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Netshelter Launches New RSS-Style Ad Format For Blogs

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The blog ad network NetShelter, which counts with hundreds of technology blogs and some 4,800 bloggers among the sites for which it sells ads, is today launching a new ad unit called InPowered, an RSS-style box that it hopes will resonate with the information-seekers that visit the sites, and create a bit more engagement with its advertisers in the process.

NetShelter says the unit, which was created in collaboration with Samsung and other select advertisers, has been running in trials for some months now. Samsung was also named as one of the flagship brands that will kick off the new service commercially.

InPowered works like this: An article on, say, connected TVs written by an “influencer” blogger on one of the blogs in the NetShelter network, say IntoMobile, might run a Samsung ad for its connected TVs. Underneath that ad, and within the ad box, there is a list of further, relevant articles for that topic from that blog, as well as another tab for articles from other blogs in the network, which includes MacRumors, 9to5Google (NSDQ: GOOG), and many others. The units also offer the option of including Facebook and Twitter feeds for the brand being advertised, and advertisers have control to “curate” which stories appear in the advertisement.

Users that click through do not leave the original site, but go to a pop-out window to view the secondary story. In that sense, the ad unit potentially benefits more than just the advertiser and the “home” blog serving the ad: it potentially helps generate revenues for the sites in the network whose articles are appearing in the ads.

The tech market could be a lucrative one for this kind of ad unit. Not only do technology-related brands and services account for a quarter of all online advertising, but readers of tech blogs tend to be information hungry and click-happy, potentially at the ready to go to a related link to see more on a subject and engage with it — and crucially to share that information with other people.

NetShelter’s CEO Peyman Nilforoush tells us that in trial mode, the service has seen some strong responses from users: more than 50 percent of readers clicked on articles in the ad unit to view further content, and one in four ended up sharing that content with others. That means that not only does the advertising brand increase its credibility for serving useful content, but its own advertising gets extended with the sharing of the article. Amplified across NetShelter’s network — according to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) it is the largest tech media property with some 150 million unique users each month — if this service continues to see that kind of engagement, it could increase traffic significantly across these sites.

But display advertising is one thing; and populating one blog with content from a competitor, without editorial input from the home blogs themselves, is another. Asked how on-board the blogs themselves were with the idea of having third-party articles appearing on their pages, Nilforoush brushed the idea off as a non-concern.

“We have an exclusive partnership with our bloggers,” he said, noting that his network used the RSS feeds that are available to anybody. “These are just the summaries directing people back to the original stories.”