After I posted this post about amazon affiliate links in RSS feeds, Remy Martin, the man behind Waypath and ThinkTank23, and a member of my Entrepreneur's Feedback Exchange program, said that they were working on something very similar. I've tested it out in my bloglines and have been quite impressed by it. I've Blended an xml WhizSpark feed of events with Amazon Affiliate links using Waypath's Blender. Here's the Blended feed. Here's a pic:
Here is my feedback for the service:
1. I think that the ad should be more clearly labeled. I know it says "Blender", but I think, Advertisement: Powered by Blender" would be more clear.
2. I also like how Creative Weblogging's version has several books and it is embedded in each post. I think these should be more clearly labelled too. Creative Weblogging's version has more books(ads) in it, which I don't mind now, but I'd imagine it'd get annoying after a while. However, by having the book ads embedded in the post I see how each are relevant. With Blender's approach of posting an ad after the blog post that it matches the ad contextually to, I lose the fact that the ad matches the post, and I think people'd be more likely to skip over it, as they are scanning a feed.
3. On the limited time that I've played with both, it seems that Waypath's contextual matching technology is a bit better than the one that Creative Webloggins is using. Although, neither are bad.
4. Maybe instead of having a graphic and explanation of the book, have a link to related books on every post. Dan Sherman places an ad in everyone of his posts encouraging people to buy a text version of his weblog. I am sure there are other bloggers that wouldn't mind placing a text link in each post for people to find related advertisements, if they were to get a cut.
5. I love the name, Blender!
The rest of my thoughts are around the business model:
2. The ad network should cover more than just amazon's affiliate network, but include other affiliate advertising offers. Some affiliate programs pay out 10 dollars for a click that results in a simple sign up at a dating site. (Look at this site featuring dating affiliate links). Imagine if you could create something like that site on the fly that contextually matches ads to content on a forum or blog that talks about online dating. I know amazon lets programmers access everything using xml, but I imagine that there must be some other affiliate ad networks that will feed ad information in a more digestable format too.
The problem with affiliate advertising is that the publisher has to choose every ad they want to put on their site. It is highly inefficient for the publisher, but the method is highly cost effective for the advertiser. If a network could make affilate advertising more efficient for the publisher, this could be big.
SideNote: I wonder how Weblogsinc and the Gawker Media Sites plan to monetize their RSS feeds?