Continuing on yesterday's topic of RSS, I am now starting to understand the importance of RSS standards and appreciating the related politics. There appears to be lots of teeth gnashing and back and forth about these topics.
Here is where it gets interesting from a PR standpoint. It shows why us PR folk should stay attuned to some of these issues which at first might appear to be just tech talk and religion.
Scripting News blogged today about Sun's move to release financial results first via RSS:
Mike Dillion is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Sun Microsystems. On his blog he says "We're trying something different..."
He says: "On Monday, we will release our financial information first to the public via our website, RSS feeds and 8-K filing. Then, about 10 minutes later, we will release the information to the traditional private agencies and their paid subscribers.
This alone was not that surprising - I had blogged about Sun's intention to do this after the NY Times reported this back in November 2006 (What Next, a MySpace Profile?). Here's an excerpt from the NY Times What's Online column:
Jonathan Schwartz, the chief executive of Sun Microsystems, has called for the S.E.C. to accept the use of the Web to disclose significant financial information to shareholders under Regulation FD (for “fair disclosure”). Complaining that his lawyers kept warning him off discussing various company-related issues on his blog, he decried Regulation FD’s insistence that companies use “anachronistic” methods like conference calls and news releases to disclose financial information (blogs.sun.com/jonathan).
Then, I caught Sam Ruby's post from yesterday, First Impressions, on the Intertwingly blog (this goes to the "unintended consequences" part of my post title). Here's an excerpt:
Oh, well, it probably is still OK. If RSS 2.0 is used correctly, and Sun is a technology company after all, it will probably be OK. Probably. Let’s take a closer look at that first feed.
This feed does not validate. Eek!
... OK, so in English, what’s the problem here? Well items are intended to be identified by globally unique identifiers... It is not good if you are trying to convince the SEC that syndication is a reliable mechanism for distributing financial results."
Oh well, as they say, "no good deed goes unpunished." Releasing financial information via blogs and RSS might seem like another chink in the armor of the venerable and dated press release and associated news release wire services. Yet standards and details are important and there's still lots of work to do to perfect PR 3.0.