IndustryBrains Offers Paid Listings Ads Via RSS

Private-label paid listings company IndustryBrains now offers syndication of paid listings to publishers with RSS-driven content feeds, joining a small but rapidly growing list of companies capitalizing on the popular technology.

RSS is an XML-based technology created in the 1990s that pulls headlines and text from Web sites and displays them on users’ desktops or Web sites in RSS readers, or aggregators.

RSS feeds are getting a lot of attention from marketers and publisherssince they avoid often spam-clogged email inboxes. The format has grown popular among bloggers, and Yahoo last week integrated search and its RSS reader, a move expected to help mainstream the format.

The issue has been how to make money from RSS feeds, as the cost to offer them can be significant and advertising support has yet to take off. Now IndustryBrains joins the fray of companies offering ways to run advertisements in the feeds.

Beta client InfoWorld has been testing out the service since June. A reader interested in wireless, for example, can set his or her aggregator to pull headlines and descriptions of articles from this section. Through IndustryBrains’ offering, every fifth headline includes a wireless-oriented ad along with the content.

“It’s very highly targeted from the user’s perspective and the advertiser’s perspective. The user is getting a text link from an advertiser who qualifies for their interest and at the same time the advertiser is reaching a buyer,” said Eric Matlick, IndustryBrains’ CEO.

“Every publisher struggles with what’s the business model of RSS feeds. They’ve all figured out there’s an audience and they can distribute content to them through feeds. This application helps them monetize their traffic,” said Matlick.

“We don’t charge the publishers anything. We work on a revenue share,” he said.

Online advertising advertisers and marketers are rushing to capitalize on RSS technology. A new online ad network, RSSAds, is gearing up to launch in the next couple of months. And email marketing firm IMN introduced a new feature Monday enabling its clients to use trackable RSS feeds for their IMN-based online newsletters and blogs.

It’s too early to tell how well the offerings of these firms will do in terms of clickthroughs and revenue. But so far, the clickthroughs garnered by IndustryBrains’ new service look good, according to InfoWorld.

“This is still in test mode, but we’ve seen some really promising clickthrough rates in all our tests,” said Matt McAlister, general manager of InfoWorld. “The worst-performing test we did still outperformed some of the best clickthrough rates we got on the Web site.”

McAlister cautioned that since this is a new application of advertising, it is possible that some of the clicks might be due to curiosity. “It also might be that it’s very successful and relevant to the user. That has yet to be determined,” he said.

The new RSS offering isn’t IndustryBrains’ only distinguishing offering. The company private-labels its technology to publishers, which can use their own sales staffs to sell content-targeted ads directly to advertisers. Advertisers can buy on just the sites they want.

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