RSS and Advertising

I want ads. However, I also want no ads on my TiVo’ed shows, podcasts, emails, web sites or especially in my RSS feeds….unless they’re for something I want or might be interested in.

Just read Robert Scoble’s post which focused on full vs. partial RSS fed posts. What I saw in his post loud-n-clear was this: advertising is intrusive to early adopters (his premise…most readers of feeds in aggregators are early adopters). Scoble is also a pragmatist like I am: people don’t or can’t work for free and content production doesn’t happen without some sort of incentives to make the system work.

As people’s attention increasingly is focused on the Web — and traditional distribution of advertisements wane — there is a level of desperation in ad-land to figure out what is the next smart, targeted, measurable, learning and adaptable method to give people what they want, what they’re interested in, and what people actually welcome.

Scoble continues with some smart ideas on unobtrusively placing links within the RSS feed to content on web pages that have ads on them vs. obtrusive ads inside of the feed itself — whetting the interest of a reader to click-through instead of the old way of shotgun-blasting ads at people — and I find that brilliant. Get creative on giving value, advertisers, and adapt to this new method of people consuming content. (By the way, I find it amusing that in-line RSS ads are just visual noise to me now…and I ignore them inside of an aggregated feed just like I ignore ads on web pages!).

I submit that the cleanliness of an RSS feed is imperative too. When I think about all the mashup’ed sites and aggregators out there already, interstitial ads would destroy the overall look-n-feel and simply add to visual noise (plus, it would be trivial to strip them out making all the effort of insertion be a moot point).

Could a partial solution be in the Microsoft-proposed Simple Sharing Extension to the RSS protocol? Why couldn’t SSE be used to update a stored profile of me based on my actual click-through and consumption of an ad? Based on what I know of RSS protocol and the SSE extension, it would seem that a simple mechanism of synchronizing what I actually view with a constantly updated profile of Steve Borsch (a profile I would own and would reside in my InfoCard repository along with my attention data). Updating synchronously would enable the profile to become more-n-more useful to advertisers so they could deliver what I want, am interested in…as well as how those wants and needs will change over the duration of my online life.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.