Bullish on FeedBurner Networks
As I mentioned in my post about Adify, the sell-side and disaggregated ad biz is heating up.
Brad Feld, a Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital (and a FeedBurner board member) described FeedBurner "Networks" which are collections of sites on a single topic that are using FeedBurner to manage their RSS feed. "The goal is to create high quality collections of similar types of publishers."
He goes on to describe how these new Networks will be managed:
A FeedBurner Network is managed by a coordinator. At this stage the coordinator is the gatekeeper for the network, although it will evolve so that all members of a network can promote other potential members. As a result, the content is "filtered and selected" by the network coordinator (and ultimately members) so that there aren't "fake" Venture Capital blogs as part of the network. The result should be a higher quality network and a quick and easy way to find “Venture Capital bloggers.”Like their competitors FM Publishing, 9Rules (if they ever allow ads) and Adify, FeedBurner hopes to create high quality collections of similar types of blogs and provide RSS feeds of the aggregated content. The feeds will have advertising if the network coordinator (and members, one would suppose) want it.
I like their chances, and I've said to many folks that the RSS feed aggregators have the best chance to create large enough vertical networks to interest advertisers and agencies. Whilst the ability to target specific vertical networks is critical, even the highest quality network of publishers won't matter to advertisers if it doesn't offer a legitimate amount of volume. FeedBurner's 360,000 feeds and 220,000 publishers provide a large enough base for networks with enough traction to emerge.
I also like the idea of coordinators. Whilst some might see this as a risk - a human (and thus potentially subjective) element mixed in with technology - I think it adds tremendous value. And there will certainly be no shortage of people wanting to run the various Networks.
Michael Arrington Dawn Foster, and AMCP, among others, thinks overall quality control and the use of coordinators could cause problems:
The biggest issue around this will be what rules are used to determine which blogs are included in a given topic. It isn’t clear if there will be any real quality control - in his post Brad says each network will have a gatekeeper to make sure only blogs on topic are included, but there doesn’t appear to be any hurdle as to what constitutes a quality blog in a topic. That could work out badly.Good points, but if having too many publishers to choose from and managing some "blog politics" are FeedBurner's biggest problems, I think they'll do fine. As long as one "A-list" blogger in each Network controls the entry gate, it will work.
And if the bloggers and/or the network coordinator are making subjective decisions on which blogs can be included in a given network, this will end in tears. The politics around who’s in and who’s out of a blog network are impossible. I know this from personal experience.
Marshall Sponder suggests that a quasi search ranking for each blog in the Network would help mitigate the problem. Not a bad idea, but I think Arrington and co. are debating the qualitative aspects of the publishers, and I don't know of an alghorithm that can determine good taste yet.
Fred Wilson weighs in:
When it comes to networks, the most powerful model is the self organizing network. That allows participants to move seamlessly between networks and takes out all the overhead of managing them.Niall Kennedy likens it to Squidoo and wonders:
But we really haven't seen self organizing media networks take hold. Adsense is a self organizing network for publishers and advertisers, but not for the readers/consumers. You can't put together a page that shows all the content that an email marketing ad has appeared on.
I am excited to see self forming media networks develop. Because they are the future of media.
Who other than FeedBurner gets paid for these ad impressions? It seems like another attempt to mine the seemingly free gold laying on the riverbed named user-generated content. The idea isn't much different than Squidoo, a company donating a percentage of profits to charity to make it seem a bit less like photocopying the work of other writers for profit.Feld, who is coordinating one of the beta of the Venture Capital Network, replies to Niall's query:
The publishers and FeedBurner share the revenue for any advertising, just like any publisher that currently participates in the FeedBurner Ad Network.Now that FeedBurner has entered the ring, the true battle for the sell-side space has just begun.
In addition, members of a Network are not required to have advertising in their feed - this continues to be entirely at the individual publishers option.
Technorati Tags: advertising, sellside, networks, startups, feedburner
Monday, August 07, 2006