Here's an article that makes the case that RSS is too hard for most people. While the article makes a few good points, the various aggregators on the market - like BottomFeeder - have mechanisms in place to deal with most of the issues raised. For instance: the biggest problem for most neophytes is "what do I subscribe to?" Well, BottomFeeder tries to make that easier via auto-detect. For instance, let's say I want to subscribe to news feeds from CNN, and I don't know what they have. In the "Add Feed" dialog for Bf, simply put in the main CNN URL, as I show in the image below:
Clearly, that's not an RSS or Atom feed. However, BottomFeeder recognizes that, and scans the HTML that came down for likely feed links (failing that, it executes a search in one of the syndication search engines). What it comes back with is a list of all the feeds advertised at that site (on that page):
Finally, I can pick one or all. In most cases, it would be simpler to select all, and then blow away the ones you don't care about:
I've made that screenshot smaller, which is why it looks blurry. In any event, the feeds get added to their own folder automatically. So even if you don't know what RSS or Atom is, BottomFeeder will let you find stuff easily.
Another quibble; the author of that piece didn't do some basic research:
To the average website visitor RSS feeds seem to be a geek toy requiring knowledge that they don't have time to gain or just are are not interested in. If web browsers included feed readers by default it would probably increase RSS usage 10 fold. But since none of the web browser makers seem to be interested in trying to do this RSS may remain unknown and unpopular for years to come.
Safari auto-detects RSS, and IE 7 will too - and IE 7 is coming out shortly. In fact, I expect that having IE 7 and Outlook 2007 support for RSS built in will spread the use of RSS very rapidly.