From day one, I got into blogging not knowing what to expect and figuring out the best way to learn about a market is to dive into it and become a user.  So I did that 18 months ago assuming that the time I spent as a blogger would either help me find compelling investment opportunities or provide me with in depth knowledge to help existing portfolio companies leverage this new opportunity.  Since becoming an avid blogger and reader, it is clear to me that embedded ads in RSS feeds will be a key way for content owners to monetize their assets.  First, the fact of consuming RSS feeds will typically reduce traffic at many publishers’ websites giving them less opportunity to monetize their assets.  Ads in RSS will help publishers overcome the lower traffic to their sites while still providing their users with up to date content.  Secondly, ads embedded in RSS feed gives great targeting opportunities for advertisers and publishers.  Hopefully this will allow for greater clickthrough rates.  Given these factors and the fact that users want free content, I believe ads embedded in RSS will become a defacto way for publishers to monetize their assets and for users to continue to consume content for free.  I also believe that as we morph into podcating and vlogs that publishers will find ways to monetize their content through automated embedded audio and video ads. Give this some time as there is not enough content out there, but I see a world where a new service is created which will allow rich media publishers to automatically embed audio and video ads as simply as contextual based text ads. 

Given this backdrop, I am excited that Morever Technologies (a portfolio company) and Kanoodle recently launched a partnership called FeedDirect RSS Ads.  Quite simply, FeedDirect will allow content owners to not only monetize their assets with content-targeted sponsored links via Kanoodle but also get maximum distribution through the Moreover network.  All it takes is a few clicks to sign up and begin generating revenue.  As a VC, one of the cliches we often talk about is eating your own dog food.  In other words, entrepreneurs and VCs, where applicable, should be users of products or services they create or in which they invest.  To that end, I am changing my RSS feed to incorporate the FeedDirect service.  From a transparency perspective, I plan on sharing some of my data with you as my RSS feeds get converted.  To subscribe and test out the FeedDirect service, please change my feed to this link.  If these ads annoy you or if you have thoughts on improving this, please let me know.

Published by Ed Sim

founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockey

21 comments on “RSS Ads”

  1. LMFAO. You’re kidding, right? You want someone to voluntarily submit to ads in an RSS feed?

    Thank god there are open source RSS aggregators, so that once this becomes commonplace, I can produce a blacklist that can pull those entries out of the RSS feed before it’s displayed.

  2. Ed,

    Thanks for updating your RSS feed from the default one provided. I have no clue why the Wizz RSS thing that I use and plugs into Firefox can’t read the index.rdf files that are default for TypePad users. Now I can finally subscribe via RSS.

  3. Hi Ed,

    Hey, can you please explain this FeedDirect RSS Ads. Sounds like a good idea, but i don’t get it.

    1) I changed my bloglines subscriptions to that new adress (

    2) It worked. I saw the posts in bloglines. Clicked on the heading.

    3) I saw that I was redirected through some other url, back to

    4) That’s all. So, what ads? I mean I didn’t see any?

    is it supposed to be like google Adsense? or contextual advertising (automatically inserted hyperlinks in content I publish)?

    Sorry for being such a dummy 😉

  4. Hey Ed,

    I switched to the FeedDirect feed as I have no problem with “discrete” ads that don’t get in the way of the content. As soon as the ads become “in your face”, then its unsubscribe time.

    The feed change-over worked fine but it looks like FeedDirect strips out all the paragraph information. I now get one massive paragraph per post in Newsgator Web Edition. This totally screws up the readability of your posts.

    On the comment posting functionality on your site, why does it require an email address? i.e. leaves things open for spam etc.

  5. I appreciate the patience in testing out this new RSS ad service. I am working to resolve some of the issues that you describe.

    Danny, as for your question on how the RSS ads work, I have two choices. One, I can send an RSS ad as a headline so with every post you might get one actual post and one post which is an ad which you can click on if you desire. In a web-based aggregator like MyYahoo, you will be able to see the headline RSS ad. My other choice is to embed a n ad at the end of every post which you will not be able to see if you use an aggregator that only pulls headlines. For now, I have decided to use the RSS ad as a headline but may change that in the future. It is clear to me as I am writing this that the FeedDirect service will need some more granular control over when and how an ad is inserted and managed in RSS.

  6. I’m having problems making it work as well, but I’m sure it’s something that I’m not doing correctly…will continue to try and figure it out.

    In general, I would observe that most of the feed tool sites assume a higher level of knowledge of how these technologies work, than actually exists.

    I’m amazed how many blogging and feed sites still tell folks to “insert this html code” into your site and then assume that users will have either the technical expertise, or the patience to actually see the project through.

    Most people have a life, and it’s only bleeding edge masochists like us who want to see these technologies in action that will make the effort to make these things work…

    I know it will all get a lot easier as time and technology move on…


  7. Hi Ed,

    ahhhhh, now I get it 😉 Good idea (as long as the ads are targeted)!

    True, the vast vast majority of the world population either don’t have the internet, don’t know what RSS is, don’t read blogs, don’t write blogs and definetely don’t use RSS readers.

    And yeah, I also think email should be optional.

  8. Ed,

    OK, so far I’ve gotten two ‘posts’ since this one, both ads with no other content. I think this is the wrong way to do ads in RSS – I see them as new items in your feed, click the feed and see nothing but ads. I might feel differently if these only appeared when you’ve posted new content. But you post relatively infrequently and there’s no sense in me subscribing to a feed where the number of ad posts is greater than the number of real posts.

    For your particular feed, I’d change to the ad-within-a-post format or, if you can, set the ads so that they appear only when you actually post. If things stay the same over the long term I’ll unsubscribe since I’d be getting mostly ads and that’s not of interest to me.

  9. Rick-thanks for the heads up. I am playing around with this figuring out which is best and just testing a new service. I am going to change to ads within the post so you do not continue to get headline ad feeds without content

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  11. Just fyi, the feed looks horrible in Shrook. It’s lost all its formatting. No line breaks or anything.

  12. I’m not sure if this is a problem with the ads, or a problem with Newsgator, but in Newsgator, your latest 7 posts are showing up as unread every few hours. I’m guessing because the ads are changing each time the feed is polled?

  13. True, the ads feed does something horrible to the text, running entire articles into a single paragraph. Horrible, worse than the ads! I’m glad this is a Portfolio company – sort it out!

  14. I think this is the wrong way to do ads in RSS – I see them as new items in your feed, click the feed and see nothing but ads. Today many and maybe most of RSS feeds are only served partial due to the basic reason of publishers wish to get more users to their website (Only place where context can be displayed).

  15. Since emerging the market of RSS and use of RSS as new marketing approach online, it would be more benificial for both advertisers and publishers.

    Once RSS provides free content distribution and after configuring them into desktop or web through readers, community reading them regular basis.

    Today, ads through email marketing are in the major contribution that takes place in ads through content distribution. Any news for a company are suppose to put their hands to email marketing opt-in where selected people can read regular news letter. The same today, RSS Readers takes the position. And the ads through it definetly will help to the advertisers. Coz, it targets to specific audience and the click through rate would be high than other marketing approach.

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