Questioning the Approach

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-17 Print this article Print

Still, executives from other companies involved in RSS advertising questioned whether Googles model of extending AdSense contextual ads to RSS is the best approach. "The issue I believe the big guys face is that Google is still trying to use its existing contextualization, and it is not storing the subscription history," said Scott Rafer, president and CEO of Feedster Inc.
Rafer said that context in RSS feeds involves more than the text of particular post. What also matters is the overall content focus of a feed and the reason why readers have subscribed to it.
Feedster has started its own online advertising network called the Feedster Media Network. Last week, it announced that ad agency Starcom Worldwide had chosen to deliver Sun Microsystems Inc.s first RSS ad campaign through Feedster. Click here to read about Feedsters earlier RSS steps and the debate over feed-based ads. But to Ghosemajumder, the feed medium actually helps Google with targeting because users are able to cut out the clutter that typically appears on a Web site and focus exclusively on the content of an article. "It benefits from the highly structured nature of the feeds themselves," he said of AdSense for feeds. "Youre more focused on the content, and there is less distraction there." To join the beta, Google is requiring publishers to complete an application to participate in the beta. It is following the same content restrictions as it follows for AdSense generally, Ghosemajumder said. In other RSS advertising news from Syndicate, Blogdigger plans to announce Wednesday that it will begin including its first advertising posts in RSS feeds that it generates. Blogdigger, of Baltimore, Md., is moving into advertising as part of the launch of a local search features. Users of the service now can search by 50,000 city names or ZIP codes to return the results of blogs and feeds from a specific geography, Gershman said. Blogdigger also plans to add the ability to search by latitude and longitude coordinates worldwide. It is basing its search results on the location of a blogger and not references in articles to specific cities by tapping into geocoding data or other information provided by the publisher, Gershman said. Users can also create RSS feeds of their local searches. In those feeds, Blogdigger will be adding advertisements as separate posts and is initially partnering with Whizspark Corp. to inserts ads about local events, Gershman said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.

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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