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Should I Test This?

By - April 18, 2007

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From the start, Searchblog has had a full text feed. I took my cue from my pals at Boing Boing – I believed in fully portable content, and I also believed in portable business models. But it’s been two years since I started FM, and I have to say, the most important and valuable business model for a site like Searchblog remains bringing your attention to my site, where I can introduce you to marketers who buy ads there.

I know that folks, particularly our partners Feedburner, argue that feeds themselves should be monetizable (Lord, what a word). But the reality is, they are not nearly as valuable to a publisher, at present, as visitors to the site are. “We’ve seen no evidence that excerpts on their own drive higher clickthroughs,” Feedburner posted recently.

Well, I’d like to test that assertion.

Now, I’m a practical guy. So, I figure, are most of you. I’m thinking of shifting my feed from full text to excerpts, for a week or a month, and seeing how pissed, or not, all of you get, and seeing if traffic increases to the site over time. There’s nearly 70,000 of you now who read this feed. Some of you read excerpts because you’re in crippled readers (ahem, MyYahoo). But many others read, like I do, in full text readers. I’m not switching sides here. I’m just curious.

Consider the comments section your chance to tell me what you think….

PS – I’m also very open to other approaches, like adding sponsors to the feed myself – the sponsors who buy on the site, that is.

After all, they want to reach you…not me!

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81 thoughts on “Should I Test This?

  1. ///I’m thinking of shifting my feed from full text to excerpts, for a week or a month, and seeing how pissed, or not, all of you get, and seeing if traffic increases to the site over time

    The amount of Pissed’ness would probably be directly related to how LONG the excerpts are – understandably, there has to be compromises so that your ROI can be maximized.

    In reference to traffic increasing over time, SearchEnginesWeb has some astounding ideas……

  2. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens here, John. I like reading full feeds in RSS myself, but I do subscribe to a lot of blogs that offer partial feeds because I like them so much, and I click over to the site to read the rest. Good luck!

  3. Glenn.Isaac says:

    Please keep the full feeds RSS!

  4. I wouldn’t mind excerpted RSS feeds, but if you do that, I would prefer a summary of the post like Ars uses rather than simply the first 40 words.

  5. bill says:

    i’ll delete your feed from my reader. i figure that if you say something really important or insightful someone else will pick it up on their blog and perhaps i will get what i need from there, or will link into your site. but your content is just not valuable enough to spend the time to regularly click into your site

  6. Asia says:

    I prefer to read the full article on google reader, and if I want to comment, I just click and comment. Monetizing your blog has nothing to do with how many hits you get, by the way, it has to do with your readership. Having it this way, allows me to read what I want immediately.

    I wish SEL would do the same, I actually don’t read many of their articles because I hate clicking outside of my RSS reader unless it’s something that really grabs me, but if they sent it in full context, I would probably read more. Of course, I’m just one of many.

  7. Joseph Price says:

    John, I’d miss the full text feeds a lot and I suspect that less of your content would be read in the transition. Personally, the feeds that have excerpted or summary content get queued up in browser tabs. I don’t always get to all of them.

    When I discover a useful full text feed item, I usually read it in its entirety immediately.

  8. Kevin M. Keating says:

    What a clever way to get me to click through from the feed! I really appreciate that you include full feeds for your site, and hope you can find a way to balance “monetization” with the desires of your audience, who, by any indication, will move to RSS reading more and more as time goes on.

  9. Stephen says:

    I’ve deleted your feed.

  10. Pete W says:

    Teasers are advantageous in that their is less scrolling for stories that don’t interest me. It’s easy enough to click through to the full story.

  11. ExposureTim says:

    “What a clever way to get me to click through from the feed” – Agreed!

    But a way to get me to NOT click through, John, would be to say nothing within your actual feed. Full text feeds are the best way to attract repeat visitors. A one-liner summary will be too boring and I’ll end up un-subscribing out of frustration.

    Why change something that’s not broken?

  12. Mack D. Male says:

    Please keep full text feeds! Otherwise I’ll have to unsub.

  13. Michael Griffiths says:

    I don’t think it’s a particularly good idea.

    It depends, I suppose, on what your primary goal is.

