05:46 AM

RSS advertising hots up - Slashdot in on the action; is there something wrong with RSS ads?

By Richard MacManus for SiliconValleyWatcher

RSS-Ads.jpgSlashdot, the hugely popular "News for Nerds" website, has also recently started putting adverts in its RSS feed. Joseph Scott investigated and found that the ads are being served by the Feedster Media Network, which is a partnership between RSS Search engine Feedster and AdBrite.

In a comment on Joseph's blog, Mike Rowehl noted that he's been "running the technical part of the RSS ads implementation at Feedster". Mike explained that "we actually have a slot to place an ad every couple of stories" in the Slashdot RSS feed. Mike writes more about FeedsterMedia on his own blog.

What's wrong with RSS adverts?

Dave Winer has posted a passionate plea for RSS users to "reject the idea" of advertising in RSS feeds. He wants RSS reader developers to "add a feature that strips out all ads," something that Charlie Woods has been actively toying with in his spare time (he works at Newsgator).

While there are already ways to hide advertising in RSS, this is only ever going to be a geek's way of dealing with the issue. Normal people won't go to such lengths.

Is there anything essentially wrong with adverts in RSS feeds? In response to Dave Winer's post, I asked three questions in the comments thread:

1) Which is better: an excerpted RSS feed (where you have to click through to read the whole post), or a full-text RSS feed with some ads?

Personally I'd prefer the latter.

2) Really, what is the difference between advertising in an RSS feed and advertising on a webpage? RSS is becoming the new HTML - why fight it?

3) What's wrong with publishers/writers/bloggers wanting to get paid for their work, just as software developers want to get paid for their work?

What's your opinion? Feel free to leave a comment here.