RSS is a way for news publishers (including big publishers like New York Times, and niche publishers like Lottery Post) to deliver the news directly to readers, with a link to the actual page should the reader want to know more.
You can use an RSS reader, or 'aggregator', to stay up to date with the all latest news content on the web, to do market research, and to find new content for your own website. There are a variety of RSS readers (aggregators) you can use to quickly scan summaries of the latest content on literally hundreds of your favorite websites in a very short space of time, without waiting for pages to load, and bypassing old content that you have seen before.
Techie Information, for those who care
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. There are different standards of RSS, identified by a version number, such as 0.92, 1.0, and 2.0 (Lottery Post uses version 2.0). An RSS feed is an XML file that contains a standard set of tags, which vary depending on the RSS verion used.
There is also a more advanced version of RSS now used which is called 'Atom' (which is beyond the scope of this summary).
The RSS file uses XML tags that identify where the content is coming from (called a "channel") and a list of news items. Each news item has a title, summary text, and a hyperlink to the original content, and sometimes some more detailed information, such as the author, publishing date, and copyright information. Within the RSS text file, simple HTML can be used to format the title and summary text that will appear to the user. The file is accessed via an RSS reader (aggregator), which works like a web browser, but which focuses on delivering lots of summaries from several websites at a time, rather than viewing the content of a single web page.
RSS Aggregators (Readers)
In order to read RSS files, you will need an RSS Aggregator. These are simple programs which function like web browsers.
There are two types of readers: programs that you download and install on your computer, and online services that enable you to gather information online rather than on your own PC. Most users will prefer having their own application installed on their PC, as the online web services can be slow to log on, navigate, and manipulate. The whole idea of RSS is to access the data you need quickly and frequently, so using an online service reduces the effectiveness of the concept somewhat. One possible use for an online service would be if you are going to be away from your own PC frequently.
There are many free aggregators available for downloading, so it is easy and cheap to try out the concept. More seasoned users may find the free aggregators a bit too basic to be really useful, so there are many commercial RSS Readers available as well. However, the cost of even the commercial readers is reasonable — normally in the $30 range.
Below is a list of some free and commercial RSS aggregators available. There are many others you can find through search engines and download websites.