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Some Like It Partial: The Full Vs. Partial RSS Debate Continues
Read Robert Scoble's thoughtful explanation of his disdain for partial RSS feeds.  Scoble says he won't Partially Full Water Glass.jpgsubscribe to a partial RSS feed - one that displays only the first part of each post ("except for my brother's blog," he admits).  Scoble is correct in saying that partial feeds tend to deter some RSS users who find it annoying to have to actually visit the content owner's website to read the rest of a long post.  Kent Newsome sides with Scoble.  (In the other corner we have The Blog Herald.)

My own feed is partial.  Whenever I think of switching to a full feed (and I admit that I have often been tempted to do so), I remember Darren Rowse's main reason for using partial feeds: to keep people from stealing his content.  Others use partial feeds because they find that it drives more traffic to their site.  For them, RSS advertising - actually sticking ads within posts in RSS feeds - might not be as profitable as advertising on their own website.

So I'm torn, and have been for months, over whether to offer full or partial feeds.  I can see the benefits and drawbacks of both options.  Of course, there's also the possibility of offering both and letting my readers decide.  (Believe it or not, some like it partial!)

Overflowing Water Glass.jpgPoll time. Should I offer full feeds only, partial feeds only, or both?

Bonus question: How should I implement your solution?

Feb 1
Honey, I Shrunk My RSS Feed Pile
Newsgator now tells me, after long hours of pruning and snipping and cutting and hacking away at my mound of feeds:

"Currently subscribed to 290 feeds"

Yessss!  Now I think I'll actually be able to read them all each day.  (Only 2,228 posts to go through as of right now.  Down from more than 14,000.)

I once groaned under the weight of well over a thousand feeds.  I pared that awesome mountain down to a "paltry" 1,029 by the afternoon of December 29, 2005 (see this comment I left at The RSS Weblog - and read the initial total :)).

Moral of the Story: Simplify your life.  Unclutter your feed reading by deleting the least helpful feeds every month or so.  You'll breathe easier.  And your blogging will thank you.
Jan 6
What Is RSS And What Does It Have Do With Business Blogging?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication - automated publishing.  Any business blog - whether corporate or personal - needs to know what RSS is and how (and WHY) to use it.  Here are some starting pointers:

Yahoo! offers some startling information showing that nearly one-third of Web users actually use RSS, but that the vast majority of them aren't aware of the fact.

The BBC news site explains RSS in a simple, straightforward way.

You can even subscribe to my RSS feedRead how to do that.

Lastly, the Wikipedia article on RSS is excellent.

Any more resources?  Let us all know.
RSS Feed Ads Excel, Says Study
A recent ClickZ News article by Pamela Parker reports on the surprising success of RSS ads that appear as standalone feed items or "posts."  According to a study by Pheedo, a popular RSS advertiser, the average click-through rate (CTR) of a standalone RSS ad is 7 percent - a high number in an industry where even one percent CTR is enough to make a decent profit.  Placing ads within content posts nets an average CTR of a little less than one percent.

Another tip the study generated was to place ads in every other RSS post, rather than embedding them in every single post.

The study also found that Pheedo ad CTRs performed best on Mondays and Saturdays, and worst on Thursdays and Fridays.  Interestingly, actual feed readership for businesses using Pheedo peaked on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I'm glad that we are starting to see more of these RSS-specific marketing studies being done.  I highly recommend doing your research to find out the right type of RSS feed and/or RSS advertising to offer.

What do you think of placing ads within RSS feeds?  Is it a blessing, a necessary evil, or just plain evil?  Let me know your thoughts.  Personally, I think it depends on the type of business you have, your target audience and the goals you have in mind.  But for the most part, I prefer small, unobtrusive, relevant advertising, whether in an RSS feed or just at a corporate site, as opposed to blaringly loud and flashy advertising.

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