    Searchblog is a blog. Blogs exists to convey news, opinion, and whatnot. You’re an author, owner of a company, minor celebrity in certain very small circles, etc. As such, I would suggest that there’s far greater ROI on being read as opposed to showing your ads.

    To be perfectly honest, I’d stop reading. Sure, I might keep your feed in my feed reader for a while. But I’m not going to read the vast majority of your content, and I’m not going to click through it. Clicking through is a pain, and not something I’m willing to do when I have enough full-text feeds demanding my attention, or email, or work.

    The main reason for clicking through now is to read the comments.

    Given that people who post comments are more likely to be elitest technical snobs (or at the very least, choosy), the readership you’re most likely to lose is your most valuable, in terms of quantity and quality of comments. They’re also the ones who (probably) have blogs and will respond to your posts on their own blogs, which can raise awareness of a point you raise far more.

    Of course, you’re probably not getting much revenue from them now, even when they visit the site. Tech-savvy people generally can either mentally filter out ads so fast they don’t even see them, or have some sort of ad-blocking software installed.

    Switching to excerts will likely increase revenue from your site, but would have an unduly damaging effect on your readership.

    So, overall, I think it’s a terrible idea.

    Even from a marketing standpoint – you’re reducing the quality of the user experience to make a few more dollars. Brands rely on trust, and good marketing should enhance the user experience through more information, increased awareness, and so on. Practically speaking, that’s usualyl impossible unless you’re a fanatic about marketing.

    Monetize the feeds if you have to, but partial text is something I don’t suscribe to.

    Besides which, I’ve found that using Outlook 2007 as a feed reader has the advantage of indexing ALL posts from the feed, allowing instand search. I can’t do that with partial text feeds, so I don’t keep them around.

  14. Jeremy Zawodny says:

    If you offer both, I’ll stick with full text. If not, I’ll be pissed. :-)

  15. Gillian says:

    I like getting the full text, and there are times I will click through anyway (to comment, for instance, often to vote on polls, or even to see embedded stuff that doesn’t come through in my reader).

    That said, I read a bunch of feeds, and I think a shorter version can still be useful (as long as you get the highlights up front, with enough so that I can decide if I want to drill down). What I don’t like is when an item is truncated, or there is a teaser that doesn’t’ tell me much, and I click through only to find the item is not relevant, or interesting, or even consistent with the teaser! So I say, go for it (testing the shorter feeds), within reason.

  16. I would unsubscribe. The Economist dropped full text feeds a bit ago, and they’re already gone from my list.

    Over a year ago, a designer asked me for a list of web sites that I visit regularly. There weren’t any. If it isn’t a feed, I don’t check it regularly.

    On the Atom working group, I argued for explicit advertising support so that there would be a clean way to pay for feeds. No takers.

    I recommend that you draft an RFC for an Atom extension for ad support.

  17. Jason Scoggins says:

    Ugh. Full text is the only way to go, and I, too would delete your feed if you went to excerpts. I would be more than happy to view an ad or two from your sponsors if it meant keeping the full feed (as long as they’re low impact in terms of my computer’s resources). Feedburner already inserts those Sun ads, after all…

  18. will says:

    I would remove the feed from my reader, no doubt. It’s amazing that I’m even making the trip to make this comment. As I’m sure you can relate, people use readers so they can quickly keep up with many sites. If every site did excerpts, it would completely ruin the point. I’ve had excerpt feeds in my reader before, but I removed them because I got nothing out of them.

  19. Ted says:

    Don’t do it!!!

  20. Rich Skrenta says:

    I’ll tell you what rss ads I’ve noticed… Fred Wilson’s ads for his “A VC” blog… something about those caught my eye. Not the first 3 times I saw them, or even 10. I really had to be hit with them a lot, but finally, and several times, I stared at the thing. Of course I was already a reader, but it did penetrate my advertising blind spot, which did catch my attention.

    We did tests and found that repeat visitors clicked on ads as much as first time “seo intenters” did…if not more. I think it’s the ad format, not the delivery vehicle, which is impeding takeoff here. In other words, repeat visitors are valuable (of course they are), but they need to be hit with an acceptible ad form factor. And there frankly hasn’t been a lot of trial in this space, apart from feedburner and pheedo.

  21. ExposureTim says:

    Example: Aaron Wall’s SEObook. I think Aaron has great content, continuously, but as an RSS feed I can’t figure out what he might be talking about most of the time…

    As such, I’ve un-subscribed from his feed for that reason alone.

