Yahoo Pipes & RSS Feed Mixing

pipes.gifOne of the biggest areas of unexplored territory in legal web marketing these days is the power of RSS, or real simple syndication.

I’ve written in the past on the use of RSS in law firms (see here and here), and how those in the legal industry can be better consumers of information using this technology. However, for those of us on the marketing side of things, the best opportunities for RSS right now are in publishing, not consuming.

A great example, Infolaw’s Nick Holmes over in the UK has mixed together the content of 13 different family law blogs into a single feed using Yahoo Pipes. Now, Nick has followed up in a comment saying this was ‘no big deal’, but I’ll tell you what is a big deal: the opportunity this type of feed mixing offers to law firms and their web presence.

Many law firms are slowly adopting and getting onto the RSS bandwagon. And that’s great! For firms that don’t currently offer it, I hope there’s a plan in place to syndicate soon. I guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot more about RSS in 2008.

Now that said, once you do have your content RSS enabled, the next obvious question is — what are you going to do with it?

Your firm website will offer those feeds, probably running through a tracking service like Feedburner to get a subscriber count. But then what?

This is where the mixing that Nick has done comes in. For another example, check out Stem’s feed mix of Canadian legal publications; it was created using Yahoo pipes too. The power comes from taking these feeds and combining (or mixing) them. Content can take a completely different flavour, and be directed at a completely different audience when using this technique.

And most important, be automated to extend the firm’s content reach with no further effort by lawyers or staff!

Law firms frequently put together cross-disciplinary service groups, either for a target industry, or a specific client. Imagine being able to take the various online commentary from your contributing internal groups, and combine it to create a new dedicated product. Or, imagine being able to filter everything the firm publishes for the keyword “environment” and publish it to a new online location, and then directing those clients interested in environmental issues.

For me, that’s why law firms should take notice. RSS is easy, it’s cheap, and is probably the most flexible new technology the web currently has to offer.


  1. […] Steve Matthews – “[O]nce you do have your content RSS enabled, the next obvious question is — what are you going to do with it?” Posted in RSS | Trackback | | Top Of Page […]

    @ 8:12 pm
  2. Nick Holmes said:

    I was being modest about the scale of my achievement. But, yes the significance is it’s an illustration of what is possible, as are your efforts. When the web came along, it struck me immediately that this meant (potentially) that any content need henceforth only be published once: anyone could then not only view it but (one way or another) repurpose it to their own ends (respecting reserved rights of course!). Web 1.0 didn’t give us the tools for that, so we copied and scraped and republished. Web 2.0 provides the plumbing so that we can pipe, mix and mash data to our heart’s content. There’s huge potential once the original publishers twig that they should syndicate all their open content.

    @ 5:46 am
  3. […] me, publishing & mixing are the untold value of RSS. As I mentioned in a recent post, RSS needs to expand its boundries from the personal feed reader and create new context by placing […]

    @ 11:23 am
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