Really Simple Syndication skyrocketed to popularity a year ago, and was predicted to bring about a whole new channel for non-intrusive advertising. One year down the line, the technology has definitely made inroads into Internet users lives, but advertising on the channel is picking up very, very slowly.
A handful of popular blogs such as TechCrunch, Lockergnome and Hollywood.com currently host ads from FeedBurner on their RSS feeds. These ads are sold on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, similar to traditional media.
Advertisements on RSS Feeds
Considering the fact that Google-owned FeedBurner is the largest feed and blog advertising network, the number of advertisers using the service is very low. FeedBurner currently aggregates over a million RSS feeds. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, traffic to the site has grown 385% over the amount last year. The total number of subscriptions is astronomical.
In spite of the widespread adoption and use of RSS, the number of publishers willing to stick ads on a feed is low. This could be in part due to fear that publishers might lose loyal readers if they shove advertising down their throats via RSS, in addition to advertising on the main site / blog itself.
Another obstacle in the past has been the lack of advertiser control over that type of information that could be contained in an RSS feed bearing their ads. Insensitive advertising and ad placement alongside controversial topics (especially in politics) have led to big brand advertisers pulling out of ad placement deals in the past. FeedBurner overcomes this obstacle with their AdClimate tool, which was introduced earlier this year, allowing advertisers to specify negative keywords that would prevent their ads from being shown alongside controversial topics.
RSS advertising has a lot of potential. Most popular portals, including iGoogle, MyMSN and MyYahoo! use RSS technology to syndicate information. Once advertisers and media vendors can figure out the right balance between promoting and intruding into a subscriber’s space, the medium can provide a vast, relatively untapped stock of ad inventory.