CONTEST: RSS Needs a Catchier Name!

RSS is a great way to publish and follow news online – but it’s still pretty geeky. Unfortunately, that geekiness makes it harder for most people to get interested enough in RSS to want to try it.

I’ve decided to do something about that. I’m offering a contest so that CONTENTIOUS readers can pick a catchier, less geeky name that will help bring RSS to a mass audience.

UPDATE DEC. 8, 2003: I’ve created a contest page that includes all the latest info on this contest, including the list of entries.

HOW TO ENTER: Send me your suggestions for a catchy new name for RSS. You can suggest up to three names.
E-mail your entries to:


  • You must include your full name and e-mail address.
  • Your entries must be 1-3 words long each.
  • Maximum of 3 entries per person.
  • No acronyms – that’s the plague we’re trying to combat here, after all!

More about this contest…

YOU CAN WIN: A $20 gift certificate from CONTENTIOUS for the online store of your choice (hey, this is coming out of my pocket!), plus ample praise from your fellow CONTENTIOUS readers, plus undying fame if your winning suggestion catches on throughout the Net. More prizes will be added to the list as I promote this contest.

VOTING: I will post entries to a special page in CONTENTIOUS as they come in. I will accept entries through Dec. 31, 2003. After the close of entries, CONTENTIOUS readers will have one week to vote for their favorite entry. (I’ll post a daily tally). This should narrow the field to the 10-25 most popular choices.

After that, a panel of online luminaries (including Randy Cassingham of This Is True, Steve Outing of the Poynter Institute and Editor & Publisher, science writer and editor Catherine Dold, and others) will select the final winner. The judges reserve the right to choose a winner outside of the entries voted most popular, or declare “no winner” if nothing absolutely great is apparent among the entries.

WHERE I GOT THIS IDEA: As with most of my ideas, this was born of frustration. As an “RSS Evangelist,” I explain to many people, daily, what RSS is and why it’s cool. The truth is, the name is almost always a barrier. As soon as I say “RSS,” I can see what they’re thinking: “Oh no, not another godawful acronym!” I don’t blame them – I’m sick of acronyms, too.

But more specifically, I was inspired to offer this contest by an item that my friend and colleague Steve Outing posted today to Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits weblog: “RSS Needs a Catchy Name to Succeed.” In this blog entry, Steve commented on a new Salon article about RSS, “That 1994 Feeling,” by Scott Rosenberg. (Thanks, Steve!)