Sun Plans More RSS Ads

Sun Microsystems is planning more forays into RSS (define) advertising, after a campaign to promote its quarterly Webcast drove significant traffic volume.

As part of a plan by Sun’s online media agency, Starcom Worldwide, the tech company began serving text ads in feeds on Feedster’s network and on Slashdot at the end of April to promote its May 3 Webcast. The ads were the second-highest traffic-driving mechanism in the event’s media plan. The RSS campaign will continue through May to promote an upcoming live chat with Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s president and COO. Spend wasn’t disclosed.

“They were happy and they said they’d come back, which is what we had hoped,” said Scott Rafer, president and CEO of Feedster.

Ads in Feedster’s RSS feeds appear as separate posts, with a headline and body text. They are clearly marked as ads. On Slashdot, ads appear within another article and can be text or image ads. Sun chose to use text ads.

Rafer said Feedster is trying to ease advertisers’ hesitancy about a new medium by employing an ad sales team that has strong relationships with agency buyers.

“It’s important when buyers come in to consider something new and edgy like this that they work with someone they trust,” Rafer said. “We’re getting more and more media buyers showing up wanting to run pilot tests for their clients.”

Advertisers are most concerned with having their ads appear on smaller sites on which the blogger may not stay on topic or maintain a professional demeanor, he said. Feedster tries to assuage these fears with the profiles it keeps on bloggers in its ad network.

This is the first RSS ad campaign for Sun, which has embraced blogging more than most companies. Sun encourages its employees to blog, and several of its top executives maintain active blogs.

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