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Web syndication

Web Design & Development Guide

Web syndication

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A typical web feed logo
A typical web feed logo

Web syndication is a form of syndication in which a section of a website is made available for other sites to use. This could be simply by licensing the content so that other people can use it; however, in general, web syndication refers to making web feeds available from a site in order to provide other people with a summary of the website's recently added content (for example, the latest news or forum posts).

Large scale web syndication of content started in 2001 when Miniclip freely syndicated online browser based interactive games to the masses. Today many different types of content are syndicated on the Internet. Millions of online publishers including newspapers, commercial web sites and blogs now publish their latest news headlines, product offers or blog postings in standard format news feed.

Syndication benefits both the websites providing information and the websites displaying it. For the receiving site, content syndication is an effective way of adding greater depth and immediacy of information to its pages, making it more attractive to users. For the transmitting site, syndication drives exposure across numerous online platforms. This generates new traffic for the transmitting site making syndication a free and easy form of advertisement.

The prevalence of web syndication is also of note to online marketers, since web surfers are becoming increasingly wary of providing personal information for marketing materials (such as signing up for a newsletter) and expect the ability to subscribe to a feed instead.

Although the format could be anything transported over HTTP, such as HTML or JavaScript, it is more commonly XML. The two main families of web syndication formats are RSS and Atom.

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