RSS Advertising Options

It has been around 18 months since I first saw an advertising network begin to offer RSS advertising (it was AdSense launching their beta testing program to a limited number of advertisers – which incidentally still in beta).

When this program was announced it caused quite a large buzz around web publishers and many people talked RSS advertising up as the next big thing. However since that time the buzz has largely subsided and many publishers have expressed disappointment in the conversion of AdSense for RSS and well as what other networks have on offer.

The problems were many with RSS advertising but the main one that I’ve heard publishers complaining about is simply ‘lack of earnings’.

Over the past 18 months a number of other networks have announced – many of which I’ve experimented with. Here are a few of them with a few comments on each:

  • Feedburner Ad Network – if you have Feedburner run your feeds for you and you get a reasonable level of traffic you can apply to be a part of Feedburner’s Ad Network (FAN). It’s a service I’ve used on a number of my blogs for 6+ months now and I’ve done quite well out of it. You can read my review of it here but along with Feedvertising it’s my RSS ad network of choice. I like that you can accept or reject ads before they appear and that it’s a channels based system which helps make ads more relevant to your topic.
  • Feedvertising (aff) – the most recent arrival on the RSS advertising front – this system is from Text Link Ads and is what you see operating in the ProBlogger feeds at present. I’ve introduced it here in more detail but it is currently only available for WordPress users and is a plugin based system that allows you to rotate your own ads into circulation or for you to sell advertising to advertisers through the TLA system (or both). I’ve found it to be quite easy to use and from what I know it is one of the few systems that will accept any RSS – big or small. It doesn’t have a lot of advertisers buying up ads (I’ve had a couple so far) so might not keep your ads as fresh as AdSense or YPN but it’s been quite good for me in terms of earnings so far.
  • AdSense – currently still being beta tested and only available for some publishers. This is contextual RSS advertising and operates similarly to other AdSense offerings in that they give you code to plug into your RSS feed. It’s pretty simple – you simply plug it in and forget about it. I used it for a while but found that the returns were so low that I swapped over to Feedburner and TLA’s Feedvertising. They don’t let you design the ads like other AdSense ads.
  • YPN – if you’re lucky enough to be a YPN beta tester you’ll have access to running their RSS ads in your feeds. I’ve not tested the service but am told it’s very similar to what AdSense offers. They have code ready to implement in WordPress or Movable Type which you insert into your feed with your publisher ID. The ad is served as an image (not as actual text) which is the way AdSense and pheedo work also. The whole image links back to the advertiser
  • Pheedo – offers 2 RSS advertising solutions – Pheedo Ads for Feeds (easy to implement – just cut and paste some code and you’re up and running) and Feedo Ads for Feeds+ (a full level service with analytics and customization of ads and campaigns). Pheedo keeps 35% of revenue generated – publishers get 65%.
  • Feedster – I can’t see much on their site at the moment about RSS advertising but they did announce a partnership with Adbrite a while back (although the links to the partnership site now forward on back to Feedster. Not sure if their ad network is active or they are just hiding it!

My experience is limited to the first three options. My results with AdSense were poor (although to give them credit I haven’t used them for a year now. Feedvertising and Feedburner’s options worked better for me – however particularly on my blogs with higher numbers of RSS subscribers (as with all forms of traffic is essential to make money from advertising).

Feel free to suggest other ad networks providing RSS advertising and share you experiences with them (or the above 6 networks).

Speedlinking 20 October 2006

b5media Hiring Ad Sales Manager

If you’re an experienced and well connected online ad sales person and are looking to work for in a growing new media business then you might be interested in this job over at the b5 site.

Get a Life Week

A couple of weeks ago I took a different approach to blogging.

I did less of it.

Every now and again I find myself running low on energy, creative ideas and the ability to form coherent sentences.

If I was a car you’d book me in for a service, change my oil, tune the engine, balance my wheel alignment and adjust my brakes.

Unfortunately getting a ‘service’ as a blogger is not quite that easy.

The pressure of writing well thought out, original and creative ideas day after day mounts up and one day you find yourself staring blankly at your computer screen wondering where your next post will come from?

Most bloggers have reached this point at one time or another – for me it’s a periodic thing and often is accompanied by getting sick a day or so before or after the dreaded bloggers block hits.

So what did I do?

  1. Blog Break – fortunately for me I had a number of fully (and partly) written posts that I’d already been working on for my main blogs and was able to pull them out, polish them up and publish them. This enabled the blogs to keep rolling on while I got my act together. Here at ProBlogger I decreased my posting frequency and kept my blogging contained to an hour a day. My other blogs I took a complete break from for the week.
  2. Life – I declared (to V and myself) that the week would be ‘get a life’ week. This meant that I blogged less and ‘lived’ more. Unfortunately as I was unwell this involved a couple of days in bed with the flu. I spent quite a bit of time reading novels but later in the week spent two days in the garden getting our vegetable patch in order. I also did quite a bit of photography (purely for enjoyment and not for the blog), spent a lot of time with young Xavier (he’s 15 weeks old today – time flies) and did some exercise.

