RSS and Advertising

Fred Wilson wants Cookies in Feed Readers to intelligently serve ads in feeds. Seems to me that Greg Reinacker’s feed redirection trick is a better solution. It works with the existing infrastructure, shares an overcounting problem from duplicate subscriptions in multiple news aggregators, and adds an undercounting problem when subscription lists are shared. All in all, a clear win.

One thing to remember is that ads are not right for everyone. I think the ratio of ads to content will need to be less than 20% by number and word count to prevent mass defection. Most weblogs can only achieve that by holding back posts – losing value by eliminating freshness.

The other thing to remember is that paying for clicks rather than impressions will make this all moot. I think the power readers who use news aggregators will be very adept at filtering/ignoring ads. Making pay per click more attractive for advertising buyers.