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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Full Text Feeds or Partial RSS Feeds: The Endless Debate Among Bloggers

Readers might have noticed something new this morning in their RSS readers: Digital Alchemy is now providing full text RSS feeds. We've been hesitant about switching over for a couple of reasons:
  • Content scraping: This refers to a common practice among sploggers who steal content from legitimate bloggers via full text RSS feeds, remove any notice of the original author, and place their own ads around the stolen articles.
  • Reducing the number of blog site visits:Getting more readers onto the site is obviously helpful with the advertising dollars, but it also increases the chance of getting more interaction among the Digital Alchemy readership. I've written before that only about 1% of users actually participate in any given community.
However, we realize the obvious benefits to our readers if we did offer full text feeds:
  • Convenience: Readers aren't forced to make an extra click to read our posts. I know I'm less likely to read a post if I have to make that extra click.
  • Access: Readers who have downloaded our RSS feeds can still read our posts even if we experience some downtime, which isn't that unlikely given that we're using Blogger.
We'll be offering full text RSS feeds for at least the next month or so and see what the effects are. If we don't see any glaring amount of content theft, we'll probably stick with them. As always, we welcome any comments you might have for or against full text feeds.

We were also moved by the persuasive arguments made by other bloggers in favor of full text feeds.

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Comment Archive

Reader Comments:

Personally, I would not allow content theft issues to enter into the full vs. partial feed debate. Scrapers are already moving past snatching individual feeds and are pulling from sources such as Technorati and Google Blog search, which in turn pull most of their content from the HTML.

If a full feed better support's your site's goals, I say go for it. If it doesn't, then don't. It is up to you to decide that.

That's a good point.

Just for the record, I comment about 100% more frequently on blogs that use full feeds. If the partial doesn't catch my attention, and they VERY rarely do, then I don't bother to read the whole thing and therefore don't ever get around to commenting.

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