It is amazing what a lighter week of blogging can do for your perspective. Without them I’d never be able to sustain myself.

Time to have a ‘Get a Life Week’?

Meeting Partners

After a year of being in partnership with my co-founders of b5media it looks like we’re finally going to meet – in person.

I just booked a ticket to Toronto and leave in just under a month for a whirlwind 10 days. Duncan’s coming also (unfortunately Shai can’t make it but we’re planning to meet her later in the year).

I had interviews this week with two journalists about b5media and it was interesting to see that in both cases the story that they latched onto was that we’d built a company without having met each other.

I guess we end that story in a few weeks – it’s going to be fun!

By the Way – I’ll also be heading to the US in late March next year to speak at a conference in Washington (more details on that in the weeks ahead). We’ll then have a week in New York as a bit of a holiday. While there won’t be a lot of spare time on either trip there’s a possibility of a meet up or two along the way.

Update: Thanks to those who’ve emailed and commented that they’d like to try and meet up while I’m in Toronto. We’ll try to pull together a meetup for anyone who is in the area to come have a drink (and/or dinner) with us. Could be the first ‘b5 party’. Stay tuned for details.

The first 7 days of blogging

Neil has put a useful guide together on The first 7 days of blogging which some of those at the beginning of their blogging journey might find useful.

What would you add?

Performancing Partners – First Impression Review

PartnerservePerformancing have just shot an email out to their newsletter list announcing their long awaited Performancing Partners program – an ad network which will rival BlogAds and which will be of interest to bloggers wishing to make money blogging.

It’s not really a secret as they’ve been quite open about the process but as of today you can now sign up as a publisher or advertiser.

The process is fairly simple – you place their code on your site and Advertisers can then sign up to place their ad on your site with you taking 70% of the revenue and Performancing taking 30% (you can see what happens when you add the code in my own sidebar (scroll down). Until ads are bought Performancing’s ad shows.


Publishers can either set their own price for ads or can use ‘Auto Pricing’ which examines your blog’s impressions, click stats etc to come up with a price. Auto pricing takes up to 48 hours to be worked out – I’m still waiting to see what they’ll price ProBlogger ads at (more on pricing here). The most expensive ad in the system at present is $323.00 for the month with most ads being priced at around the $1.60 to $1.90 CPM range.

Payments are made at the start of each month via paypal.

You also take 5% of income generated by any publisher or advertiser that you refer to the system – indefinitely (nice).

The ads

What are the ads like? Well I’m yet to see any on the sites that are listed in the advertisers section but if they are anything like the performancing placeholder house ad they are not too large, have rounded corners and have a little text box that appears when you scroll over them.

The system is quite like but on a first impression it’s a lot simpler and more useable system. Time will tell whether advertisers take it up though (BlogAds has a long head start).

A few other details

  • Ad Approval – Publishers get to approve each ad that shows on their site before it appears.
  • Other Ad Networks – They do allow you to run these ads with any other type of advertising that you choose.
  • Minimum Payments – There’s no minimum amount earned before you’ll be paid.
  • Numbers of Ads – You can choose to show up to 6 ads on your site (or as little as 1).

How to use the Performancing Partner Ads

It’s early days so it’s too soon to really make any predictions on how this will go (keep in mind that it’s in beta and a system that will no doubt need to be tweaked). However a couple of tips on how to get the most out of them come to mind:

1. Put your ads as high on your sidebar as possible – I find with BlogAds that advertisers are much more willing to purchase an ad that is above the fold. This is of course a challenge for some of us (for example here at ProBlogger the space at the top of my Sidebar is at a premium) however I suspect it’ll be more likely to convert to sales if you can put your ads high on your sidebar.

2. Keep a Careful Eye on the Auto Price – I’ve seen two pricing strategies employed successfully by publishers over at BlogAds. Some publishers undercut their competitors while others use premium pricing. I suspect that the same thing will happen here – it’s worth experimenting. Check out what price the auto pricing gives you and then start experimenting with prices above and below it.

What I’d love to see from Performancing Partners

It’s too early to review the performance of these ads – I think the challenge will be finding advertisers as there are so many other ad networks for them to buy ads in. Without them publishers won’t allow house ads to be shown for too long. Hopefully Performancing are willing to put some serious effort into selling ads for publishers to get the ball rolling.