  22. Evan says:

    In a few words… I don’t like it. Just yesterday I was subscribing to Hugh Hewitt’s blog and when I realized that all I got from his RSS feed were excerpts, I quickly unsubscribed. Now I know that seems a bit harsh, but I only have (my wife only gives me… hehehe) so much time to read the few blogs I find important. If I have to then click through to their site, I might just find some more important ones to read. Though I do value your inputs… so maybe I’m willing to change… maybe.

  23. shayan says:

    It’s really annoying when people choose not to provide fulltext feeds. I personally think it’s a bad feature in blogging platforms to begin with. I would vote against this move.

    And I understand the need for monitization. Just be more creative about it! I guess pageviews are one way to do so. Wait, didn’t I read in the WSJ today that pageviews are going out the window???

  24. Chris Finlayson says:

    You have to make your site more compelling to increase click-throughs. SearchMob is an example. You can’t just force us to a page where the only added value is ads. Otherwise, we’ll just stop coming. Do like techcrunch and just make a post once a week or so.

  25. Macartan says:

    Please keep the full feeds. I read your blog via Google Reader, and generally prefer to get the whole story within the reader. Of course, for long posts, it makes sense to transfer to your source page but my experience with your posts is that they’re more “bite-sized”.

  26. rick gregory says:

    I’d likely drop the feed. And “PS – I’m also very open to other approaches, like adding sponsors to the feed myself – the sponsors who buy on the site, that is.”

    Um, there are ads in your feed now.

  27. Sam says:

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo …. Please no.
    I read hundreds of feed and if they all switched to excerpt feeds my mouse clicking hand will definitely suffer from RSI!

  28. Richard Gray says:

    Its a tough one, but my 2c.

    I subscribe to a lot of feeds so I tend to scan them for nuggets.

    I’ve unsubscribed from feeds because the nugget:rubble ratio was too low to justify the effort of clicking through, but this isn’t always the case.

    I’m a recent subscriber to this blog and so far I’d expect the n:r to remain high enough that I’d click through but its something to consider I think.

    R

  29. Against. In my experience, partial feeds don’t get as much attention because it adds another step between the reader and the content. Having said that, I would not unsubscribe, because I value your writing, but I would actually read fewer of your posts which would mean I would click through to see comments less often.

  30. tony says:

    I will delete the site from my feed reader.

  31. sirishkumar says:

    Hello John,

    I always like to read feeds with full content. Its very annoying with partial feeds where you to go the site to read full contents. Many of the sites have so much content in them with flash videos and so on, it wastes so much bandwidth and time too.In the case of full contents , if its nice I share it with my friends , i post it on blog.So it ultimatley results in more traffic for the blog.

  32. nmw says:

    Holy Hotlists, WebMan!!

    What a response!!! I suggest you set up more questionnaires! ;D

    But speaking more in a “natural” buffoonery mode (or how about “organic” — I once thought of naming one of my kids “organic”, since there is certainly absolutely nothing wrong with anything that is “organic”, right?):

    Is it really either/or? Is it impossible to let users decide? Could you offer a “CastratedSearchBlog” just like the “RegularSearchBlog” — speaking of which: how about a “ChocolateSearchBlog” (“Schoko” was another name I was considering).

    Oh, well — never mind….

    ;D nmw

  33. meoip says:

    Maybe if you previewed 1/3 of your post and made your posts 3xs longer it would be a good compromise.

  34. Michelle Clarke says:

    Hi John, i agree with Joseph, that I’d really miss the full text feeds purely based on that fact that the browser tabs would just queue up as they usually do ;-). But fortunately, I’m an avid daily reader from Cape Town, so i would get there in the end.

    I’ll miss the full test RSS though. It’s worth a shot I guess, I’m sure you’ll have a few ‘pissed off” within days ‘-)

    Michelle

  35. Andy Beal says:

    I hope you decide to keep full feeds. I use Feedvertising from Text Link Ads so I can display text ads in my feeds, for my top sponsors. That way they get exposure via either the site or feed.

    Also, not sure if you care, but I wonder if you’d get less TechMeme citations without a full feed.

