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RSS Feeds – Allowing Customers To Subscribe To Notifications of New Listings

May 2, 2006

If tags and tagging are the "pull" side of push/pull information retrieval, then RSS feeds are the "push" side. RSS refers to the file format used for the notification process – note that the link may be fairly technical for some readers. In short, RSS feeds are used extensively with blogs and other content sites to allow users to subscribe to information updates and receive notifications of those updates.

How can we get below a site level of notification to a more granular level of RSS feeds for specific real estate listings to serve people only looking for specific types of real estate? Generally RSS feeds are currently used to notify users of site-wide changes or new postings. In the case of our site, a single site-wide RSS feed will be all that is needed at launch since we anticipate that only a few new listings will be initally added each day. However, the RSS situation may change when we reach a point where many listings of varying types are added on a daily basis. You can likely think of myriad possibilities of RSS implementations once this happens.

We believe that an interesting part of the implementation of the ForSaleByLocals(tm) web engine would involve the integration of custom RSS feeds into the property search process. As such, a user would be to convert given search criteria into a "custom" RSS feed. This would be like a saved search except the user would have the information necessary to subscribe to the custom RSS feed that he or she created with the search. Using this model, the user could go off and would only be alerted of changes when new properties of the type that they are seeking become available on our site. If the assumption is that one searches for things of the most interest, this might be considered a value-add for the user.

There are many possibilities with the custom approach for RSS…this will be a big focus area for us after launch.

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