When WIll MyYahoo RSS Go Full Text?

Yahoo Publisher Network has its own blog now, and I like watching it to keep up with what is sure to be a big year for Yahoo as it rolls out a more full throated response to AdSense. And most of you know I'm also pretty interested in new…

MyyahoorssbbYahoo Publisher Network has its own blog now, and I like watching it to keep up with what is sure to be a big year for Yahoo as it rolls out a more full throated response to AdSense. And most of you know I’m also pretty interested in new ad models generally, and RSS specifically. So this headline on the new site: “So What’s All This About Ads in RSS” certainly caught my eye.

The post explains the basics of RSS, and how folks who publish feeds can make some extra revenue by adding Yahoo RSS ads (YPN text links for now) into their feeds. The post explains how RSS readers work, using examples like NewsGator, Bloglines, SharpReader, Firefox’s Live Bookmarks and others. These are all full text readers, so Yahoo’s RSS ads will show up in them (they appear at the end of a post).

But the problem is this: One of the largest RSS readers in the world is My Yahoo. In fact, in the post, Yahoo promotes it’s “Add to My Yahoo!” RSS feature as a great way for a publisher to promote their RSS feeds. Yet My Yahoo’s implementation of RSS is crippled: It only pulls headlines and snippets. It strips out URLs and ads. In other words, it won’t show the very ads that Yahoo is promoting (or any others, for that matter).

The post, therefore, is pretty much a contradiction in terms. On the one hand, it says you should add YPN advertisements to your feeds – they’ll show up in full text feed readers (in other words, the places Yahoo does not control). On the other hand, it encourages the use of the My Yahoo RSS reader, where those very ads will never show up (and they don’t need to, because Yahoo will show their own ads around My Yahoo).

I don’t think you can have it both ways. I use both FeedBurner and FM ads for FM’s feeds. Hence, they don’t show up in MyYahoo. This is not a new issue – the question of who makes money off other folks content is a big one. For now, the industry has settled into a quid pro quo of “headlines and snippets for clickthru traffic”. But readers don’t care about that. They want their content where they want it, and if it’s inside MyYahoo, great. Just deliver ALL the content, including the ads. I’ve brought this up with the good folks there. They understand the issue, but for now anyway, they aren’t going to change their model. I think they should.

5 thoughts on “When WIll MyYahoo RSS Go Full Text?”

  1. JB: I’ve had many talks with them about this. They want to have advertising on MyYahoo and because of that they can only show excerpt feeds.

    If they move to full-feeds like Bloglines they will have to take down their ads (or be in violation of the TOS of most publishers who don’t allow advertising against their feeds).

    RSS readers basically have three options to make money right now:

    1. Excerpt feeds with ads.
    2. Full-feeds with no ads, but gain users to monetize somewhere else (i.e. bloglines).
    3. Have folks buy your RSS reader.

    If RSS readers put ads against full-feeds they will a) get sued, b) get blocked by publishers, or worse c) publishers will move to excerpt feeds.

  2. The My Yahoo! homepage is just one of the RSS services affected when adding a new feed. Yahoo’s centralized feed management means you see a list of most recently updated feed items for your subscriptions in My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Mail beta, and the Yahoo Widget engine. Each view into the same feed data has a different layout to account for screen real estate and other issues.

    Click on a headline listing and you are taken to the full HTML page for the publisher’s item, and the monetization can begin there.

  3. Oddly, there’s also another contingent to consider. Some folks are against their content being used along with any form of advertising, even if they make it publicly available. The rail against any form of third party content viewers.

    By not including full content, Y! could argue that they’re in fair use of the content. Yeah, it’s a crappy argument, but I’m sure it’s one the lawyers are well familiar with.

    For what it’s worth, I tend to use the My presentation as a “quickie” tool to check and see if my favorite blogs updated anyway. My is my current homepage, but I click through to the full articles pretty quickly, and the majority of the time I open it, I’ve already read the latest stuff.

  4. John brought up some really good points but I just wanted to clarify a few things.

    With regard to Yahoo!’s RSS readers, we offer multiple ways for users to consume their RSS feeds. One way is through their My Yahoo! page, which features a “dashboard” view of RSS feeds and does not show ads. That’s because My Yahoo! is a traffic driver that offers a headline for users to click through to your site to read the full story and view your ads.

    The new Yahoo! Mail beta allows your users to view the full text of your feed including any ads. The mail environment is designed to engage your user right then and there, having them view your content and ads on the spot.

    – Michael Mattis, Yahoo! Publisher Network Blog Editor

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