Revamped Feedster Finds Links, Sponsored Ads

The blog and RSS search engine aims to "fill out the news experience" with a redesign that adds search of inbound links as well as paid listings-and officials say putting ads in RSS is only a matter of time.

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Weblog search engine Feedster Inc. is moving beyond keyword search in its launch Thursday of a revamped site.

The startup has added a beta feature called "Links" that lets users enter the URL of a site or a specific page to discover the other news feeds linking to it, Feedster president and CEO Scott Rafer said during an interview at the AlwaysOn conference being held here.

Feedster also has added advertising to its site with sponsored search results appearing alongside its keyword-based news feed results, Rafer said. Yahoo Inc.s Overture Services is the paid-listings provider.

"This is our first source of revenue, and we will do other things over the course of the next few months," Rafer said.

One item on the advertising agenda is to add sponsored links to the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds of Feedster search results that the company offers for blogs and other sites, though Rafer wouldnt specify when that would occur.

The company increasingly is licensing those search-result feeds to other portal sites and would provide the option of turning off ads, Rafer said.

"Well eventually have to put ads in RSS," he said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about one vendors push to use RSS in marketing.

Founded in March 2003, Feedster indexes XML syndication feeds such as RSS and Atom feeds from blogs and news Web sites. It uses about 30 news-feed notification services such as to refresh its index, as well as using its own crawling technology.

According to the company, it indexes about 700,000 syndicated sources, with another 5,000 being added daily.

Feedster is one of the best-known of a growing number of search engines focused on blogs and XML feeds. Others include Technorati Inc. and Bloglines. Technorati already is well-known for its ability to search for inbound links to blogs.

Major Web search engines and portals are also starting to focus on blog search. Microsofts MSN division has said it plans to launch blog search later this year, and Yahoo Inc. is including RSS feeds within some of its Web search results.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the technical jockeying around XML syndication formats.

With its revamp, Feedster is providing new customization options for Web publishers. It has added logos to search results, which include icons for some of the top blog services such as Blogger, TypePad and LiveJournal as well as well-known bloggers, Rafer said.

But publishers themselves can submit their own graphic or photo for their feed logos, a process that should become self-service from the site within the next few weeks, Rafer said.

When users click on the icons, they can drill down into an individual feed. They can view the most recent feed as well as navigate to past feeds. Right now, the feature is limited to the current month, but Feedster will be including navigation among months in the next few weeks, Rafer said.

"This fills out the news experience," Rafer said. "Part of the new interface helps make a quick visual of which feeds are professionally produced and which are individually produced."

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