RSS Ads are Coming

By Deane Barker on June 24, 2008

Federated Media and Pheedo have struck a deal to provide ads in Gadgetopia’s RSS feed. They’re fairly unobtrusive, and will only appear on one in four posts.

This post, therefore, is nothing but a notice and a place to vent. I know some of you have strong opinions about ads in RSS, but this is particularly sensitive for Gadgetopia, since probably 80% of our eyeballs come through RSS. The HTML side is fine, but RSS is where the lion’s share of our traffic is.

Comments are open. Have at it.



  1. Over time, one of the things I’ve come to appreciate most about feeds is the beautiful lack of cruft, including very little graphics, colors, or ads. I’m able to absorb a lot of content efficiently because of that consistent, minimalist, UI across it all. Content truly gets to be king.

    The increasing encroachment of ads into feeds has been inevitable for several years. So be it. But it feels like we’re chipping away at the medium’s advantages. While it surely helps to provide necessary income to support content providers, I wonder at what cost to diminished attention from readers.

  2. You present a reasoned, intelligent argument. The future of ads in RSS remains to be written, I suppose, but the potential for it to end up like HTML is there.

  3. With a tip of the hat to Aaron,

    RSS feeds have ads? Since when? I don’t see any ads in my RSS feeds. ;-)

    Backing up what Carina said, the speed at which I can absorb information compared to just reading a site in HTML/CSS/Javascript/php/Coldfusion/Python/etc is staggering.

  4. As long as they’re unobtrusive, and it’s not difficult to say when the post ends and the ad begins, ads in the RSS feed are fine.

    It is, of course, much nicer to read a feed without the ads. But it also reduces the incentive of many sites/blogs to provide full feeds when they make money from on-site viewers and don’t make money from feed readers. So putting ads in the feeds is expected, and perfectly understandable and legitimate.

    Just, again, as long as they’re not too obtrusive and annoying. Don’t make the ads more visible and prominent than the posts’ text, have some separator, and I won’t have a problem with them. I expect neither will most people.

    Also, though tastes may vary here, join the ads with existing posts (e.g. at the bottom of a post), and don’t make separate feed items for the ads. Separate posts are easier to filter, but they’re also more annoying by creating fake posts to draw attention, and so drastically increase the likelihood that I’ll want to filter the feed rather than let the ads be.

  5. Text ads acceptable. Graphic ads == unsubscribe. Simple for me really.

    There are lots of tech feeds I sub to that have text ads and I am fine by that. I might miss the content from Gadgetopia but I personally don’t want to be present with graphical ads.

    My 2 cents. Good luck with the change. I will stick around a little to see what they are like.

  6. Graphic ads are disappointing. If they’re small and static, that’s fine — but if they’re large and/or animated, I think I’ll be unsubscribing too.

    Also, something else has gone wonky with your feed at least in Net News Wire; I have a few dozen “email this” “add to” links at the end of each post. That behavior seems unique to this feed.

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