11 thoughts on “Full Feeds versus Excerpts”

  1. Hmmm. Well I agree that content thieves likely won’t cost you a penny, but I can’t agree that partial feeds will rob you of much readership either.

    You’re either worth reading or you’re not.

    Yes there’s a tiny percentage of people who won’t tolerate anything but full feeds, but I’d rather lose this tiny percentage (even if it includes people like Scoble) and draw people to my site than give people no reason to click through. If the content is to be monetized, it must occur either in the feed or on the site. I prefer on the site. Just look at what happened to Om’s feeds when he briefly threw ads in there. They were awful.

    The feed *IS* the ad. That’s the thing some people aren’t quite understanding yet. This may not always be the case, but it certainly is right now. Do you know why people say that they prefer full text feeds? It’s not for the heck of it. It’s because they generally contain no ads or anything else designed to get you to do anything but read the specific article you’re already reading. Why should this sort of consumer sentiment be surprising to anyone? Walk down the street and ask 100 people if they’d rather watch Lost with or without the commercials.

    What do you think they’ll say?

    The content must be paid for somewhere… the only question is where you’d like to pay for it.

  2. Mike, I don’t necessarily agree with your assertion that a feed is an ad. Sure, it draws people into the website if the content is good (or worthy of comment) – It is how I got here, and it is what led me to post the first comment above.

    The value I see in full-feeds goes beyond being ad-free (I believe we’ll come to a time when ads on feeds will be unobtrusive enough to have widespread use). They fuel many of the current RSS-based web applications. They allow people to track conversations. They allow people to take content away from the blog it belongs to (with the implications that carries, good or bad).

    If content is to be monetized, we need good ways to do it, in full-feeds and the websites.

  3. mike, and fred

    both of you are making valid points. my rss ad experiment. it was a mistake, and quickly i learnt that if you do a little balancing you can actually have a supportive community feedback. for instance now the ads show up, once every four posts that exceed 500 words. i think it is safe to say, everyone is happy in that situation. not too many ads, i make a little money, and you don’t feel upset as a reader.

    the point being, we really need to figure out, monetization 2.0. i think in the end, we have a media ecosystem that has developed/evolved way beyond what the money-aspect of the game is.

    love to hear your thoughts, and forgive me for not answering before tomorrow morning. i need to get some sleep.

  4. Om, I will think about the topic of monetization 2.0 and probably post about it. This is something I’ve discussed several times (with Gabe up there too) during my time in california and I’ve been willing to post my ideas up ever since.

    This needs careful thinking. It may take a few days. Have a good night rest.

  5. Agreed that “Monetization 2.0” probably deserves an entire conference (more so than Web 2.0 even), but one thing about media is a constant in my opinion:

    Consumers will always seek the path of least resistance when it comes to ingesting content. TV advertisers have had it *GREAT* for the last 30 years because the notion of 2 minutes of ads for every 10 minutes of content has been perfectly acceptable to the general public for so long. Yes people don’t like the ads, but until Tivo, there’s been little they can do about it. Now things are changing and TV is kind of screwed. I am a perfect test-case for this concept. I *LOVE* TV advertising. I studied it at Oxford! And yet, even I won’t watch it now. Why? It’s just too easy to get to that path of least resistance if you have a Tivo.

    So… where does that leave the web? Well, fundamentally it puts us in the same place we’re at with TV. Make ads annoying enough and make them easy enough to skip, and free content on the web is doomed. Exercise restraint, however, and respect the consumer’s desire to consume content in a pleasant manner and we’re in pretty good shape. That’s what RSS is to me. It’s a way for me to avoid manually checking a site every couple of hours to see if it’s updated. It’s efficient, it’s ad-free, and it merely points me in the direction of something I might be interested in. It’s a notification technology. If I’m interested, I visit the site, register the ad impressions, and support the content creator who has brought me there.

  6. The reason why most people subscribe to RSS feeds is because they
    lack time to read the actual post on the website. Hence we would be really annoyed if full feeds are removed from sites. I personally do not subscribe to sites that do not publish full feeds.

  7. bm’s argument is one I buy in only two circumstances (which may very well be the case for him):

    1. If you do a ton of reading offline. Maybe you spend 4 hours on a train every day and you have a computer but no connectivity.

    2. If you’re a blood relative of Scoble and follow an inordinate amount of feeds… like 500 or more.

    To number 1, yes, that’s totally legitimate, but as we spread to a truly always-on world, this circumstance will go away.

    To number 2, I’d bet that less than 1 out of 10,000 people in this world follow over 100 feeds. Even people who use RSS a lot are generally well under 100. The argument that the five extra seconds it takes you to click through to a site and support the content provider isn’t worth it just doesn’t sit well with me.

    Just so no one gets the wrong idea, I’m cool with your wanting to kept things in your RSS reader, but just be aware that you’re not changing the game by doing that… you’re only changing the venue. Commercialism (see Feedburner) will creep as far into the feed reader as it’s crept into the browser eventually. If this is good for consumers and content providers, then I’m perfectly good with it as well… it’s just that when you ask for full-text, be aware that you’re not asking for ad-free full-text. You’re asking for full-text and whatever monetization options will eventually tag along with it.

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