A few other features come to mind that I’d like to see added:

  • Referral Buttons – I’d like to see Performancing develop some buttons/banners similar to Text-Link-Ads has for people to refer advertisers and publishers with their affiliate program. This type of promotion will bring more advertisers and publishers into the system (key for success).
  • Free House Ads – One feature that I love with BlogAds is the ability to run my own ads for free using a coupon code. This means I can make the ad section look used (attractive to other publishers) but also do cross promotion between blogs as well as promote affiliate programs.
  • Ad Examples – I have to admit that when I first went to the site to look at this new network that I was somewhat confused about what type of ads the network ran. Perhaps I read through all the information too quickly but it took me a while to work out if they were text ads, banner ads, button ads etc. Perhaps some examples of the types of ads that people could run would be good both for publishers (to see if they fit with the vibe of their sites) and advertisers (especially).
  • Multiple Ad Spots – Another technique that BlogAd publishers have open to them is having Blog Ads appear on multiple locations on the one site. This allows them to price the ads in premium positions at a much higher rate and have lower priced ads for lower on the side bar. Some of the big political blogs do this and have used it very very successfully.

All in all Performancing’s Partners program looks like it has real potential. I am looking forward to see how it performs and suspect it’ll do well – especially knowing the caliber of people behind it and involved with performancing.

How to Make Money from Internal Search Traffic with Chitika

When people can’t find what they are looking for on your blog one of the things that they’ll often do is head for your search tool and see if they can find what they are looking for on your blog that way.

On my blogs hundreds of people use my search tools every day. I know this because until recently I’ve been using the search tool provided by AdSense for my search tools and it gives some basic statistics on how many searches there are and what people are searching for. It also gives you a way to monetize your search results by running AdSense ads in your results (you can see an example of it running in ProBlogger’s side bar at the moment).

The AdSense tool is OK – it does a reasonable job of giving good search results – however it does take a few days for newer posts to become searchable and I’ve found that the money that it brings in is almost non existent (around the $1 per day mark across multiple blogs).

I’ve long been dissatisfied with the return on AdSense search but thought that the dollar a day was better than nothing ($365 a year isn’t something that will go astray).

So this week when I found an alternative to AdSense for search to monetize the internal searching on my blogs I was interested to see what would happen.

Monetizing Internal Searching with Chitika

Earlier in the week I was wandering through Chitika’s support area and came across a tip that had previously escaped my attention.

In short – it will allow you to show Chitika eMiniMall ads in the search results page of your WP blog (if you use the default WP search template) with products in the ads that relate to the search.

The process is pretty simple to do (outlined below) and I’m happy to report that the results have brought me an improvement on the money earned from internal search. While I’m still not earning a lot from it, the last few days have seen a 500% improvement (remember I didn’t start with much) on some of my blogs. Don’t expect big dollars but do let me know how it goes for you.

I’ve not used it here at ProBlogger because this blog isn’t a product related blog (and as a result Chitika doesn’t work well with it) but on some of my other product related blogs it works well.

Here’s the process outlined by Chitika:

[Read more…]

Chitika offer Related Products Unit

Chitika have been rolling out some interesting offerings to publishers lately. Their eMinimalls are over a year old now, they’ve exctended them to Multi Product Unit minimalls and more recently announced Shoplinc shops and their Forums.

Another product that they’ve been testing lately with a small group of testers is ‘Related Product Units’ (RPUs).

I’ve been one of the testers on these units and they’ve been responsible for a good increase in my Chitika earnings over the past week or two.

The RPU units are perhaps the most simple and easy to integrate ads that Chitika offers – they simply list three related products to the post you’ve written. Here’s how they look:


This screen cap of the RPU ads came from my recent review of the Fujifilm Finepix F30 (my new favorite point and shoot camera).

A click on the link brings in the revenue (CPC) and readers are taken directly to the advertisers page.

The code behind these ads is very similar to Chitika’s other ads.

As the ads are still in testing the code generation process is not really automated – you need to get the code from Chitika via email but I’m told they are generating an automated system that will spit out customized code as you need it.

How do they perform? At a glance – very very well. They integrate nicely into a site and as a result CTR is good. The cost per click amount is 50-70% lower than eMiniMall ads for some reason so that’s a downer and they do cannibalize from other ads on your page a little – but for the increase in income that they’ve brought in has outweighed the decrease in other ads on the page.

At this point RPU ads are still being tested but as I’ve seen them mentioned in their Support area and in their forums I thought I’d mention them as they seem to be going public about them.

Once again (and as with all Chitika ad units) these will work best on product related sites.

The only thing that I’d suggest that Chitika do with RPUs is consider some sort of note on them that they are ads like Google’s ‘ads by Gooooogle’ as they can look so integrated into sites that it’s not obvious what they are. This might decrease performance but it comes close to blurring the line between content and advertising.