  36. Jeff Ruley says:

    I like full feeds, I can’t say that I would drop your feed, but it would definately piss me off. Blogs are supposed to be about the community and making things easier for your readers, from the comments, it sounds like changing to a partial feed would not make the community happy. Getting people to enter comments and talking about some of the things you do as advertising streams cause me to click in and read. I think that is the model to explore and build off of.

  37. Tony says:

    I don’t bother reading feeds that aren’t full anymore. I respect and understand your position, but you will loose me if you go to partial feeds I don’t mind when the feed itself has an ad. Good luck in whatever you decide.

    Tony

  38. Mike says:

    I’m one of the “crippled” MyYahoo! users who is happy to click over when I see a new post. I don’t need any other reader as such.

  39. Matt says:

    Please no, I might reluctantly go to your site for a while, but I follow too many feeds to actually go to all the sites. At some point I will likely stop, so even if you see a slight increase in visitors after a week – be careful interpreting that data, it might be short term.

    I have no problem with ads in feeds, I understand you need to monetize your content and am not bothered at all. I have actually even clicked on a few ads in feeds over the past few months…can;t say that about a banner for years.

  40. Ed Kohler says:

    Your feed readers are your most loyal readers and also the ones who are most likely to blog about things you’ve written. When they blog about your content, they’re driving traffic to your site rather than your feed. Cut off the feed, lose loyal readers who will no longer blog about your (since they’re no longer reading you) and lose traffic to your site from the lost links.

  41. Bill says:

    I prefer full feeds – I usually read your stuff in Google Reader. But I can understand your desire to get more ads in front of our eyes and I do click through to other blogs with partial feeds, if the first paragraph looks interesting. It will be an interesting writing challenge to make sure the “above the fold” stuff is attention grabbing.

    I expect (obviously) that the result will be that you reduce RSS subscriptions but increase main site page views and increase ad revenue. I suppose the big unknown is the long term effect.

  42. Keep the full-text feed please. I rarely read an excerpt and its even rarer that I go to your website. I send full-text versions of my blog out because I want readership. If I wanted to make money off the blog, I’d do pornography, which most money-seeking blogs turn into–an intellectual version of pornography.

  43. John says:

    I’ve never found a reader I like so I stick with Google’s personalized home page and click through to articles I want to read.

  44. Vinny Lingham says:

    RSS is about content distribution. If you’re not going to distribute your content, then don’t use RSS. I’ve found that most people only use RSS because they want to pull the content from the source, if they wanted excerpts they probably would not be using an RSS reader, instead something like my.yahoo.com or Google personalized homepage.

    2c from a fellow blogger!

  45. chris m says:

    I, for one, will not be clicking through to the main site as often if it is a partial feed.

    I think most people that read this blog have a variety of feeds which they like to speed through quickly. The only thing that merits opening in a separate tab is tagging a post. The idea of the 100-or-so blogs in my blogroll turning to partial feeds means that I would drop at least 75 of them from my reading list because of the time requirements.

  46. prestonwily says:

    Honestly, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to pull the full feed in favor of excerpts. You may see some slight gain in monetization, but the opportunity cost of the thousands of readers who will remove your feed entirely seems to high… just my opinion, though.

  47. Tim says:

    Here’s what I would do to test this: for a few weeks, run an experiment: show each visitor to the site either a full-text feed link or a partial-text feed link (at random). After a few weeks, see how the two feeds are performing, both on subscribers and click-throughs (FeedBurner can track both). When you end the experiment, you can convert all your feeds to the same format and 301 one to another to reunify the subscribers.

  48. L. says:

    I will also unsubscribe and I am actively working on a way to filter the ads out of the RSS feed as well : I do not want to see advertising material or advertisers to see me….

  49. Brent says:

    I’d keep the full feeds. I like being able to read the full articles that I subscribe to in my Google Reader.

  50. Michael Froomkin says:

    I post a full feed for my blog (discourse.net).

    My policy for other blogs is simple: No full feed — no read.

  51. Greg says:

    Surely I’m more valuable to your advertisers when I read full-text through Google Reader than I am if I stop reading you altogether. Not that I’d want to. But the reality is that blogs that don’t put full feeds in my reader just don’t get read. I have several partial feed subscriptions (ClickZ, Businessweek come to mind) and I almost never click through to their cites.

