No More RSS Ads

Many are mulling whether RSS feeds should have ads. That is, fundamentally, a non-debate debate: Any economically viable feed is eventually going to contain ads. The only open issue is how many ads, of what kind, and how carefully targetted they are. It is silly to argue otherwise.

With the preceding in mind, I have been experimenting with Feedburner’s Amazon ads in some of my entries here. Every second entry gets an Amazon banner for a related book if the entry is more than 50 words long.

But here is the problem: Feedburner’s book ads rarely have anything to do with the content. For example, one current entry on IPO underpricing has an accompanying ad in the RSS feed on the “Perricone Prescription” book.

While I tolerate Google’s Adsense because it generally takes nothing away from content, and even adds a little now and then, RSS ads that don’t add to the content are merely clutter. So here’s my decision: Feedburner’s ads are gone. While I would cheerfully re-insert relevant RSS ads in future, whether via Feedburner or someone else, I’m not going to put ads in feeds just because I can.


  1. Whew, thanks for taking those out!
    Your RSS feed was the first one I saw take advantage of the Feedburner ads. They were kind of distracting and annoying. I almost unsubscribed from your feed because of them.
    I’m with you–I don’t mind displaying or viewing *targeted* ads that are relevant to the content. If/when Feedburner comes up with a better solution, I’ll probably implement it on my feed too. But until then…

  2. Thanks Bren. You and I apparently see this similarly. Just because ads are inevitably coming doesn’t you have to run ads that disrupt you from the feed-reading experience.

  3. Hi Paul, I have talked about the Amazon links and related issues a bit on our company blog. We are using Amazon Web Services which should be matching your posts to very relevant/related Amazon links. It winds up being hit or miss. Some posts get fantastic matches, others miss the mark by a significant margin. We are learning a lot about where Amazon gets relevant matches and where it doesn’t, and hopefully we can use that information downstream to provide publishers with suggested alternatives in those cases where the publisher wants/needs to monetize their feed. Totally understand what you’re talking about and we’re working to implement a number of alternatives.