I am a strong proponent for bloggers trying to monetize their work. There is a very fine line though, that we walk between reasonable advertising on blogs and RSS feeds and poisoning the well. It is all too easy to step over than line and end up doing ourselves more damage with reader dissatisfaction as we chase that elusive fine line.
As much as I believe in the right for bloggers to run advertisements as a way to make a living we are betrayed by other bloggers who go heavy on advertising. It is a constant battle for responsible blogger trying to make a few bucks on one hand and not pissing off their readers on the other hand. Tie this in with the epidemic; it seems that way sometimes, of ad blindness and the proliferation of ad blockers that people use with a sense of entitlement and that fine line becomes a razor’s edge.
For the longest time RSS feed were the refuge against advertising insanity that seem to engulf blogs as advertising on RSS feeds was next to nil. Sure there were a few companies that were trying to utilize RSS feeds as a new advertising playground but for the most part they were pretty marginal. Then along came the purchase of Feedburner; and their ad network, by Google and within a short period of time they rolled out AdSense for RSS feed.
In the beginning it was primarily text based ads that were the staple of AdSense for feeds but that quickly expanded to include those irritating square graphic ads.Generally though, with the exception of the ads; especially the square ones, that showed up at the top of an RSS feed post the ads were pretty unobtrusive. That could all change if one of the original ad networks for RSS feed has its way.
According to a post on Clickz, this week will see the launch of video ads in RSS feeds using the Pheedo ad network
The feed management firm and ad network has begun offering video ads that can reach the users Google Reader, Bloglines, NewsGator and other feed readers. Universal Studios, National Geographic and Fox Searchlight are among the early advertisers to use the product, according to the firm. Pheedo represents ad inventory inside feeds owned by New York Times, CBS, Huffington Post, and a great many smaller publishers.
“The challenge as in anything with RSS ad serving is making it work with syndicated traffic,” Pheedo CEO Bill Flitter told me today. “Now, video advertising in RSS is scalable and possible hasn’t been done before.”
Anyone stop to think that the reason this idea hasn’t been done before is because it is a fucking lousy idea. For bloggers it will be a way to further antagonize our readers and help spread the disease of ad blindness. For our readers this will only further confirm that bloggers are in it just for the money and don’t deserve to be supported in any fashion.
This idea has to be stopped dead in its tracks. It is a bad idea for everyone involved – including the advertisers because the last thing they want is to be trying to sell to pissed of people.