Ending the Spam: SDN Newsletters Migrate to RSS

By Laureen Hudson, November 2007 (Updated August 2009)  

Nobody Likes Spam

Pretty much a universal constant, isn't it? I mean, OK, maybe someone does, or they wouldn't keep sending it. And sending it. And sending it. Most people I know have two or three levels of spam filter between the great unwashed internet, and their inbox. But still, the ads for drugs and questionable activities and bogus software somehow make it through.

It's become very common for people, in the continual Battle of the Inbox, to discontinue their newsletter subscriptions, and move to RSS feeds for information. Over the last year or so, I've migrated 100% of my newsletter subscriptions to RSS, and unsubscribed from emailed newsletters. In the rare case where a company only offered email newsletters and no RSS, I've sent along a polite request for movement into this century, and unsubscribed anyway. My time is valuable, life is short, and spam is ubiquitous. It's a truism of the age.

So having said that, it would be disingenuous of us here at SDN to offer you all anything less. As of this month, the SDN Newsletter Program has migrated wholly to a blog/RSS format.

Feed Me!

"Sending marketing messages and newsletters via email has become a fool's errand; the obvious work-around is RSS. I'd much prefer to get public relations materials this way." says Dan Gillmor, of Computerworld. He continues, "I wish public-relations people would get with the program. If they only start creating RSS feeds of releases, journalists and the public at large could see the material they want, and the PR industry would be able to stop blasting huge amounts of email to people whose inboxes are already over-cluttered."

We agree completely. We've been offering feeds to some newsletters for months, but this month, if you're an SDN Newsletter subscriber and want to keep receiving information, it's time to subscribe to the feeds. Here are the offerings:

  •    SDN Program News
    Everything happening in SDN space…
  •    Java Warehouse Tech Tips
    Tips on creating, submitting, and managing applications to the Java Warehouse Developer Portal, for the Java Store
  •    Core Java Technologies Tech Tips
    Tips for using core Java SE APIs
  •    Enterprise Tech Tips
    Get tips on using enterprise Java technologies and APIs, such as hose in Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE).
  •    Mobility Tech Tips
    Tips to create, test, and deploy applications on Java platforms for mobile and embedded devices, from phonetops to desktops.
Bigger, Better, Faster, More

Not only does this move free up more of the space in your inbox, but it also gives us a way to communicate in a more timely fashion. Because of the limits of email newsletter production, anything you read is two weeks old. That's not acceptable in a lot of cases. For example, the Java SE 6 team wanted to communicate information about the beta releases, builds, and other time-relevant information. If you had to wait two weeks to read about updates, things might well have moved significantly past that stage by the time you read your email. The Java SE 6 Update N feed on the SDN Program News blog allows the team to post updates as they happen, so that the information posted is as fresh as it gets, and when you get the update in your reader, you know that that is absolutely the latest.

Free Your Mind

The real beauty, though, of this migration, is that it promotes autonomy. Readers have the right to narrow the firehose of incoming information, and only get the information they want on the topics they want. By moving SDN's information to a model that is more user-controlled, we're supporting the ideals of VRM, and providing you with the option to engage with us because it's your choice. As Doc Searls says, "Because it’s about equipping individuals, rather than just businesses. For the good of both." Adriana Lukas continues on this theme, with "…because a customer database doesn’t a relationship make." We want to know what you think about what we're saying. This is the best way for us to do both.

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