September 25, 2004
Hollywood, Florida – For the third time in a hectic hurricane season, MetroGuide.com, Inc. (MetroGuide) is using RSS technology to keep both its subscribers and the general public informed on breaking hurricane-related news.
As Hurricane Jeanne threatens Florida's east coast and portions of its interior, MetroGuide has responded by delivering public service headlines about the storm on RSS feeds for its Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando EventGuides.
RSS, an acronym for Really Simple Syndication, is a rapidly growing technology for distributing news items to opt-in subscribers and syndicated websites. RSS readers are available for purchase and as free downloads from a variety of websites, including www.rssreader.com and others. Unlike e-mail, which is subject to spam, RSS feeds are received only by subscribers. Some RSS feeds are free services, others are paid services. Subscribers to an RSS service do not provide any personal data, so there is nothing to share. MetroGuide's EventGuide RSS feed is a free service to its subscribers.
"Normally, our EventGuide RSS feeds contain arts, sports and entertainment headlines," said Mark Metz, MetroGuide CEO. "But when Hurricane Frances arrived in early September, we found ourselves having to postpone or cancel every event in the feed. We began posting hurricane-related information in place of the cancelled events, and realized we were performing a new, unique function online."
Metz believes RSS is the perfect technology for dissemination of hurricane warning and aftermath information. "With radio or TV, you have to catch a news item as it is broadcast to learn about it," said Metz. "With RSS, news headlines are available to subscribers immediately upon posting, and subscribers can reference prior advisories until they expire."
"Counties at risk do not necessarily release advisories at the same time, and sites with critical information are scattered all over the web," said Traci Caruso, Metroguide senior editor. "Our role is to monitor, seek out and disseminate information from all the impacted communities and entities while they prepare for, or recover from, these often devastating weather developments. It does not matter if a subscriber misses one particular advisory, because all prior advisories remain in the system indefinitely for reference."
"RSS is the middle of a growing adoption curve, said Metz. "While it's clearly not the right technology for fast-moving or spontaneous weather events, such as tornadoes, between RSS and other messaging services, this new online technology has potential to augment traditional media. People often want just the facts in a hurry," Metz said. "After all, how many times do we need to see footage of a hapless reporter in a raincoat standing in front of crashing surf?"
Web versions of the EventGuide RSS can be viewed on-line during the storm at
For more information on subscribing to Metroguide.com's EventGuide RSS technology, contact Traci Caruso at (954) 981-5850.