Full vs partial RSS feeds

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 iconRSS 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]

5 thoughts on “Full vs partial RSS feeds

  1. Pam

    Would you mind sharing your list of favorite marketing sites? I’m a fan of Churbuck’s, and I’d like to know what else you regularly read.

  2. Vero

    Sure Pam, happy to do so!

    I was thinking of writing a post on favourite blogs, and you’ve just convinced me. But in the meantime, feel free to have a look at my del.icio.us bookmarks. It doesn’t contain my most regular reads necessarily, but some of the latest bits n bobs I’ve looked at.

  3. pa

    J,ai lu attentivement..mais j’ai pas compris..MAIS c’est comme la télé, mon cerveau arrête durant les messages publicitaiers trop rapides ou agressants..je ne remarque pas du tout les annonces sur les sites web parce que je cherche des infos spécifiques le plus directement possible.
    il semblerait que je ne suis pas le seul ‘unwired?’..ex: Claude et Aline n’ont pas d’ordi et tout ce qui web, c’est ??

  4. Pingback: that canadian girl » Blog Archive » RSS Feeds: Full Fat or Summaries?

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