If you’re looking to promote your blog through advertising but don’t have a budget for it you might want to look at a new service that Rojo (a feed reader) is rolling out called FeedShare. The system is basically an automated ad swapping service where you place an AdSense like piece of code on your blog and advertise others blogs for them (and their RSS feeds) and in return get impressions on other people’s blogs. They explain it like this:
‘You give exposure by displaying “Feed Listings” (see example above) which display the name and description of blogs and other feed publishers. When visitors click on these listings they can then subscribe to the RSS or Atom feed for that blogger or publisher in any one of several feed readers.
You then create a listing for your OWN blog and for every impression you donate to the network on your blog, you will receive a listing on someone else’s blog or in Rojo.com. The goal is to help build the feed subscriber base to your blog, increasing awareness and traffic to your site.’
Keep in mind a few things before rushing in:
1. Each ad unit you show has two ads on it. One is part of the ad exchange program, the other is a paid ad – the proceeds of which go to Rojo and are not shared with you. They do say in their FAQ that if you want to be paid instead of getting your blog promoted that you should let them know.
2. I can’t see anywhere in their information explicitly whether these are contextual ads. From what I can see in the set up both advertisers and publishers need to add keywords for ads to be triggered by. This COULD be seen as contextual advertising and if it is you will not be able to run these units on the same page as AdSense ads. It might be well worth clarifying this with the AdSense team before getting into this.
3. When people click on the title in the ad they are not taken to your site – but to your RSS feed – in the Rojo feed reader. This means people are two clicks from your blog – something that I think works against this system. The reason Rojo is says they are doing it is to build RSS subscribers to your blog – but I’m unsure that anyone would subscribe to my blog without actually coming to it first rather than just reading my last few RSS entries. Also from what I can see it’s not easy for people to subscribe to the feed via other news aggregators from within Rojo (I find that 40% of my blog’s readers use Bloglines and very few use Rojo – unless they know the Rojo system the chances of them subscribing to my feed after being taken to Rojo are slim). I can see why Rojo would do it (they are wanting more people to use Rojo), but it’s one of the reasons I’m probably not going to use the system.
update: after a little more investigation I can see what happens if someone clicks an ad who is not a Rojo user – they are taken to a page where they are given the option of subscribing to your blog via Rojo or other feed readers – including Bloglines (see screen cap below). This partially answers some of my concerns – but I still feel being taken to the blog concerned would be a more preferable option as I wonder how many people will subscribe to a blog based upon the blog’s name and a 60 character description of it.
Here’s a partial screen cap of the page that someone who is not a logged in Rojo user goes to.
Thanks to Thomas for the tip (he was the first of a quite a few)