RSS Feeds are the sexy online topic du jour, but is anyone making money with them? Is anyone tracking their clicks (especially compared to headlines sent out via email?) Is anyone tracking any sort of value or metric for RSS Feed recipients/readers vs content distributed any other way? I can't find anyone to say anything besides, "Well it probably drives some traffic."
So when I heard a text-ad was spotted in a Moreover RSS feed last week I was excited - at last somebody making money!
Unfortunately, Jim Pitkow Moreover's President was as surprised as I was to hear there was an ad in their feed, because they're not doing it. Turns out it was a feed that somebody else creates from one of Moreover's newsletters. The ad was a text-link in headline format nestled in with the regular headlines, so the RSS-ing person must have picked it up and sent it without realizing.
Pitkow says the 100-or-so headline listings newsletters are an experiment someone launched a couple of years ago and the text ad was a "what the heck" test last week. Moreover didn't sell the ad themselves - an ad-network partner Pitkow can't name sold it for them.
Moreover isn't focusing on newsletters or ads anyway (and in fact doesn't even accept new subscribers now) because the Company's biz model is currently focused on syndicating its headline feeds into corporate America and into major online portals (for example, Moreover feeds Yahoo News, MSN News, and Ask Jeeves News.)
Customers have tripled in the past year. "It's been a very fun year," says Pitkow.
He sees his edge vs the Factivas of the world (who dominate the aggregated-content-to-corporations marketplace) to be the fact that Moreover picks up MANY more feeds including loads of Web-only publishers who Factiva distains because it's not worth Factiva's while to do the work to aggregate them. Also, on the profit side, unlike Factiva, Moreover doesn't share any revenue with publishers, just clicks.
Coolest news - Moreover is now including more than 500 "highly influential" blogs in its headline feeds. How do they know which blogs are good and which are, well, not? "You have to have humans in the room," says Pitkow.
Do I detect a little slap to Google's news service? Pitkow laughed but said diplomatically, "Consumer requirements are much less stringent than industry-grade solutions." Meow.
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