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NewsGator, Edelman Build Ad Widgets

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Public relations firm Edelman has enlisted RSS toolmaker NewsGator to build ad widgets that pull in feeds, ratings, and comments. The joint product, called “Hosted Conversations,” launches Monday.

The rather smart idea here is for brands to loosen their grip on their marketing in the hopes of stimulating relevant community participation. A curated set of news and blog feeds will jumpstart content, and people who click through the ad are given a place to have their say.

These days, ads are essentially anonymous donors to social media. The NewsGator-Edelman offering gives a way to engage people that’s a little more productive than punch the monkey. And if nobody participates… well, you’ve still got a banner ad.

See, for instance, this mockup of a “hosted conversation” on CNN:

We’d been hearing nothing but enterprise news out of NewsGator lately, so when we heard about Monday’s news we set up a call with the company to ask why they’re getting so close to consumer content.

NewsGator CEO J.B. Holston said the enterprise side of his company’s business was the largest and fastest growing, but consumer and white-labeled feed readers are still active categories. The three product sets run off the same platform but are operated as separate verticals, he said.

NewsGator reports it has more than one million consumer users (some using only its free products), more than 50 enterprise deployments (about 300,000 users), and more than 20 private label customers.

For those of us more interested in the consumer side, Holston said to look for a new version of NewsGator’s web-based feed aggregator next month, which will incorporate aspects of social tools like Netvibes and Newsvine.

8 Responses to “NewsGator, Edelman Build Ad Widgets”

  1. Interesting concept… Rather than promote to the customer, we are engaging the customer. Rather than trying to simply broaden our customer base, we are trying to deepen our customer base. We’re getting people who buy our product to discuss new healthy dishes – so they buy more of our product… and perhaps tell some friends.

    These are not unique ideas, but they are good ones, and I am glad to see them being implemented. If implemented well, this could be great. If not, the results will be limp.

    If you want to witness the revolution, turn off the TV!

  2. I don’t know if it is the same, but quite annoying is the new feature of Newsgator Online, that you get at the right of news articles a bar of Google ads in every newsfeed.

    Sometimes you get 1 news article and 6 ads on the right resulting in a big white hole between all the different newsfeeds.

    So nice to embed ads into social services like blogs, but for the user it is not that interesting…and I think it will be in its beta-stage, while at Newsgator Online it still has its flaws.

    Just a small side-note.