Pheedo’s CEO On Slaying RSS’s Rising Power


ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — “RSS advertising done right:” that’s how Pheedo introduces its services. Pheedo also says it “connects with affluent influences” and targets “by category, keyword, feed content, country, DMA and more.” Bold statements? Sure. But how do they drive ROI? We sat down with Pheedo’s CEO and founder, Bill Flitter, to find out more.

ADOTAS: Can you give me an outline of Pheedo’s history as a company and how it’s evolved?

BILL FLITTER: Our mission has stayed the same since 2005 — to create new kinds of profit-driven advertising services through syndicated content, like RSS, for our publishers and advertisers. Pheedo delivers revenue and analytics to publishers of syndicated content while providing a brand safe environment to advertisers. Our pioneering efforts have resulted in triple-digit revenue growth for many premium publishers and have connected millions of content hungry readers to top tier advertisers.

ADOTAS: How would you describe Pheedo’s mission or motto?

BILL FLITTER: Help customers capitalize on the marketing potential of RSS.

ADOTAS: You’ve said that online content consumption is changing. How is Pheedo changing its practices to adjust to the market at large?

According to a recent study from Universal McCann, RSS use is exploding, growing faster than all other key social media platforms, including social networking and video sharing. According to the study, the number of RSS users jumped 153% between June 2007 and March 2008.

Additional stats to consider:

•    56% of online consumers use RSS feeds, although only 19% knowingly subscribed to them
•    60% of RSS users read them at least once a week and actively customize their start pages using RSS feeds and other widgets

We are constantly interested on where users are reading content off the host site. With serving ads on site, traditional ad servers have to focus on how ads display on mainly two browsers. When it comes to RSS there are numbers of popular off-site consumption points that display content and advertisements all differently.

Pheedo helps to unravel the mystery behind RSS. It provides publishers with insight into how their RSS content is performing, delivers a better picture of the ROI of feed content, and ultimately aids in the growth of the feeds. Pheedo’s breadth of publisher categories helps advertisers specifically target the audience that will generate the highest rate of quality clicks and achieve the highest ROI on their ad spend.

ADOTAS: What practices or companies have inspired the way Pheedo approaches the advertising space?

BILL FLITTER: I would have to look at John Battelle and what he has done with Federated Media. John is a great story teller. He doesn’t sell ads on blogs. He sells conversational marketing concepts on author sites. He has done an extremely good job of really thinking through what it takes to sell new media.

ADOTAS: Can you tell me if/how Pheedo’s FeedPowered ads have changed the industry’s ad model?

BILL FLITTER: Again, this is another space we pioneered in 2006 – real-time updating of ad content. We leveraged our knowledge of RSS analytics to create a unique ad type. There is more to the FeedPowered unit than meets the eye. Because it is powered by our proprietary RSS analytics engine not only can we extract typical ad performance data like impressions and clicks but we look at how each content item performs, how the viewer interacts with the content and their level of engagement if they subscribe to the feed that powers the ad unit. There is lots of rich data that we pass along to advertisers.

And now you see “feed-powered” ads frequently, however none go to the level of detail in looking at engagement as we do because of our proprietary RSS analytics engine. I would like to think we had a lot to do with changing the face of the banner unit.

ADOTAS: How would you say that Pheedo REALLY differentiates itself from its competitors?

BILL FLITTER: 1.    We service the premium publisher market like Portfolio, CNET, MIT Technology Review and Federated Media. We are not trying to be everything for everybody.
2.    We provide hands-on personal service or as we jokingly say – electric service. Our telephone numbers are published and e-mail addresses on our Web site.
3.    Our technology expertise in RSS runs deeps. We provide a real consultative experience. We see lots of feed content and have a deep understanding of what it takes for our publishers to generate real revenue from RSS. A number of our top publishers realized a 300% increase in their RSS revenues by implementing the Pheedo service.
4.    We match premium advertisers with the premium brands we sell.
5.    Because of our deep understanding of RSS advertising, we leverage the feed architecture to stretch the limits. It is not just about a banner ad in a feed. The user experience plays a big role in our decision making process.


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