Hi really like what the folks at 37 Signals are doing.
So I found it interesting that they’ve begun experimenting with ads within their feeds. Here’s what they look like:
In general, I have no problem with ads in feeds if the publisher is sending the entire post to me. Personally I think sending summaries to drive people to ad-supported pages will be more effective.
But I think that 37 Signals is making a mistake that goes back to the purpose of the feed. 37 Signals is a design shop (and now online application provider). The feed is a way for them to keep their expertise and news about current initiatives in front of potential customers. So in one sense, every post to their feed is already an ad. And ads inserted in posts are ads within ads.
And since they (wisely) decided that contextual ads will make more sense from a user’s perspective, they are now in the awkward situation where they are including advertising for other web developers in their feeds.
So, my general advice is, if you are using blogs and feeds to promote services you sell, avoid the temptation to make a few bucks by inserting ads on your blog or feed. Keep the message pure and simple, and about you.