Ads start arriving in RSS feeds

It was just a matter of time – RSS webfeeds are now starting to carry advertising.

I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks that some of the feeds I subscribe to contain advertising messages, so far with the message header prefixed with the word ‘AD.’ Engadget now includes an ad message at the end of each of their webfeeds.

It probably won’t be long before it’s common to see ads mixed in with actual news and information content in RSS feeds, especially from media sites. Too good an opportunity to miss in targeting captive audiences.

It also presents a tempting opportunity to organizations as they embrace RSS in areas such as press release distribution. Very easy to slip in some marketing promotional messaging amongst the PR (but would you actually call that advertising?).

All this will quickly lead to another opportunity – development of RSS spam filters. I wonder how long it will be before we see the first such effective tool. Maybe developers like Nick Bradbury over at FeedDemon are already working on something for upcoming versions of their RSS readers.

A Wired News article last week has a brief discussion of some of the issues.

3 thoughts on “Ads start arriving in RSS feeds

  1. I wrote about this in my blog on Oct. 15, citing a piece from Wired News. The difference between this and spam is that this advertising will appear in the feeds you subscribe to. I suppose somebody could come up with a way to scrub feeds to ads don’t come through, but I don’t see the point. I just think advertising will, one way or another, pollute everything we like. Here’s a link to the Wired piece:,1282,65347,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5

  2. I agree, Shel – I am sure advertising will become prevalent in RSS feeds. If it develops into as big an issue as spam is in email, then that will very likely be a kiss of death for a great medium.
    Hopefully not.

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