Wednesday, May 25, 2005
RSS is disintermediating the www - no kidding - of course it is. The question is, why do consumers find this useful?
Now, of course, the paradox is that RSS is just about to be hit by a deluge of ads itself.
And these ads are going to be even more costly, in terms of privacy, than simple (or behavioural) web ads.
That's because your feedreader know a hell of a lot more about you than your browser does, so it can target ads much more efficiently. Think about it this way - Google targets ads based on a few keywords you type in. Feedreaders can serve up ads based on all the info in the feed - that's a rich lode to mine for advertisers.
Now, of course, this may lay the groundwork for a truly disruptive scenario - one where ads are more beneficial to both consumers and advertisers, by being less nasty, but much better targeted. This is what I've called profile-based advertising.
Make no mistake, it's just around the corner - viz Google's recent RSS ads move is really a move to pre-empt the fairly significant number of start-ups and incumbents alike working on this.
The only question is - will it be disruptive in a way that's beneficial to consumers, to advertisers, or to both. I think the pendulum can swing either way, because feedreaders have a lot of control over consumers at the moment.