RSS advertising

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.

Comments? Feedback?

Bend Bulletin RSS feed

Quick public service announcement: I’ve hacked together an RSS feed for the Bend Bulletin. It’s a first-pass, I’m scraping their Local, Business and Sports pages and building a summary feed only. If I have time, I may go one step further and pull each article on those pages, and provide a full-text feed.

Either way, here’s the RSS feed link [ed. note: no longer valid]. Enjoy!

Blog bot roundup

The variety is amazing: here’s a list of various agents, spiders and bots that I’ve culled from my logfiles over the last 30 days that have to do with RSS and/or blogs (specifically blogs, not just general purpose spiders like Google’s). These are only the ones I know for sure are blog or RSS related; others in my logs might be also, but aren’t obvious about it.

Geek types, note that these strings (with wildcards mostly) can be used as-is when identifying HTTP_USER_AGENT.

  • Bloglines: The web-based feed reader/aggregator
  • kinjabot: The (currently) beta bot for the Kinja weblog directory/guide
  • Feedreader: Windows-based feed reader/aggregator
  • RSS reader: Another searchable, web-based aggregator
  • FeedDemon: Windows-based feed reader/aggregator
  • Fastbuzz News is another web-based aggregator that scans news and blogs
  • and ORblogs-bot: The crawlers for ORBlogs which compile metadata and RSS for the aggregating site
  • SharpReader: Windows-based feed reader/aggregator
  • Technoratibot: Technorati‘s crawler
  • UniversalFeedParser: Mark Pilgrim‘s liberal feed parser which is used in a variety of RSS software
  • Feedster Crawler: Feedster’s RSS spider
  • BlogBot: I think this is Blogdex‘s crawler, but I’m not totally sure
  • BlogPulse: Yet another blog/RSS crawler and indexer
  • Slower, Friendlier Spiders (BlogShares V1.35): The spider for BlogShares, the fantasy share market for blogs
  • NITLE Blog Spider: The National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education‘s spider for their blog census
  • LocalfeedsPageCrawler
  • NusEyeFeedCrawler

Oregon Weblogs

Just wanted to give a few plugs and props to one of the better weblog-related sites out there, Oregon Blogs.

I thought about trying to describe what it does, but the best I could come up with is that it’s equal parts RSS aggregator, group blog, and weblog directory rolled into one; really, the way to find out about ORBlogs is to just visit it. It’s one of the more solid, useful and innovative blogging apps I’ve seen (even if it is written in ASP! :) ), and continues to surprise me with new features; for instance, clicking on the “info” link for a blog reveals a detail-rich page devoted to that site, including a snapshot of what the site looks like, state and city-scale maps showing where the blog lives, metatag data gleaned from the HTML source (much of it clickable), and the most recent blog posts.

Definitely a great site. Worth looking at even if you’re not from Oregon.

SharpReader Gone

SharpReader is outta here. Last night’s crash wasn’t a fluke; after I downloaded the latest version and restored my feeds, I went back and added two Amazon feeds and sure enough, it crashed again. Turns out the URLs for Amazon’s feeds are too long for SharpReader to handle.

The worst part is, after last night’s second crash, SharpReader wouldn’t even start back up at all—not last night, not today, nothing. So, it’s gone and I’m done with it. Won’t be going back.

Right now I’m playing with FeedDemon. Seems pretty nice so far.