Instant Articles lacks revenue, has too many ad restrictions, some say

The Facebook feature places ad restrictions that don’t exist on the publishers’ own websites, but publishers are optimistic that the social media site will make improvements.

The 20 or so publishers that signed on to be part of Facebook’s Instant Articles aren’t all happy about the new service.

Some are unhappy with the advertising options and lack of revenue from articles published directly on Facebook.

Much of the problem stems from Facebook’s regulations, which state that an ad can be placed every 500 words. Those “large banner” ads can be 320 x 250 pixels. Publishers don’t have such restrictions on their own sites.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The product is still in its infancy, but publishers including The Washington Post, New York Times and LittleThings.com are finding it difficult to extract as much revenue per article from Instant Articles as they do from pages on their own websites, according to people familiar with the situation.

Instant Articles product manager Michael Reckhow promised in comments to Wall Street Journal that Facebook would improve the product.

“We’re currently working closely with publishers to understand how their advertising in Instant Articles compares to the mobile Web so we can deliver results, while maintaining a great reading experience for people,” he said.

The three publishers listed in the WSJ article said they were optimistic that Facebook would improve the product.

The news comes just as a viral video is making the rounds that shows how the company is stealing views from content creators who publish their content on, say, YouTube. When a stolen video goes viral on Facebook, the content creator who would have seen those views on YouTube loses money.

Though Facebook didn’t address the video’s claims directly, it has addressed the issue of freebooting in the past.

“We want creators to get credit for the videos that they own,” the company wrote in an August blog post. “To address this, we have been exploring ways to enhance our rights management tools to better empower creators to control how their videos are shared on Facebook.”

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