Hello, I’m a web craftsman with a passion for the modern web. I build web applications and play with social services and communities.

June 26, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Daniel L. wrote recently how RSS killed the “surface” design”.

I definitely agree with the development of simplified designs in order to provide a cleaner user interface. But this is not entirely related to RSS feeds.

However, the main reason that makes me hesitate integrating RSS feeds in my main projects is advertisement. Yes, RSS feeds concentrate on the content. And this is good for people who need to get a quick update without waiting for the full page to load and spend time on looking for the right spot.

But as owner of a website even RSS feeds take server performance away. And the most common way to make money to pay for webspace/servers is banner advertisement. And especially this kind of advertisement is part of the visual design.

So we run into a serios problem here: Sites that use RSS feeds are most likely blogs, news sites or other dynamic pages. Those are the pages that need serios server power since they are generated by server-side scripting languages and store content in databases. To pay for the server power they use ad services like Google AdSense. And AdSense is Javascript based which means we need a (X)HTML site displayed in a browser.

So what will happen to online advertising if most of the hits come through feeds rather than actual web site views??

Well the only solution to that is moving advertisement from visual design to the content. That would mean ads show up in the feeds as text-based ads. This would be pretty annoying and may keep some people away from feeds. So we need both. Ads on the page itself and ads in the feeds. More work for the webmasters to integrate those and more things to keep track of.

Another possible “solution” that is already in use is displaying only the beginning of the content in the feed with a “read more” button that redirects to the actual site. However, this does only work for blogs and news sites. And there are a lot of other pages out there that need to address that issue.


November 18, 2007 at 11:08 pm


A lot of people don’t like this ad. I think it’s wonderful! Especially that part with “Tech-nology that updates itself”.