The debate of serving full vs. partial RSS feeds isn’t a new one. Several big-time marketing blogs have polled, blogged and agued the point up and down the blogosphere.
I originally started with only offering partial feeds on NMB, but moved to full feed disclosure some months ago (if I remember correctly).
I’ve pushed for the majority of feeds on MLive to feature the content in full, including any photos and/or video embedded. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced any pushback.
Let me give my argument real quick:
I hate partial feeds. Hate. Hate. Hate. I subscribe to more than 200 feeds through Google Reader, and what drives me up the wall nearly more than anything else is only getting a few snippets of info. I can’t stand it. And in case you have the same issue, use this Greasemonkey script to kiss partial feeds goodbye.
I am arguing as a reader, not a business-side news organization. Partial feeds don’t give enough information, make it frustrating to read feeds and waste my valuable time. As a reader, partial feeds are just about enough to make me unsubscribe to a feed. Partial feeds will not grow your readership, but full feeds might.
Online marketing guru Steve Rubel notes that the majority of Technorati’s top 100 most popular blogs offer full feeds – coincidence? Subscribers want full feeds (read comments). Do news orgs really have the digital clout to be able to stick with partial feeds and frustrate readers?
But what about stats?
If readers aren’t clicking through, newspapers can’t can an accurate reading on what stories are striking an interest – WRONG!
Rick Klau, former VP, Publisher Services at FeedBurner, tells ProBlogger:
Publishers who use FeedBurner’s feed management services can measure both feed item views ( i.e., posts which are read in the aggregator) as well as clickthroughs – giving them an accurate view of both clickthroughs, and more importantly, the clickthrough rate. …
Full text feeds makes the reading process much easier. It means it’s that much more likely that someone reads the full piece and actually understands what’s being said — which makes it much, much, much more likely that they’ll then forward it on to someone else, or blog about it themselves, or post it to Digg or Reddit or Slashdot or Fark or any other such thing — and that generates more traffic and interest and page views from new readers
Monetize full feeds!
Run your feed through FeedBurner and you have a great way to toss ads into your feeds. Most news orgs probably haven’t developed ways to hack their feeds to include ads, but FeedBurner makes it easy. If this content is going out there anyway, might as well make money on it.
But could you imagine reading a partial feed with only a couple snippets of text. Talk about a horrible subscription.
Keeping the drumbeat rolling
I’m not arguing anything new. Yoni Greenbaum put together a much better argument for full feeds than I have. He’s got stats and great pull quotes about the benefits of full feeds vs. partial feeds. Check it out.
What do you think? What kind of feeds does your org push?