I originally posted this on geocaching.com forums cos I finally had enough of no RSS feeds and no-one to ask for them! You never know, maybe someone there will read it and finally get a decent developer to redo the site 🙂
I would love to be able to subscribe to my geocaching friends finds page. I would love to be able to show my last five found, or something like, on my blog, or family photo pages. People who don’t geocache but have a gps in their new phone or car will have a context and one click access to geocaching.com to see how much I enjoy it and maybe they’ll see the ads on the pages too. These feeds could only be available to premium members to create (if absolutely necessary). Peer recommendation is the key to monetisation of the new web. RSS provides the arteries for delivering it.
Google and Yahoo are gently introducing rss usage to the masses. The releases of Windows Vista and IE7 puts rss at the heart of the browser and desktop experience. The examples of Facebook, Twitter, wordpress, slashdot, the BBC, etc shows that freeing data means people love you more and come back more often. Islands of data restrict the spread of the good word about geocaching.com.
Judicious use of rss feeds mean that the load on the servers can be more spread and reduce the mail server load as many people may not feel the need to have email notifications if they are subscribed to area updates. More (cached) static files are served on 2 hour update cycles (for example), rather than repeated dynamic results nailing the asp servers during the busy periods.
RSS feeds will enable geocaching.com to open itself to greater ease of use, and web penetration, with a more scalable data delivery. It will therefore be more visible and usable by more current and prospective users, opening itself to innovative mashups by passionate developers and ensuring its continued relevance in the burgeoning Web 2.0 and social networking scene.
A final thought: in an era of medium to low-end GPS enabled mobile phones, can you imagine what an opportunity geocaching.com would have if it developed a plug-in app to FaceBook with it’s 31 million tech-savvy users and proven meme propagation?