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01 Juni 2008

AdSense for RSS Feeds Set to Launch Next Week
Google-owned FeedBurner is set to launch AdSense for RSS next week according to a post on the company’s blog. Much like the AdSense for Web sites, AdSense for RSS will show contextual text advertising in publisher’s RSS feeds. In other words, if you’re reading a blog post about mobile phones in Google Reader, you might see ads for AT&T, Verizon,and Sprint.

How will AdSense for RSS work in conjunction with the ads Feedburner already sells and displays? The company explains:

“Publishers already in the FeedBurner Ad Network will continue to see premium CPM ads directly sold onto their content, [...] but with the added bonus of contextually targeted ads that will fill up the remainder of their inventory. That means you get the best of both worlds: a dedicated Google sales force that knows how and why to sell onto your content, with the added revenue that full back-fill coverage provides.”

This is huge news for content publishers. As we know first-hand, monetization on RSS feeds to-date has been mediocre at best compared to Web-based advertising, and with an increasing amount of reading and conversation taking place off-site, that’s a brewing problem in the world of content publishing. It also means that the few remaining hold outs who only publish partial feeds (I’m looking at you CNET and The New York Times) may finally offer full feeds, since they can now be effectively monetized. On the other hand, for RSS consumers, it probably means the free ride is over.

While Feedburner has seemingly been neglected by Google since it was acquired, the strategy behind the deal is now coming full circle, as Google has effectively cornered the market on RSS monetization. They own the #1 (or #2 depending on who you ask) feed reader in Google Reader, the dominant feed management tool, and now what sounds like the most comprehensive way to monetize RSS, with Google’s huge base of advertisers already signed up (via AdWords) to participate.

Expect the full details of the AdSense for RSS program to be announced next week.
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