Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blogging for Dollars

I've been toying with the idea of increasing how much I might get back from this little place. At times it gets down right exciting to watch my hits rise day after day, until I get writers block again and drop back to double digits for a month or so. I can't help but listen to the entrepenourial spirit in me that suggests a little more devotion and disipline on my part would push the pocket pennies to a threshold the likes of my ramen-eating self would just drool over. Hell, I could even buy two flavors of ramen.

So, I played with a few things. I naively made an attempt to jury-rig my Google Adsense snippets into my actual posts, to test what would come up in my reader. Squat, that's what. I looked around for feed-specific advertising services, and I found nothing but closed betas. I was seriously surprised at the lack of services in this area. Anyone who gets there first is going to have a serious advantage. Now, many someone is there first, so let me rephrase it as "someone who gets there first, in a noticeable way". It's enough to make a guy want a startup.

The dead-ends I've crawled back from in this pursuit must have been littered with the sweat of others out there, looking for just this sort of thing. Some places are doing in-feed advertising in-house, such as Slashdot, but the rest of us are really left hanging. Every day I look at my hits through Adsense and I really have to wonder what I'm missing. If I'm getting so many people actually making their way to my page, how many aren't even doing that much and just read it through the aggregators and never browse to the site proper?

One might suppose that the "real" hits are more important anyway. Those are the ones that really measure interest, not passive consumption. That isn't what this is about, anyway. I need some cold, hard cash.

What is everyone's opinion on the different routes? I'd like to know both what anyone thinks personally and/or what experiences you've had with the options available.
  1. What is to be done about the feeds (which are great) taking users away from our sites? Does this change the perspective of the entire web?
  2. What about our feeds being interlaced with advertising, text and banner?
  3. What reaction, if any, should the public have to paid advertising posts by bloggers and are they worth it?


metapundit.net said...

I've been watching the evolution of ads in an RSS driven world with interest. Slashdot, for instance, strips the links out of their stories now - if you're interested in a story you have to click through to slashdot in order to follow the links. I can see this in a site that's always been community based (ie - the comments are as much the deal as the news for nerds is.)

I think I actually like this model better than what they were doing previously - graphical ads embedded in the feed that sometimes dwarfed the story. Very annoying - I thought about unsubscribing for a while.

If you do pursue ads do it the google way - ads should be text based and unobtrusive. Don't ruin my reading experience! If I start seeing flash ads in my bloglines I'll unsubscribe in a heartbeat...

BTW, did you look at feedburner.com? I've never used their service but have always been under the impression that they do exactly the ads-in-feeds thing you're talking about. Maybe they're not contextual. Sure seems like the sort of thing Google would be good at, doesn't it?

Fuzzyman said...

I only provide partial feeds, which means that people have to come to my site to read the full entry.

Some people argue that this actually *reduces* traffic to your site as some people won't read partial feeds.

Personally, the reason I use partial feeds is because I haven't *bothered* to put the effort into changing over... but it is an interesting debate.

I'm sure that somewhere I saw some company that would put ads into RSS feeds. Can't remember who they are though. :-)

Fuzzyman said...

Feedburner offers an 'ads in RSS' service:


I knew I had seen it somewhere...

I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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