wish to dress up the feed's appearance you can use a template exporting the feed as HTML or an HTML table. Publishers can incorporate exported tables into an HTML template using a server-side include. Each time the feed is updated, the feed will need to be exported to HTML and uploaded along with the feed. Though this only takes a few moments, exporting RSS to HTML does require webmaster intervention to update the content. The end result, though, is a complete web page with an RSS feed in it that will be search engine-friendly.

FeedForAll - FeedForAll allows users to export RSS feeds from RSS to HTML. The look of the HTML can be modified to match an existing website's design.

Using Services
There are a number of services available that host and display RSS feeds, in many cases free of charge. Because these services operate on a different domain server there is little benefit to end-users displaying their feeds in this fashion. That said, the services are generally free of charge, so you get what you pay for. - Select a layout, color scheme and enter the URL of the feed. A web page URL will be generated that will display the feed in the selected scheme.

FeedBurner - FeedBurner provides a number of online services. Among them is a service that displays RSS feeds on a website.

Using XSL to Display RSS
Although using XSL and CSS stylesheets to display XML directly is easy to understand in theory, it is rather tricky to implement in the real world and is very tough for novices to use successfully. Webmasters must be fairly familiar with CSS and XSL to have the formatting work well, and webmasters then have to address browser incompatibilities and exceptions. As a result, not a lot of resources or services yet exist to display RSS using XSL.

Using highly targeted feeds, webmasters can enhance their websites with themed content. Ultimately, providing relevant, educational or newsworthy information from reputable related sources will establish expertise in a specific area.
Log In or Sign Up to hide these ads.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Digital River Purchases SWREG

Brant Pallazza from Digital River was kind enough to answer the following questions related to Digital River's acquisition of SWREG. The questions are bolded, while Brant's responses are not.

1. Inquiring minds want to know, what did Digital River pay for the acquisition of SWREG? I know past negotiations have involved earn-outs. What earn-out was involved in the SWREG acquisition?

We paid $8.8 million cash for the assets of the business plus assumed liabilities. There is an earnout subject to the completion of specified development milestones and achieving specified revenue targets.

2. Historically SWREG's business model has been significantly different than Digital River's. How will SWREG's platform fit into the Digital River portfolio?

Yes, Digital River's business model has been geared a little different. Features and functionality place a significant emphasis on revenue growth. Hands-on account managers plus tools like analytics, email, merchandising and catalog management all come at a premium price. SWREG, on the other hand, is all about value. Getting a great service at a great price may be the primary driver for some developers. Keep in mind that Digital River also has significant experience in this market. RegSoft, for example is ideally suited for the cost conscious developer who also wants a solid ecommerce service.

3. Many developers have stated they feel that Digital River's acquisition's reduce competition, giving them less choices in the marketplace what reaction do you have to that statement?

I understand this concern. But if you really think about it, it is completely unfounded. First of all, we have never shut down a platform that we have acquired. In some cases, we have acquired only the assets of a platform. But the functionality and even the original pricing still exists. Take PSL for example.

Furthermore, it is quite possible that some of the services that we have acquired might not even exist today had we not made the acquisition. Everyone of the platforms now owned by Digital River are more safe, secure and redundant. And each retains it's own brand. It's own contract. It's own pricing. To say that there are fewer choices simply doesn't make sense. I would argue that there are more.

4. Will you increase rates at SWREG?

What do you think? Honestly. Look at our track record. We are the only provider that, to the best of my knowledge, has lowered rates.

5. What changes both short and long term can developers using SWREG expect to see?

Short, security, and redundancy. No question. Steve will be the first to admit that we have a lot of work to do in this area.

Long be honest, I need to work with Steve on his Roadmap. He knows better than anyone what his clients are looking for. Digital River will help fast track some of these items.

6. Why didn't Digital River release a press release regarding the recent acquisition of SWREG?

The timing of the acquisition closing was not ideal for making a separate announcement due to the filing of the 10-k and our raising our outlook for the first quarter all in the same week. So, we included notice of the acquisition in the 10-K as a subsequent event where it is freely visibile to the public and announced the transaction directly to the SWReg client base.

7. What unique product or service does SWREG bring to Digital River's offerings?

Value. Steve has done a great job of creating a product that provides a level of service at a price that vendors appreciate. Not to mention, like element 5, SWREG understands European developers, consumers, banking systems, VAT, etc. very well. Digital River can learn a lot.

8. At this point in time most of Digital River's past acquisitions still function as single entities although I understand there is backend integration with the Digital River platform, each company retains its own distinct brand. Do you expect that you will begin consolidating these properties under a single corporate brand at some point?

Nope. We certainly may "tie" the brands together where it makes sense.

9. At some point do you intend to make the RegNow affiliate program available across all the platforms? Do you intend to consolidate the power of the network and making some of the unique registration service features available globally?

This is extremely difficult. When it was built, the RegNow affiliate program was tightly integrated with the RegNow ecommerce systems. Originally, there had never been any intention of integrating or supporting other ecommerce platforms. However, we are currently looking at ways of supporting other DR platforms.

That said, one corporate 2005 objective at DR is to enhance the network. By SIC, we will be launching a number of affiliate and network enhancements. Some have already been released. This will continue throughout the year.

10. What future acquisitions do you anticipate? (I had to ask) Would you like to purchase us? :-)

Digital River's acquisition strategy is focused on meeting the needs of both our software publisher and network partner clients. The opportunities that will continue to be of interest to us will be ones that expand our geographic reach, product catalogue, service offering and technology solutions for our clients on a worldwide basis.

As for purchasing you, there is not enough money on the planet! ;-)

Iconico, Inc. Software Stores

Accurate Design and Development Software

24 Hour Discount Deals on Fantastic Software Applications

Iconico, Inc. Software Services

You Wrote the Code, Now How do you Sell it?

Our Official Blog

© copyright 2004-2010 Iconico, Inc. All Rights Reserved