According to a ZDNET story, Google is trying to patent RSS ads. Here is the patent application.
The company’s patent request specifically covers the delivery of ads using "an automated ad server." The service "is used to provide keyword- or content-based targeted ads," the application states. "The ads are incorporated directly into a syndicated feed, e.g., with individual ads becoming items within a particular channel of the feed."
The application also covers automated billing, and an "automated targeting and insertion process allows ads to be kept current and timely while the original feed may be considerably older."
This is pretty scary thought as RSS seems to be catching on like wildfire. Will we all have to pay a Google tax to send ads down the RSS pipe? TMC has been offering RSS feeds and custom RSS feeds based on keyword for well over a year now. We have a loyal following of readers (syndicates?) and the numbers grow by the day.
Stay tuned to this fascinating story. Somehow I think Microsoft will get in the middle of this saga very soon.