  52. Greg says:

    Surely I’m more valuable to your advertisers when I read full-text through Google Reader than I am if I stop reading you altogether. Not that I’d want to. But the reality is that blogs that don’t put full feeds in my reader just don’t get read. I have several partial feed subscriptions (ClickZ, Businessweek come to mind) and I almost never click through to their sites.

  53. ttrentham says:

    Add me to the chorus of requests to keep the full feed. There’s already ads in your feed. There was one for Sun Microsystems with this post, in fact. Who adds those to the feed? Feedburner? You?

  54. Stan James says:

    Why doesn’t some company (Feedburner?) give better ways for including ads into feeds? There are no real technical reasons why every ad that is seen on the side of a page can’t be rendered in a feed.

    (True, you can’t do it dynamically via javascript as it’s done now, but you could certainly serve dynamically-created images with links.)

    That said, please don’t drop the full text feed. I’ll probably just stop reading until they come back.

  55. I would unsubscribe too.

  56. Ken Chan says:

    The whole point of RSS feeds is to cater to the user, right? Let them read it when they want using whichever browser/reader they want. So, to turn around and offer a RSS Lite seems counterintuitive. Seeing that you already offer a full text and excerpts feed, why don’t you tell us which one gets more subscribers and that’ll pretty much tell you where we all stand on this one.

  57. Ygor Valerio says:

    No problem at all!

  58. Matt Hudson says:

    John, please don’t switch to excerpts! I understand the desire to monetize your content, but think about what you’re doing – you’re worsening your user’s experience to make a few extra dollars. Full feeds are the best option, by far, for those of us who subscribe to multiple feeds.

    Think about this in business terms – full feeds work the best for the reader. Instead of taking that away and reverting to the old method (I know, it seems silly to say that) of monetizing blogs, wait for a better way to monetize feeds.

  59. Dan Miller says:

    I think excerpts are vastly preferable to ads in my newsreader. It’s easy enough to scan excerpts and, if I want to read a whole post, to go to the site and feed my eyeballs to your sponsors. Most of my feeds are excerpts now anyway, and I don’t mind a bit.

  60. Danny G says:

    Having an abbreviated rss feed is just annoying. I would much rather have some image or text-based ads at the bottom of the feed than have to click through everything that looks interesting. I usually end up dropping shortened feeds from my reader.

  61. Steve Borsch says:

    I’m torn. While a news reader allows me to skim/consume NEARLY 1,000 articles per day — which I wouldn’t do if I had to parse every single page on which a new article resides — the context of the article matters to me and I don’t get anything around the article (like previous blog posts or recommended reading) that comes with seeing the post/article in its context.

    Design matters. Differentiation matters. Context matters. Beauty matters. None of that is in a feed. In the same way that newspapers and magazines aren’t Courier font on a white background single spaced, page layout, graphics and the look-n-feel often gives meaning to the content lost in a textual RSS feed.

    I’ve thought alot about what would happen if there was “rich RSS”. A publisher could opt to deliver a rich feed that would have an enhanced look-n-feel, design, color and so forth. I know, I know…it would add payload and sort of defeat the RSS cleanliness and efficiency, but maybe it would enhance the experience and allow ad insertion.

  62. Trogdor says:

    Your feed-readers have been getting everything from you, FOR FREE, for quite some time. So it’s no surprise they’re up in arms. Of course there’s going to be a chorus of “no” if you switch over.

    But you know what? Your blog is still valuable. People may threaten, and they may even unsubscribe, but so long as your blog is still valuable, they will be back, one way or another. They’ll gripe and moan, as they come to your site to read anyway.

    Myself, I come to your blog every day to see the updates – my feed reader is my Google homepage, and while it may be getting full text, I’m not used to that. Frankly, I prefer to read blogs at the source – sometimes there are pictures that won’t come through, sometimes the feeds are excerpts, sometimes there are related links I find useful.

    Plus, the blog has its own CSS that doesn’t (I think) come through a feed reader. Reading it styled the way the author set up is like reading a book in its original cover; reading it in a feed reader is like reading an article by looking at the snippet in a SERP.

    The ads, generally, end up in my “blind spot”. I notice them once in a while, but generally ignore them anyway.

