Google has opened up it’s AdSense for feeds program to everyone, according to a post Google Launches AdSense for Feeds. I suppose that a significant fraction of people read blogs and other online sources through a feed reader and only infrequently visit the sites they follow. Google is in a good position to exploit this since it controls both a popular feed reader and a feed management system.
But I’m conflicted about this. One the one hand, our lab enjoy a small stream of revenue from the ads we have on our site, enough to keep the lab coffee pot supplied and occasionally buy
carrots and fresh fruit donuts for the troops. On the other hand, it diminishes our experience of the world to have ads appear everywhere we look. Worse yet, hosting ads for others for money can tempt one to compromise her ethics in various ways to maximize revenue. Not that this is a new thing for human kind.
I’ve not yet seen any ads when I view feeds via Google’s feed reader. I’m not sure what that means. I checked the ad-bearing feed example mentioned in the goglesystem post (i.e., feed://feedproxy.google.com/lineofsite). Looking at the atom feed, I see the ad, but it’s not displayed by Google’s Feed Reader nor by Safari.