RSS is Advertising, Not a Channel for Advertising

(originally published at

This afternoon, I was listening to an interview on RSS advertising. Overall, it sounded like Pheedo is shoehorning the dying interruption-based ad model into the relationship-based world of RSS.

There are a number of companies trying to make RSS measurement more accurate (Pheedo, Feedster, FeedBurner). This is excellent, RSS feeds are the way to connect with passionate, influential people on their terms. The more tools available to refine RSS feeds, the stronger the relationship.

The problem is, “the RSS feed is itself an ad.”. Putting an ad in a feed is like putting an ad within a 30 second spot. Like Crest buying product-placement within a Coke ad. That doesn’t make sense.

Instead of advertising within another feed, I recommend companies publish their own feed, start their own relationships with customers – directly. Stop being parasites. New product announcements, press releases, customer research inquiries, and promotions are all useful, valuable items to publish in a feed.

If a company publishes a feed and no one subscribes, is the company relevant to the marketplace?