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There's Gold in Them Thar RSS Feeds!

Posted on 7.24.2006
Last week WSM covered Pheedo's Feed Read Spring 2006 on this blog, which highlighted plenty of valuable information for those engaging in that communication platform. What the report didn't mention is the incredibly low adoption rate (estimates range from 2-3%) from most Web businesses. Realizing that our readers may not be blogging and may have never even heard about RSS, you should know that considering the "inevitability" of almost all technologies - you will want to start paying attention now.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dana Vanden Huevel, Director of Business Development for Pheedo yesterday afternoon and walked away with even more valuable information about RSS and RSS advertising than I had last week - and yes, all for the benefit of our readers.

WSM:  Why adopt and focus on RSS?
DVH:  While it's still an immature technology and has lots of room for growth, there is a segment of your audience that wants to be met in the newest medium. Your job is to meet them in that medium. Videocasting, Podcasting, Blogging are all faciliated by RSS and it is becoming a more natural fit with mid-market Web companies.

WSM:  Who is using RSS right now?
DVH:  The industries that are more "cutting edge" are most prone to use RSS. RSS is a natural fit with these enterprises because they understand that people want the persistent availability to connect, and recognize that there is a continual shift in how consumers consume information. So why RSS? RSS allows us to consume [information] at our own pace.

The trick for companies like Pheedo (and those interested in monetizing their blogging efforts or their established subscriber and reader base) is getting  the right ad in the right feed at the right time - which brings us to some best practicesfor both advertisers and publishers.

- RSS advertising is much more effective when used to brand-build and less effective when used to generate immediate sales.

- RSS advertising simply will not produce if you do not have a substantial number of feed readers/subscribers. Those with the largest RSS audiences often do a great job of promoting their feeds.

- Most important, is "understanding the feed traffic," said Vanden Huevel. Pheedo works one-on-one with publishers to analyze the traffic, grow their traffic and then, and only then, monetize. "RSS advertising without RSS metrics is meaningless," said Vanden Huevel. It's not how many are subscribed, it's about your circulation - how many are actively reading your feed?

All in all, lots of good information. It seems that a loyal userbase is the best way to gain revenues from RSS.

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