Looking at my RSS feeds last night, I had a count of how many of my “Marketing Favourites” folder were full feeds and how many were just excerpts. As it turns out, only two of my top 15 feeds are using excerpts in their feeds, one of which “doesn’t really count” because it’s really only linking to the post accompanying a podcast.
I came across Feedburner’s Rick Klau’s comment about partial feeds. He says:
First of all, I think the primary justification often given for partial feeds – that it will drive higher clickthroughs back to the publisher’s site – is off-base. As people subscribe to feeds, they subscribe to more feeds. And that means they’re consuming more content, which means that each click out of the feed reader is taking the reader away from more content. In other words, feed reading is consumption-oriented, not transactionally focused. We’ve seen no evidence that excerpts on their own drive higher clickthroughs.
So in summary, partial feed = greedy site owner and no real benefits to the readers.
RSS feeds have been created to make it easier to plow through the mountains of information we want to assimilate every day, and partial feeds are a significant hurdle to that. If 13 of my 15 favourite feeds are full feeds and only two use excerpts, is it possible that, unconsciously, that factor played a role in my decision to “upgrade” these feeds from the enormous Marketing folder to the Marketing Favourites one?
By knowing I wouldn’t have to waste time clicking through to their site and would be able to read the posts while away from an Internet connection or during the routinely web downtime we’re getting in the office these days, these full feeds have made themselves more valuable.
David Churbuck points out that full feeds are also beneficial to Chinese readers, who may be able to read the RSS excerpt but not read the full entry on wordpress.com, for example.
What gets me even more than people posting excerpts only, forcing you to get out of your RSS reader (or at least in the case of NNW, open a new tab), is those who stick advertising at the bottom of their excerpt. Advertising in my feeds feels dirty.
But then, this happens in feeds that belong to companies unscrupulous enough to put so many animated ads within their actual website that it makes my brand new Intel Mac’s fans rev up (and my 16 months old Powerbook hit 100%), and makes me go cross-eyed while trying to read the site’s actual content. But hrmm… that’s one for another post though.
Am I missing any perfectly justifiable reasons to use excerpts?
[Via The Wrong Advices]