Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Google is testing ad placements for RSS feeds

Posted by - April 27, 2005

By Richard MacManus for SiliconValleyWatcher
In a delicious piece of Web irony, a Microsoft Longhorn blog is the first site to trial Google's Adsense in its RSS feed. Robert McLaws of LonghornBlogs.com says that it's a pilot program and "may disappear for a while, or be discontinued altogether."

RSS feed management company Feedburner, which has been running an RSS advertising service from Overture since late 2004, was quick to announce its piggy-back support of Google's RSS Adsense. Feedburner promises "additional flexibility in determining frequency of ads, ability to prevent ads on short posts and other ad control mechanisms for your feed."

Update, by Richard MacManus: CNET reports that Google has confirmed the test. Also Jason Calacanis from Weblogs Inc, one of the biggest commercial blog networks, has confirmed his company is testing Google adverts in its RSS feeds.

Note also that Robert McLaws from LonghornBlogs.com, the first reported tester, left a comment here on Silicon Valley Watcher questioning whether Feedburner's announcement of support "is legit". My understanding of Feedburner's announcement is that Feedburner will help their users to implement the Google Adsense service into their Feedburner-powered RSS feeds - as well as provide additional flexibility.

Bill Flitter of Pheedo told Silicon Valley Watcher that "Google putting ads in RSS validates further the work we've been doing at Pheedo for the last 18 months. RSS advertising works."

It's no surprise to Bill that Google has entered the market. He remarked that "it will only help our business as advertisers will see it as a serious medium."

While the news is still unconfirmed by Google, it seems apparent that RSS advertising is about to go mainstream. It will be interesting to see how bloggers react to adverts in RSS. Uber-blogger Dave Winer wants a bit of romance in his RSS ads. Others may react negatively to advertising within an 'opt-in' medium such as RSS.

One side benefit for writers and readers alike is that we may see many more full-text RSS feeds in future, because content providers will not see as much need to drive eyeballs to their websites.

Richard Koman Note: Indeed, the focus on web page impressions will likely fade as RSS develops its own metrics models, auditing services and techniques for verifying that feeds have actually been read and not just automatically downloaded.

Update, by Richard MacManus: CNET reports that Google has confirmed the test. Also Jason Calacanis from Weblogs Inc, one of the biggest commercial blog networks, has confirmed his company is testing Google adverts in its RSS feeds.

Note also that Robert McLaws from LonghornBlogs.com, the first reported tester, left a comment here on Silicon Valley Watcher questioning whether Feedburner's announcement of support "is legit". My understanding of Feedburner's announcement is that Feedburner will help their users to implement the Google Adsense service into their Feedburner-powered RSS feeds - as well as provide additional flexibility.

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