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Advertising in RSS Feeds: Are we risking disaster?


Advertising in RSS feeds is something that Google is considering offering to its Adwords and Adsense customers. RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication and is a really easy way for a webmaster to share their news and information stories to the world wide web.

Up until recently, RSS feeds had very few options for making money with them directly. Of course having at least one RSS feed on your website content will certainly build the relationship you have with your website visitors which will result in more sales for your company, making direct money from syndicating your RSS feed wasn't possible until recently.

Is Putting Advertising in RSS Feeds a good idea?

There is risk to placing advertising in an RSS feed. Your visitors are being bombarded by spam in their email boxes on a daily basis. Everywhere you go online you run into advertising in many different forms. Is it really a good idea to put Advertising in an RSS feed?

I think it is and here's why. The internet is the greatest source of information that any of us have access to. Much of this information is free. The problem is, it takes real effort not to mention knowledge to get that information online in a useful form. People and organizations that are good at doing this deserve to be compensated. If advertising in all forms was somehow able to be banned today on the internet, tomorrow, the amount of quality information available for free online would drop dramatically. In order to try to earn a living, most content providers would immediately have to seek some form of compensation online.

A right way to add advertising and a wrong way

Even though I'm in favor of seeing advertising in RSS feeds, I think that there has to be great moderation in the approach you use. If too many items in the RSS feed are advertising, a user will simply unsubscribe themselves from your feed. You would also have to be concerned about webmasters who pick up your feed. If you don't provide enough quality content in your RSS feeds, you'll find it very difficult to get anyone to syndicate the RSS feed.

I would suggest that you keep your advertising to less than 20% of your feed. That would mean that in an RSS feed with 10 items in it, you have no more than 2 items that are advertising. I can see this number though getting dictated by the likes of Google and other advertising agencies.

The advertising must add value to your visitor

The advertising will need to look like a news story in order to be successful. If it is simply tagged as advertising, the click through rate will most likely be horrible. At the same time though, the link will need to be truly useful for someone looking for information on that particular topic. If you have a feed on maintaining a vibrant garden and the advertisers' link is about being computer parts, this would very much turn off visitors and webmasters alike. Companies like Google though have become pretty good at targeting their advertisers to the context of the page or content so I don't see this as a big problem when using these services.

Should you add advertising to your RSS feeds? Yes, but be cautious about it. RSS feeds are truly useful to your overall marketing goals even if you abstain from putting any advertising in them.

Joe Duchesne is the webmaster for ScreamerFeeds.com. ScreamerFeeds is dedicated to educating people about the benefits of RSS feeds along with their potential uses. Reprint freely as long as you keep the live keyword rich link in this resource box.


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