There are a million-and-one business surveys out there and there's no way to keep track of them all even if you wanted to. And quite frankly. I don't want to. One I do look forward to checking out is the Interland Business Barometer of Small Business Activities. There's a lot of good stuff in the summer 2005 edition. One nugget I found interesting was the list of website/online features small business leaders use or are interested in using. Email marketing and search engine optimization head the list at 60% and 54% respectively. Other features include online coupons, pay-per-click advertising, blogs and podcasting. Bringing up the rear is RSS at a mere 10%. That really isn't surprising as many other surveys cite that same number as the recognition rate for RSS.
Many folks just don't understand RSS if they've even heard of it at all. News aggregators have been around for years but they are far from mainstream. No offense, but most of the people who use them are either news junkies or geeks...or both. The growing popularity of blogging is helping some, but most people over 30 still don't get the blogosphere. But RSS is about to get a big dose of exposure thanks to its inclusion in the latest version of Outlook - version 12 I think. Check out this post from Microsoft Outlook program manager Michael Affronti's blog discussing Outlook and RSS aggregation.
As Chris Selland points out in his blog entry on this subject, this ain't good news for the news aggregator vendors and service providers. But it is for RSS. Anything that gets added into Outlook becomes mainstream. Just like when Microsoft added functionality into Windows and Office in the '90s and Internet Explorer during the browser wars. And from the screen shots on Affronti's blog, it looks like RSS is just another Outlook folder. So the 200 million Outlook users shouldn't have a steep learning curve ahead of them as they begin moving to the latest version. It looks like RSS is moving to Main Street. It will be interesting to see where RSS ends up on the Interland Barometer 6-12 months from now.