At the risk of spamming my own blog (this is the fourth post that’ll show up in the email subscription feed for the day), I just ran across something that deserves mention.

One of the objections to Squidoo lenses has always been that you’re shaing Adsense revenue with everyone else. And, Adsense has restrictions about the site that displays ads, which leaves out some sites.

Urbanread attempts to solve both of those problems with their “News with a Profit” program.

The basic idea is this: you paste the Urbanread code into your blog, website, or Squidoo lens. The Urbanread code uses an iframe, which is allowed by Squidoo, so no worries about trying to use javascript on a Squidoo lens. The code will display a news headline along with a link to read more.

When the user clicks the link to read more, they’re taken to a page at Urbanread that lists various web-based articles on the topic. The page at Urbanread includes Google Adsense ads that have your Adsense id in them. When a user clicks on one of the Adsense ads, you get the money for that click directly into your Adsense account.

The page also contains non-Adsense ads that, presumably, feed back to Urbanread to make them money.

Urbanread is still in beta, but there are some issues they need to fix. Most important is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to target the news to a specific topic. This makes it suitable for a non-niche website, but not for a website devoted to a specific topic.

For example, here’s the current headline being shown by the Urbanread code:

As you can see, it isn’t targeted to the topic of making money online. This makes it unlikely that anyone reading this post will actually click on it to read more (unless you do it out of sheer perversity, now that I’ve said you won’t).

Another problem is that the Adsense ads are still displaying public service ads. This could be because Urbanread is still in beta, but it’s not a great sign. You don’t make money with public service ads. Edit: the ads are now showing non-public service ads, so no worries there.

The technology used by Urbanread is nothing new. You’ve always been able to use an iframe on a Squidoo lens or web page to display content from another web page, including Adsense ads.

What Urbanread does is make it easier to implement. You don’t need a web host to put your Adsense code on, you just copy in their code to your Squidoo lens or blog. In fact, their integration with Blogger makes it a one click affair to add Urbanread code to your Blogger blog. Take a look at my personal blog to see the results.

Urbanread also makes it seem as if you’re providing a service to your readers by giving them news links. This could be a powerful strategy, assuming that they allow some targeting of news topics so you can match it to your page’s content.

So, right now I’d say that Urbanread isn’t quite ready for primetime. They do offer referral bonuses, though, so if you assume they’ll work out the issues involved eventually, it makes it worth signing up now. With proper subject targeting, this would be a powerful tool for Squidoo lenses and blogs.

Getting started with Urbanread requires signing up for an Adsense account if you don’t already have one.

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