    I do use a feed-aggregator, to see headlines of blog posts, but I don’t read from a feed reader. I don’t want a sanitized, text-only experience with a blog. You’ve got it all together your way for whatever reasons, and I have no problem abiding by that, and coming to your blog to read the posts.

    In summary: if the excerpt is a summary, and not just the first 40 words or so, I see no reason the feed should be much less valuable than before. Especially for me.

    So I say, do it. You’re a business man. Give away something for free, forever? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

    Go ahead and burninate the full-text feed. It will have no effect on my readership of your blog – the value of the posting & commenting does that. Keep that value, and I’ll keep coming.

  63. dumbfounder says:

    In my mind, you have already tainted the experiment because people know that it is just an experiment and therefore won’t have a genuine reaction. You will also get a lot of people that make idle threats to leave, but you won’t know for sure if they really will because they know that full feeds will be turned on again.

  64. Trogdor says:

    Your feed-readers have been getting everything from you, FOR FREE, for quite some time. So it’s no surprise they’re up in arms. Of course there’s going to be a chorus of “no” if you switch over.

    But you know what? Your blog is still valuable. People may threaten, and they may even unsubscribe, but so long as your blog is still valuable, they will be back, one way or another. They’ll gripe and moan, as they come to your site to read anyway.

    Myself, I come to your blog every day to see the updates – my feed reader is my Google homepage, and while it may be getting full text, I’m not used to that. Frankly, I prefer to read blogs at the source – sometimes there are pictures that won’t come through, sometimes the feeds are excerpts, sometimes there are related links I find useful.

    Plus, the blog has its own CSS that doesn’t (I think) come through a feed reader. Reading it styled the way the author set up is like reading a book in its original cover; reading it in a feed reader is like reading an article by looking at the snippet in a SERP.

    The ads, generally, end up in my “blind spot”. I notice them once in a while, but generally ignore them anyway.

    I do use a feed-aggregator, to see headlines of blog posts, but I don’t read from a feed reader. I don’t want a sanitized, text-only experience with a blog. You’ve got it all together your way for whatever reasons, and I have no problem abiding by that, and coming to your blog to read the posts.

    In summary: if the excerpt is a summary, and not just the first 40 words or so, I see no reason the feed should be much less valuable than before. Especially for me.

    So I say, do it. You’re a business man. Give away something for free, forever? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

    Go ahead and burninate the full-text feed. It will have no effect on my readership of your blog – the value of the posting & commenting does that. Keep that value, and I’ll keep coming.

  65. Bud Gibson says:

    I’m for adding sponsors to your feeds. The conversion event you want is for readers to visit your sponsors so you get paid. Visiting your site is only a meanst to that end.

    For a reader like me, feed reading is a highly efficient way to browse a lot of information. There’s three stages: (1) Does the title get me; (2) Click and read post; (3) Periodically comment. If I have to leap onto an entirely new page to just read the post, well I may never do it and in fact unsubscribe. However, I might actually click on ads in feeds.

    Your dealing with two segments, web page visitors and feed browsers. Market to them differently.

  66. Markus says:

    If full text were THAT necessary, slashdot wouldn’t bring so many people to sites. I have your feed on my Google Homepage and my attention is brought only by the title of the post. Make a good excerpts, keep up the good content, and you won’t be losing that many readers and will still gain visitors.

  67. Justin Watt says:

    John, one of the problems with excerpt feeds—usually based on a number of words, is that all the html formatting, paragraphs, blockquotes, etc gets stripped, making the excerpts themselves much less skimmable—more like gibberish.

    Readers who subscribe to your feed are a different class of users, some are lurkers, yes, but I’d guess they’re more likely to click over to a post when and if something you write inspires them to comment—or see what other people have commented—two very important elements of conversational media not easily subverted by feeds.

    By relying on excerpts, I’d say the chance that someone jumps over is reduced by how must content is cut.

  68. Danny Sullivan says:

    I’m a big boy. I know how to click to read stories. As long as you properly describe them in your descriptions, I’ll click to read stuff that’s interesting. Of course, I’ll naturally read less simply because it’s inevitable descriptions can’t cover as much as if I do a quick skim of an entire story in my readers. But I won’t be deleting the feed. I find it amazing that anyone would decide that any site they find useful has to get nixed just because they don’t offer full feeds. Hey, if other sites offer the same exact info and full feeds, that makes sense. Otherwise, sure — the site might lose a reader, but the reader loses something too.

