Tuesday, April 05, 2005

FeedBurner and RSS advertising

FeedBurner announces a $7M round of funding. Very nice.

When the company first started, seemed to me that they were just a small, free RSS caching service, not that different than the tens of other caching solutions out there.

FeedBurner is still a feed caching service, but they're trying to break through into advertising in RSS feeds and premier (subscriber only) services like more sophisticated tracking and metrics on RSS feeds.

As I've said before, I think there's some serious issues with advertising in RSS feeds. If you're only publishing short excerpts in your feeds, the feeds themselves are ads, advertisements of the content on your website. Adding more ads to the ads will be annoying and will drive people away.

If you're one of the sites that do publish full text feeds, you might never expect people to come to your website to view your content. In that case, advertising is much more reasonable. The key here would be to make the advertising as targeted and relevant as possible.

It'll be interesting to watch FeedBurner. They're right at the center of the growth of RSS.

[via Brad Feld and Matt Marshall]

Update: Two years later, Google acquires FeedBurner for $100M. It appears Google was most attracted to FeedBurner's 430k subscribers (in May 2007) and Feedburner's tracking and metrics services.

While the companies seem like a good match to me, at $230 per FeedBurner subscriber, I might have balked at the price. If Google had hacked up a FeedBurner knock-off and handed out a $100 bill to any FeedBurner subscriber who switched, I suspect Google would have done pretty well.

But, hey, after spending $1.6B on YouTube and $3.1B on DoubleClick (not to mention Microsoft's $6B for aQuantive), I guess $100M is pocket change.

Congrats to the FeedBurner team! You did build a great product and deserve this outcome.

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