Today, uber-blogger Robert Scoble once again is flailing bloggers (or any online publisher) who chooses not to publish the full text of their postings via feed. See: “Blog Herald doesnâ€™t understand why full-text feeds work”
Personally, I don’t offer full-text feeds for any of my blogs. I’ve considered this choice carefully, and I believe for my purposes (and my audiences) it’s probably the right decision at this time.
Here’s how I explained to Scoble my reasons for not offering full-text feeds…
In a comment to Robert Scoble’s posting, I said:
I respect your perspective, but I’d suggest that your personal preference for full-text feed is just that one person’s preference; not a sound basis for blanket advice to online publishers.
In my case, I’ve chosen not to offer a full-text feed for Contentious and The Right Conversation for several reasons. These are:
- Partial feeds (and e-mail alerts based on those feeds) are the only way I can get clickthrough information about which of my articles are most popular one of my most valuable tools for planning and refining my content strategy.
- I often write at a length which is unwieldy for common feed reader tools and services. I don’t think telling people to “get a better feed reader” is very constructive for building a relationship with your audience.
- t already gets stolen and plagiarized often. I do consider that a problem, and I believe a full-text feed would only exacerbate that problem.
- purpose of my blogs is to market my professional services. I choose not to cram every blog posting (or feed item) with marketing messages, but I do need to make that marketing connection. If people have no reason to visit my site, I don’t get that benefit.
I realize you probably disagree with some or all of these considerations, and that’s fine. Still it seems to me that your arguments in favor of all online publishers offering full-text feeds is based solely in your preference.
Personally, I think this consideration can vary widely by publication, goal, and target audience.
– Amy Gahran
…That said, every choice is a tradeoff. I know my choice not to offer a full-text feed offers possible frustrations to some readers:
- People who read blogs via PDAs, cell phones, or other mobile devices; or who download content and then disconnect from the net to read.
- People who simply prefer to read content in their feed reader, regardless of length
- People who think a single click to continue reading an article is too much trouble.
- People who object to content that is published for anything less than purely altruistic, noncommercial reasons.
OK, I know I may sound snarky about those last two groups, but I know those people exist and they are entitled to their preferences.
Personally, I always strive to offer valuable content in the summary excerpt (which goes out by feed and e-mail) for every post I write either actual information, or “food for thought.” Therefore, I believe my summary feeds are valuable content in their own right.
But until it’s obvious to me that most of my target audiences are relying solely on mobile devices or feed readers to access my blogs, I’m sticking with my partial-text feeds. Even though I know Robert Scoble, and some others, don’t like it. It has never been my goal to try to serve or please everyone.
What’s your perspective on this issue?