An RSS Refresher: FeedBurner’s Brent Hill Fires Off on the State of Feed Management


It’s hard to believe six months have already passed since ADOTAS dove into RSS, as we surveyed execs from the medium’s top companies while getting an insider’s view on its current use and future potential.

But since online marketing trends and technologies seem to emerge (and vanish) with the patience and speed of a chopping block, ADOTAS figured it was more than enough time to reconnect with an RSS expert and see what’s developed—for better or for worse—in the field of feed management.

Recently, ADOTAS conducted a lengthy interview with Brent Hill, VP of advertising services at FeedBurner, one of the most recognizable names in feed management. Hill, much like his discourse on the state of RSS earlier this year, remains adamant that the content tool is now a powerful marketing outlet. But while the praise and optimism is fully intact, Hill also admits that there is much room for improvement with RSS and feed management overall—from adoption to advertising opportunities. Here, he describes in detail what’s new, what’s different and what’s next for RSS.

It’s been six months since we discussed the state of feed management and RSS. How have things changed since then, for both FeedBurner and the industry as a whole?

There are two trends we’re seeing on the publishing side:

a) What started as a publishing phenomenon is now a marketing phenomenon, as companies in virtually every industry segment are using feeds to communicate with customers or constituents via RSS. Commercial media publishers like USA Today and Reuters, and popular blogs like Engadget and Boing Boing are being joined by the likes of Acura, Zales, and Orbitz.

b) As the RSS audience continues to grow, and companies like FeedBurner provide scaleable entry points for advertisers, we’re seeing more digital media plans containing an RSS advertising component. We’ve moved beyond testing, and we’re seeing repeat customers who are making feeds a part of their ongoing digital planning.

For FeedBurner, we continue to see dramatic growth on two fronts:

c) FeedBurner continues to be the feed management platform of choice for the world’s leading feed publishers — from commercial publishers like Fast Company to popular blogs like Instapundit, and corporate marketers like Marriott. We’re now managing 480,000 feeds for 275,000 publishers, delivering 28 million feed subscriptions each day. The number of daily feed subscriptions has doubled in the last 6 months.

d) More advertisers are using advertising in feeds as part of their digital media planning. In Q4, we will manage marketing campaigns for blue-chip advertisers in a variety of industries…including technology, financial services, communications, entertainment, and consumer products.

Is RSS still a niche concept, or has it experienced significant adaptation in the past six months?

While RSS is still used by less than 50% of the online user base, it’s beyond a niche concept because even if you multiply a modest percentage by the size of the online audience, you’re still talking about millions of subscribers. And in some sectors — information technology, for example — you have a much larger percentage of the online audience using feeds. Virtually ever publisher we work with is experiencing organic growth in their feed subscriber base.


  1. […] Given the meoteric pace of RSS feed subscriptions, this certainly forecasts a very bright future for RSS Marketing and Advertising heading into 2007. A recent publication of the Adotas newsletter provided the full transcript of the above mentioned interview with Brent Hill.  Check out this interview titled: An RSS Refresher: Feedburner’s Brent Hill Fires Off On the State of Feed Management. […]


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