My Big RSS-Ads Snafu


Last night I accidentally replaced my RSS template with a file that was for a test I was running for ad-insertion in my site’s RSS feed. It meant that all new posts had ads inserted in them, and well, a lot of you had an absolute right to be angry.

I would like to apologize for the snafu, and to all of those who had to deal with what was my bone-headed move. Original plan was to insert an ad in any post that was over 400 words, and since there aren’t too many of those, it meant you wouldn’t be bombarded with the ads.

I am seeking your feedback on if the 400-word posts with an ad is a good/bad/dumb idea, and please leave your thoughts in the comments section. It is only with your approval, something like that would happen.

And once again, my sincere and heart felt apologies for the snafu.



After reading other peoples thoughts I change my mind – I agree that ads would not be too bad as long as:

1. they contain no flash (I really hate those – very distracting when they keep looping)
2. They are not in the middle of the post, but kept to the left or right of the entry (same for your website by the way)
3. They are not too wide such that I have to scroll forever to read the entry (ie, it does not take up 50-75%+ of the width)
4. You don’t send them in adds that would be of small value to the reader


Please leave the ads on the web – i like RSS because I see what I want to see and I don’t see what I don’t want to see (spam). I have no use for my RSS reader if I have to see the junk I see on websites as well.


Honestly I didn’t even notice them as being too out of the ordinary. A good number of the RSS feeds I read nowadays have ads in almost every post.


Do what you have to do to make a living. We are consuming your content for free I don’t find it annoying that you are trying to make money off of that content.


As long as there not in the RSS list, no problem. I like some ads, just dont go crazy heheh

Luis Miguel

I believe it is more than fair to get some compensation for yur work. Ads do not bother me if they are in line with the general content(or audience) of the blog.


I believe the people who reads RSS can pretty much ignore all ads inflicked upon them, text or flashy. For your sake, I hope I am (along with my 400+ feeds on Bloglines) a minority.


Ads are fine if they allow me to keep reading your great blog through my RSS Feed.

I prefer an AD to SkypeJournal choice of ONLY showing the headline.

We all have to eat no?

Bring on the ads. (I can always ignore them ;-)


Of course, I like it when there are no ads in RSS feeds, but I’m mostly ok when there are. The adsense or any other “text” ads are the least annoying though.

With your feed, I was more annoyed today because it was the same ad over and over again more than anything else.

Eric Scalf

Personally, I feel that if people are not willing to help out with costs by tossing a little money your way, say via paypal, then they have no right to complain about advertisements.

Sure, some may view one advertisement per post (in feed) as a bit much – the coming standard seems to be one per day, plus one for any post over x00 words – but I don’t think it’s too bad, so long as the ads are not intrusive, flashy, blinky, or annoying. A simple advertisement at the bottom of the post? No worries.

Preston Wily

Om, you are a talented writer and anybody who reads your blog frequently should understand that you are entitled to some type of compensation. I have no problem with you inserting ads in every feed…


Personally, I prefer Google Adsense like textual adds over big flashing images, but if the latter is what brings home the bacon, so be it.

Adds happen.


People were “angry” because some ads showed up? Yikes.

I’m fine with ads, Om. I think the 400 word thing is very reasonable.

Kevin C. Tofel

It’s OK, I needed a new Citibank card anyway! :) Seriously, ad saturation in RSS is touchy subject and there’s no “right answer” now. Actually, perhaps there is: asking your audience what they’re willing to accept is probably the best possible answer you can get Om, so kudos for that. Personally, I have to read through so many feeds these days that my eyes are almost trained to ignore ads. The 400 word cutoff is a good compromise to compensate you for your effort while retaining plenty of quality, ad-free shorter posts for the readers. Now, we start seeing bunches of 401 word posts, we might feel differently! ;)

Fergus Burns

Hi Om

The color blindness got me…

Thanks for note – no problems.

Keep experimenting – you can address RSS advertising assumptions in real time – and keep up the podcasts (great stuff)



I think its a bad idea to have ads in ur RSS feeds! I anyway come to the site if its good article or post and I feel I can’t finish reading it when I was in the ‘browsing’ mode! These RSS ads just add up to irritation while browsing … keep the content up => the gigaads will definitely have a good premium I think :D

Michael Parekh

I wouldn’t have problems if you had ads on EVERY post, given the quality of the content.
Thanks for asking the audience…classy move.

Dave Zatz

I’m fine with RSS ads, whether it be 400+ word posts, 1 post per day, or every article… it’s a fair trade for both good and free content.

Mike Rundle

I had no problems at all with it Om, in fact the Citibank ad was nicely designed and was pretty interesting. No harm no foul. I’m not one of those people who thinks all content should be free ;)


I think the idea of only putting ads in posts that are over 400 words isn’t all that bad of an idea. It allows the blogger to be compensated for when the write up posts that require a sizable amount of time and effort.

Including ads to every post might not be the best solution as they are obnoxious when included with really short posts, but for the longer ones it might just be worth it. Let us know how things turn out! :)

Dave Burke

Om, I was going to send you a screenshot of all of those Citibank banners in the GigaOm feed to see what you thought of the new look. :-) I’ll be looking forward to how you work through the monitization details. Thanks for pulling those nasty banners. Cheers! btw, enjoyed your conversation with Gillmor the other day.

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