Have been following with some interest the announcement that Google has released into beta AdSense advertising for RSS feeds. Google has been "testing" RSS advertising since April when these ads began to appear in several highprofile sites.
On further review as they say in football, this program is not quite ready for prime time, and Google doesn't seem to quite get the realities of the blog space. In there cheery sign-up notice Google advises that:
If you are a current AdSense publisher and your feed has more than 100 active subscribers, you may qualify for participation in AdSense for feeds (BETA).
So, I ask, how many blogs actually show that they have 100 active subscribers and how are these to be measured? Is Google simply going to take the site owner's word for it, hmmm.Subscriber activity is still poorly tracked and understood. The methods are still in their infancy.
For example, I receive Feedburner stats for this blog, but I'm more than sure that this is not measuring all of my RSS traffic. I'm not running any log analysis tools, since it is a hosted blog (hosted for convenience and out of a desire to try this platform).
Then, if one digs a little deeper into the program Google gives us all best practices for using these ads. These include:
- Syndicate the full text of your articles
- Don’t include more than one ad unit per article (because feeds are an uncluttered medium, or so they say as they try to clutter them)
- Place the ad unit at the end of articles (folks want content or so they opine)
- Include terms and conditions on the use of your feeds
All of these best practices seem to miss to me what the real point is -- most readers of RSS feeds, use a reader to get at content without the blinding array of ads that have proliferated. For my own part, I will clearly evaluate the value of any content that I must dig through advertising in the feed to get at. If I want advertising, I'll visit the site (and I often do clickthrough to sites), but slow adoption of this ad medium by publishers will be just fine by me.