Relevant and Targeted

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-08-16 Print this article Print

But interest is growing in incorporating sponsored links into RSS feeds. Kanoodle, of Amherst, N.Y., quietly began offering pay-per-click ads for RSS about six months ago and has about 10 publishers putting sponsored links into their feeds, said Mark Josephson, Kanoodles senior vice president of marketing and business development. Read more here about Kanoodles other moves to combine sponsored links with behavioral targeting. The RSS sponsored links will be based on targeted categories in Kanoodles ContextTarget program rather than on keywords, Josephson said. ContextTarget is a pay-per-click program where links are mapped to as many as 30,000 content categories. Currently, Kanoodle has 400 live categories on its network of publisher sites, Josephson said.
"RSS we view as an extension of content pages because for advertisers, in contextual advertising, they want to reach consumers in a powerful environment where theres a relevant and targeted message," Josephson said.
Last month as part of a site redesign, Feedster entered the ad market by adding keyword-based sponsored links from Yahoo Inc.s Overture Services alongside its search results. Feedster is anticipating that its RSS ad move will raise objections from some backers of XML syndication, who view the technology as being sacrosanct from ads, Rafer said. But he hopes that the right mix and relevancy of the ads will satisfy users while also helping Feedster pay its bills and expand. "One of the reasons I took this job and get up every morning is because of the positive reinforcement for free speech that RSS supports, but at the end of day its [also] a data standard through which people are building businesses," Rafer said. "Nothing were doing is inhibiting how RSS works as mechanism for breaking media consolidation." The right amount and placement of RSS ads is a work in progress, but the trend toward more advertising is inevitable as publishers seek to earn revenue off their content, said business blogging consultant Rick Bruner. "If youre some kind of purist and think that advertising doesnt belong in Internet media, get over yourself or pay for it," said Bruner, president of Executive Summary Consulting, in New York. "It makes no sense that RSS should not be monetized, particularly if youre subscribing to RSS from a Web site that already has advertising on it." And RSS has a clear user advantages over other media for online advertising, particularly e-mail, said Ross Mayfield, CEO of enterprise wiki software company Socialtext Inc. and an avid blogger. Users ultimately will decide whether or not they will accept a given level of paid links and messages interspersed in their feeds. "Because its RSS, if people dont like it, they can click unsubscribe," he said. "What people consume is under the control of the consumer." Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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