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Let me take you through some of benefits of having your own RSS feed. If you take example I just used for readers of Slashdot feed. Every time a new item is published to RSS feed it is available to every single subscriber immediately. You are guaranteed that every reader will get message whether they choose to read it or not. If you done this with email you would be lucky if a majority of your readers even received message due to spam filters and other obstacles.
Unlike email an RSS feed is zero maintenance. There is no list of addresses to maintain, no server needed to send out your messages, all you are doing is updating a file on your server. There is no need to worry about being accused of spamming, double opt in or adding to spam problem.
I have left best till last. You can even have detailed statistics about your RSS feed by using a third party such as Feedburner, all free. Feedburner will monitor requests made for your feed so you know how many readers you have and even tell you which items have been clicked on. Plus Feedburner saves you your valuable bandwidth and takes away any worries about compatibility of your RSS feed.
I have been publishing an RSS feed for several months, it has worked so well that I have decided that I do not need hassle of an email newsletter. The only time I use email now is if I want a personal conversation with someone, that's what email is great at.
Allan is the webmaster at http://www.newsniche.com/ an RSS resource for webmasters. Learn how to use RSS to attract and retain visitors to your site.