Can RSS help stop SPAM?

An article from is reporting on moves by email-based newsletters to switch from email to a mechanism called RSS (Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary), which has users computers pull specially-formatted information from the newsletter's site instead of waiting for an email copy of the newsletter.

From a spam-fighting perspective, RSS shields users from giving away their email addresses (no need to when your software retrieves the information in a similar fashion to a web page) and also removes the complaint of bulk mailing companies who claim it is the only way to communicate with customers.

This site, for one, provides an RSS feed as a way to look at updated articles.

For those organizations that complain that they still need email because they want your personal information before they give you access to their content or because they provide paid content, there is a web-based security mechanism built in to the protocol that allows for user/password security for obtaining an RSS feed.

So, you may wonder how you read this stuff. The article above contains a few pointers, but if you are a Mac user, the best choice is a program called NetNewsWire (yes, it's OS X only) from Ranchero Software. There's even a "lite" version if you don't want to pay for it.