Advertising in RSS

By Deane Barker on June 12, 2003

InfoWorld Trials RSS-Based Advertising: I was contemplating this the other day. What happens when people start spamming RSS feeds?

“InfoWorld’s simple solution is to make one of the headlines in its RSS feed an advertisement, noted as such via parentheses at the beginning of the link. Readers can click on it, just as they would an ad in an e-mail newsletter, or ignore it without harm.”

The irony is, spam may make RSS better, not worse.

RSS is pull medium, instead of push. No one can send me an RSS feed without my permission, as is the case with email. If a feed gets too much spam, I can always unsubscribe, which means if you want ads in your RSS feeds, you better have the content that makes me put up with them or I’ll just walk away from it, much like I change the channel on a TV show when I get bored with it.

Will ads in RSS feeds lead to better content? Time will tell



  1. I got my first ad in RSS today. Our friends at NewsGator are running an ad for their product. The headline was duly prefaced with “ADV:” and the ad had screencaps and all. I didn’t look at the headline too carefully, so it took me a second to figure out it was an ad.

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