Feedburner has been running ads in feeds for a
little while now. They have a slick self-service system for publishers to select which
ads run in their feeds, which personally I’ve been happy with (it allows me to delete any
‘offers’ of ads with a $1 CPM gross – there are surprisingly a lot of advertisers who try
to get away with that pathetic figure! Try $7 CPM, that’s more likely to get the tick of
approval). Now Feedburner has added the ability for publishers to put ads on their
websites
. CEO Dick Costolo is positioning this as another part of their ‘feeds as a
first class citizen of content’ strategy. He doesn’t use that particular phrasing (I
think that’s my pompous terminology!), but the title of his post says it all: The Feed Powers The
Site
.

Dick calls this new ad product a “a feed-driven approach to positioning ads on Web
sites and blogs.” Fred Wilson, a Feedburner investor, has details too. The
press release
explains a little more:

“By using the content and the structure of RSS and Web feeds, FeedBurner gives
advertisers unique new placements — such as continuous ads, ads that dynamically
appear only on content posted within specific timeframes, ads associated with highly
active content (e.g. blog posts with comments or those that have been emailed) and
more.”

Feedburner is banking on this extra feed-derived context to give them an edge
over page-derived contextual ad networks, like Google Adsense and Yahoo Publisher Network.
It’s difficult to predict how successful this will be without testing it first via my own
feed. Feedburner seems to be suggesting its ‘ownership’ and inside knowledge of a site’s feed gives them extra
contextual powers, which the likes of Google and Yahoo don’t have just by analysing the
text of each page/post. I’ll test it out and let you know.