Partial Feeds v/s Full Feeds

The good old debate seems to have resurrected itself with the acquisition of Freakonomics blog by NY Times. Yes, it has moved, and so have the feeds – from full to partial. Mathew Ingram thinks it is a bad idea and Mike Masnick in fact explains how the full feeds drive more traffic.

I agree, full feeds let a reader get involved deeper. I think that partial feeds do not do the justice, and might drive the reader away if the excerpt does not turn out to be interesting enough. But I have seen that there are two types of readers who use feeds:

  • one who reads content
  • the other who just wants to get notified about the new content

Partial feeds might work in the second case, but they might in fact be harmful in the first case. Using feed readers is convenient if full feeds are provided, and might help your blog to stay in a reader’s radar instead of getting dropped. As a reader, I use feed readers and visit the site if I find the post interesting or if I want to comment on it. Sometimes I click through if it is about the site’s design or if I feel that the design is as much a part of the content. What I hate is if people send out partial feeds just for the sake for me to click through and increase page views and hits, it is anti-blogging.

Having said that, the only reason I have found that can justify partial feeds is splogging. At certain numbers, avoiding seems more reasonable that taking up the cause with every single one who steals from you.

Will I continue to subscribe to the the Freakonomics blog? Yes, because I value its content. Or I might end up visiting the blog once a week or something and unsubscribe if using the feed reader gets inconvenient because of it. This blog provides full feeds and will continue to do so. I love full feeds from either side of the table. What do you think? Do you provide full feeds? Do you subscribe to partial feeds?

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Binny V A said:

    I always prefer full feeds to partial ones. I have even unsubscribed to blogs that fails to provide a full feed. I believe that it is a mistake to disable full feeds on Freakonomics.

  2. Lorelle said:

    I believe than anyone who takes an absolute stance on an issue is missing the whole picture. For many blogs, full feeds work. For others, they don’t. And yet, there are people who say they will stop visiting a blog unless it has full feeds as punishment. Like how would the blogger know? 😀

    The main reason I do not consistently offer full feed content, though I do more now than I did before since WordPress added control of what appears on the feed through the MORE tag, is because many people complain that it’s “too much” to read.

    I produce educational content, thus expect people to only read what interests them, not every word. Gads! I’d bore myself if I had to read every word on my blog! So I do not use full feeds on long posts so the reader has a chance to determine if this is of interest or not. If it isn’t, why should they scroll through page after page after page of content in their feed reader for something they don’t want to read? This way, it gives them a choice.

    I’m with you, though, on those who use partial feeds to force statistics and page views. News agencies are the WORSE on this. I don’t want to click through to get more than the headline, so I’m now more picky than ever about what news I choose to read because it involves clicking through to a graphic heavy, slow loading, ad filled page. The news sites that are giving me one to three paragraphs are in my feed reader and the big guys who are serving only headlines are out.

  3. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    I agree that in some cases full feeds might get too much, but that is a preference of the reader, which I think should be handled by the feed reader. I should be able to configure and tell the feed reader to show only excerpts for that feed. Of course this is in the ideal scenario.

    But I have always found two factions. It will be interesting to see what the common man likes.

  4. Connor Wilson said:

    For now, I stick to full feeds. The argument, as you know, has been going on for what seems like forever, but like Lorelle said, it can never be won.

    Some sites need or are bettered by one or the other, but the same thing goes for sites that use the wrong one.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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