I noticed the other day that a couple of the RSS feeds I follow had advertising items in them. Not ads attached to items in the feed, like many sites are doing these days, but ads that were the entire item. The title looked something like “(Advertisement) Web Hosting” and the text was a blurb for the service they were advertising; I assume if you clicked through, it would be the same effect as clicking an ad (go to the advertiser’s site). That’s the first time I remember seeing RSS used for ads this way.
So here’s the question: would this work more effectively than ads attached to the items themselves? Because in general, ads attached to RSS items can be intrusive and annoying (like any web ads), and I’ve seen more scorn than praise heaped upon RSS ads. Besides, inserting ads into items seems kludgy and inelegant; in the past I’ve thought that inserting the ad as a standalone item in the feed would be a better method, but this is the first time I’ve seen it implemented.
Would people subscribe to an all-advertising RSS feed? Suppose I ran an advertising feed along with my normal site feed. Initially I could populate it with Amazon affiliate links, for instance, and then sell advertising to third parties. (There’d have to be some stipulations as to how often I update the feed, and how often I run ads, of course.) But would people subscribe? And, more importantly, would they click through on items? (You’d have to have some click-tracking at work, definitely.)
I’m tempted to run an Amazon ad feed, as an experiment. Populate it with short reviews of books with my affiliate code and see if anyone clicks through on the “ads.” This is an easy experiment to do; Amazon’s affiliate site tracks clicks already, so I don’t have to worry about creating a tracking script. Hmmm.