bloglines’ business model

Eric Peterson (Jupiter Research analyst) blogs about meeting Mark Fletcher of Bloglines (the best RSS reader/service out there) and what Fletcher said was Bloglines’ business model. Anyone who is in the RSS-space is thinking about this as advertising in RSS is increasingly important. I personally won’t be adding any ads to my feed (and I don’t have any ads on my blog) but I can see how, for people who have a lot of traffic, it is critical to offset bandwidth, much less other costs.

The essence of his answer is “AdWords on Steroids” (my translation, appropriate given their proximity to the BALCO scandal in Northern California). The idea that any article or feed I’m interested in will be littered with content that can be mined and transformed into relevant pay-per-click advertising. Mark’s point was that while Google and Overture sell advertising based on a limited number of keywords, the content in feeds is rich with information that can be mined to laser-target the advertising.

He commented that the aggregate of subscriptions could also be mined to provide additional inventory, e.g., if I subscribe to Engadget and Gizmodo there is A) a strong chance I am a personal technology person and B) I am probably subscribed to other blogs that are gadget-relevant. These additional blogs would then be candidates for gadget ad inventory, QED.

Conversation with Mark Fletcher, CEO of Bloglines