  69. rabble says:

    All it means is that i’ll stop reading what you write. It’s like news sites preventing themselves from being index. Good bye searchblog.

  70. Bill says:

    Add me to the “would be pissed” group. :)

  71. Trogdor says:

    Your feed-readers have been getting everything from you, FOR FREE, for quite some time. So it’s no surprise they’re up in arms. Of course there’s going to be a chorus of “no” if you switch over.

    But you know what? Your blog is still valuable. People may threaten, and they may even unsubscribe, but so long as your blog is still valuable, they will be back, one way or another. They’ll gripe and moan, as they come to your site to read anyway.

    Myself, I come to your blog every day to see the updates – my feed reader is my Google homepage, and while it may be getting full text, I’m not used to that. Frankly, I prefer to read blogs at the source – sometimes there are pictures that won’t come through, sometimes the feeds are excerpts, sometimes there are related links I find useful.

    Plus, the blog has its own CSS that doesn’t (I think) come through a feed reader. Reading it styled the way the author set up is like reading a book in its original cover; reading it in a feed reader is like reading an article by looking at the snippet in a SERP.

    The ads, generally, end up in my “blind spot”. I notice them once in a while, but generally ignore them anyway.

    I do use a feed-aggregator, to see headlines of blog posts, but I don’t read from a feed reader. I don’t want a sanitized, text-only experience with a blog. You’ve got it all together your way for whatever reasons, and I have no problem abiding by that, and coming to your blog to read the posts.

    In summary: if the excerpt is a summary, and not just the first 40 words or so, I see no reason the feed should be much less valuable than before. Especially for me.

    So I say, do it. You’re a business man. Give away something for free, forever? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

    Go ahead and burninate the full-text feed. It will have no effect on my readership of your blog – the value of the posting & commenting does that. Keep that value, and I’ll keep coming.

  72. Trogdor says:

    Parting shot – I cannot stand ads coming in RSS feeds. I just won’t tolerate it. My rss-feed aggregator is MY place, I don’t want weird ads coming in where I think is just links to real content. If I want ads, I’ll go to the blog itself — and I always do, go to the blog itself, so no problem.

  73. PolluxStL says:

    Without the full text feed, I’m gone. I don’t keep anything else but full text in my reader. I can get my news from a million different sites, thank you very much.

  74. KGabert says:

    Without the full text feed, I will stop reading as well. There is nothing that bothers me more than having losing the content and being required to click through random links and leaving my realm where I am able to quickly scan through hundreds of news items. I will leave.

  75. Tim Harding says:

    “There’s nearly 70,000 of you now who read this feed.”

    No, there’s nearly 70,000 of us who SUBSCRIBE to the feed. I am a subscriber but rarely a reader. I, for one, will not stay subscribed if you switch to partial text feeds because it’s not worth my time to click out of my reader to a web page. If the content was more in line with my interests I’d be more likely to deal with partial text feeds. I might also therefore be more likely to be interested in what your sponsors are selling, so maybe it’s a good idea.

    Good luck!

  76. komedi says:

    thank you very much!

  77. Randall Newton says:

    Teaser feeds are the way to go. I need to review a lot of news every day; I don’t need the full text of every possible article from every possible RSS subscription. I need just enough info to decide if the whole article is worth my time.

  78. Graham says:

    I agree with Randall – one above. Only need teaser feeds – let me decide whether i want to read the whole article. Who are all these people that waste their time reading a full submission if it has no relevancy to them? I do not mind clicking through if it is worth my time… as was the case for this article.

    Plus, long-term viability of your blog requires it.

  79. Hilary says:

    I agree with much of Trogdor’s post (although i’m not sure it needed to be said 3 times)

    For the full text people, I don’t understand why they’re happy to monetize the feed reader companies’ sites. Google is currently testing adsense for feeds, but it’s ambiguous if they’re inserting ads in on the content/feed provider’s end, or the content consumer’s end without letting the content/feed provider know.

    The second option wouldn’t be too much of a shock given how Google has monetized gMail. Ads in people’s email inboxes were considered controversial at one point in the distant past, but now no-one seems to care.

  80. seo yarismai says:

    thank you very much!

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