RSS ads: what NOT to do

There’s been a lot of talk about RSS ads lately, with companies such as Yahoo! and Overture already planning to insert advertisements into RSS.

I think we all knew this would happen, and many of us are understandably concerned that overzealous advertising will dampen the appeal of RSS. While I’m not opposed to the idea of RSS ads, given past experience, I’d say chances are good that I’ll be opposed to the way that many of them are implemented. Already I’m seeing some useful feeds insert ads in such an annoying way that I’ve unsubscribed from them, and in some cases removed them from the default set of feeds included with FeedDemon.

If you’re planning to insert ads into your feeds and don’t want to see your readers unsubscribe in droves, please consider this list of DO NOTs when planning your implementation:

  1. Do NOT insert an ad every time the user updates your feed. I’ve seen some feeds whose actual posts are several days apart, yet they insert an ad every time the feed is downloaded – resulting in far more ads than content. If you’re going to insert an ad, only do so when you have new content as well.
  2. Do NOT change the GUID, pubDate or link of an ad <item> just to get it to appear as new in an RSS reader such as FeedDemon. Resorting to tricks to get additional ad exposure will backfire in the long run.
  3. Do NOT insert ads in feeds that contain only a summary description. If you’re going to insert ads, at least let us read the full content.
  4. Do NOT insert ads unrelated to the content of the feed. For example, putting mortgage ads in a tech feed makes you look like a spammer.

Remember, people are reading your feed because you’re providing useful information. If you clutter that information with too many ads – or make ad delivery your primary focus – we’ll stop reading. RSS is not email: if we don’t like what you’re doing, we’ll unsubscribe – and chances are, we’ll never come back.

8 thoughts on “RSS ads: what NOT to do

  1. The absolute worst feed in terms of ads (IMHO) is the Industry Standard feed. They insert the same tall skyscraper banner for every entry, regardless of what that entry is about. I’ve only been subscribed for a few days but I’m thinking about dropping it already.

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  2. RSS Anzeigen – so bitte nicht

    Technisch ist es kein Problem Anzeigen in RSS Feeds zu platzieren. Zahlreiche Anbieter stehen schon in den Startlöchern und tatsächlich dürfte es niemanden wirklich überraschen, dass die Anzahl von Anzeigen zunehmen wird. Nick Bradbury, der Entwick…

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  3. RSS for me is a way to sidestep the invasive bullshit such as ads. I will unsubscribe from every feed I see containing an ad. If people rely on ad revenues, they should make their feeds description or title only so people will click through to the site if they are interested enough. Ads can then be displayed on the site.

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  4. I would like to see a feature to say block all images from a feed before being disaplyed in design form, this would cut the problem off adds, yes it may stop ‘Brocili Girl’ from showing but there could be a descriptive link instead of the pic (navigate to if appropiate/wanted)
    This would save download times on slow connections and keep the feeds clean and add free. Hmmmmm im guna add this little feature tonight.

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  5. MovableType/Blogging Link Dump

    Wanted to get some of these MovableType and blogging links on here that I’ve collected before I forget about them:Description of all the templates in MT 3.0.A directory setup entirely…

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  6. MovableType/Blogging Link Dump

    Wanted to get some of these MovableType and blogging links on here that I’ve collected before I forget about them:Description of all the templates in MT 3.0.A directory setup entirely…

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