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RSS advertising – a flash in the pan?

Is RSS advertising as we know it dying a slow death?

Even before Google's acquisition of FeedBurner, I had noticed that the number of ad impressions delivered through my RSS feed were very lumpy as we started into the second quarter of 2007. Before that the impression numbers had been building steadily.

I started keeping an eye on the percentage of inventory sold on the Venture Capital channel of FeedBurner's Advertising Network. During the early part of Q2, the percentage sold was in the mid 20's but has since dwindled to zero as of today.

It's hard to tell whether this is a byproduct of the Google acquisition or whether it's something more endemic to RSS advertising itself. From the support forums at FeedBurner its clear that I'm not the only one seeing a significant decline in feed advertising.

As Fred Wilson said on the Union Square Ventures blog:

"For all of FeedBurner's success, monetizing the feeds has been a struggle. The inventory they manage always seems to grow so much faster than the advertising they sell. Their self service advertising system never really took off, and that made it even harder to monetize all the inventory they manage."

An obvious move would be for Google to marry AdWords with a richer graphic ad in RSS feeds and convert from a CPM model to CPC.


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