Washington Post Goes to Ads in RSS

Hot off PR Newswire, Washingtonpost.com is going to start pushing ads in its RSS feeds starting July 15. From the release:

Washingtonpost.com today announced that it will introduce advertising in its RSS (Real Simple syndication) feeds, making it the first major news site to offer ad units in its syndication streams.

To launch on July 15 in its Top News, Politics and Opinion feeds, the ads will be part of a unique campaign integrating RSS ads, online video, behavioral targeting and standard ad delivery.

The launch partner for the campaign is the MSNBC nightly news and commentary program, The Situation with Tucker Carlson.
This is great that the first large media site is going to push ads via RSS. And, this is terrible, because the first large media site is going to push ads via RSS.

Why's it great - well, it shows that RSS is ready for prime time, and that the Post expects more people to adopt RSS to read the paper and the feeds. Why's it terrible - easy, it's the spamification of RSS. Yes, I know that the media needs to pay reporters, and needs to find new revenue streams for the downturn in circulation and readers of the paper. But, at the same time, I wonder if this is the first step down the slippery slope (yes, logical fallacy) of RSS becoming perverted.

At Syndicate Conference, Nooked (disclosure: client) hosted a lunch panel moderated by Tom Foremski with Robert Scoble, Charlene Li, David Dunne, plus others. Well, the panel was on the future of RSS. While we didn't look that far into the future, one of the things that did come up is that there is room in RSS for marketing and advertising, but how about just an RSS feed of deals from various corporations, like Target or Jetblue or Walmart - the RSS feeds of coupons and specials. (Yes, Nooked offers such solutions, including tracking and measurement, for direct marketing).

That seems like another solution - that the Post could offer an RSS feed of Post subscriber specials, but then you have to wonder if people would subscribe to that RSS feed. Yep, a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation ...

Update at 12.20 pm pdt: Steve Rubel has his take that this will happen more and more, particularly as more brand RSS aggregators.

Technorati tags: