Ad placement in RSS feeds?

July 29th, 2004
Blogging News, General, Web Ethics

How annoying would it be to receive ads with RSS feeds. Imagine having to wade through every fifth article being a “sponsored” article. I dont use my feed reader much, but I am trying to understand how opposed people would be to this idea.

However, on the flip side of the coin, a vanilla RSS feed with JUST news is lost revenue for someone that is interested in generating profits from their blog/business blog. I am planning to come up with a way to grab RSS feeds from an existing site, insert ads into these feeds (between posts) and then retransmit these feeds. So when someone signs up for these ads, they would have to change their RSS feed links to point to the new server. Alternatively, some up with a way to insert ads into existing RSS feeds (which I might try as a test on this blog sometime). What would be interesting is if Google ads could somehow be incorporated. I will have to look into that. Maybe insert a Google link as the middle post in my RSS feed.

I know that almost every blog I visit has some sort of advertising in it, however minute. Though ads are normally quite annoying, I find that I can tune out Google Ads without much trouble and the text ads seem to add flavor to the blog I am reading. I have even started using Google ads to fine tune some of my searches on various topics. The most annoying ads tend to be the flashy, graphicy, in your face sort of corner blocks that take away from the aura of the page. So, as a follow up to the success and the relative disconcern for the permeation Google ads into blogging, I am wondering how annoying or how bothersome RSS ads would be.

On the flip side of the coin, how interested would advertisers be in signing up for and using a system that uses RSS ads? Albeit, the price structure would need to be different. But the placement itself and the subsequent tracking of those ads would not be much of an issue. Especially since text ads would serve purpose wonderfully.

Time to read through some of the agreements that I so dilligently and so carelessly agreed to.




  1. Webbie (2 comments.) says:

    The website already provide a type of advert inserted rss newsfeeds of many other websites that don’t provide one. I would recommend a look at that.
    I subscribe to a few feeds via them because a couple of my favourite websites and the only advertising bit they do insert – at the moment – is one mentioning their very own website, but I can tolerate that if it means getting all the news delivered to my desktop.

  2. Kitten (3 comments.) says:

    Good Idea

    With feed traffic taking up so much bandwidth nowadays, some sort of return would be worthwhile. I think I’m going to hack up the WP feed files to insert my PayPal link.

  3. Mark (34 comments.) says:

    That is also a great idea. Im sure a single paypal link would not hurt anything.

  4. mpt (2 comments.) says:

    How annoying would it be? Why not subscribe to some of the feeds containing ads and tell us? :-)

    If advertising became common enough, I’d expect feedreaders to start incorporating Bayesian (or similar) spam filtering, for the same reason e-mail clients do. It wouldn’t work as well for feeds as it does for e-mail, however, for two reasons: (1) there’s much less header information to distinguish feed spam than there is to distinguish e-mail spam, and (2) feed spam can be embedded inside legitimate articles in a way that’s not possible for e-mail spam. (Banners and other predictable-format ads could be filtered just as they are by advanced Web browsers, but filtering free-form text ads would be more difficult.)

    If, however, feedreaders gained effective spam-filtering unevenly (i.e. not within a few months of each other), HTTP’s User-Agent header would eventually become obsolete, as some feed providers chose to block feedreaders known to filter ads, and those feedreaders responded by masquerading as UAs known not to do any filtering. (This is already happening, for different reasons, with Web browsers: Internet Explorer partially masquerades as Mozilla, Safari partially masquerades as Gecko, and Opera by default masquerades as Internet Explorer.)

  5. Sherri (10 comments.) says:

    Text only, or small NON-animated images wouldn’t be too awful, if they were spaced out between the actual feeds. I would NOT like it if the ad were placed in the text of every single excerpt (like a very popular blog USED to do…UGH). And please, no new windows (are people even using IE anymore?)

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