We’ve been hinting at this for awhile, but it’s finally time to spill the beans: Starting next week, we’ll be rolling out AdSense for feeds to a small group of publishers, in anticipation of a full launch to all FeedBurner and AdSense publishers “coming soon”. If you start seeing “Ads by Google” on an ad in a feed somewhere, that’d be us.
The ads are sold via the AdWords program, just like regular Adsense ads. When everything is rolled out, anyone eligible for Adsense ads will be able to roll out their own ads in feeds.
This is apparently pissing people off, no doubt because it’s probably harder to filter out ads in the full feeds they subscribe to, rather than block ’em on the web. Webmaster-Source rants a bit about it, being pissed off that people essentially don’t want ads in their feeds.
Ads in feeds aren’t anything new, but with Adsense it will probably change from small text links to more traditional ad formats. This means that you’ll have to accept ads even in your feed reader in the coming future, which might be a reason enough to visit the original site, rather than reading the feed. It might also mean that full RSS feeds will be less attractive in the future, and feeds overall will be used more like a notification of that there are updates, rather than an actual way to read the content. Or you can read the content, but with ads, via RSS.
Personally, I hope and think that this will change the way we use RSS feeds. After all, a well-designed site with ads is always preferred to a poorly rendered RSS feed with bulky advertisements and poor graphic placements.
What do you think? How will this change feeds and the way we use them?
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.