Blog Post

As RSS Matures Issues Arise: Re-Use Misuse, Full-text Vs. Partial

First, an update on a debate that’s far from being resolved: full-text vs. excerpts/headline feeds. Gawker Media is testing two RSS feeds for each of its blogs — a full-content, ad-supported version and a partial-text, no-ad version. From the Lifehacker explanation and invitation for comments: “As always, thanks for reading while we try to figure out what works best in this newfangled world of publishing web content.” Mark Tosczak calls it “a relatively unobnoxious solution to the problem of making money off of your RSS feed.” (Thanks for the heads up, Mark.) Of course, it helps if the partial feed is written in a way that brings readers to the site.
A related RSS debate gathering steam (via Dave Winer): software companies hawking the use of other people’s RSS content to fuel sites, draw traffic and garner search rank. Richard MacManus is taking on SuperFeedSystem.com, a company promising auto-updated content on the premise that when you see RSS symbols “… it means that the owners of the content are inviting you to use what they’ve written.” (You have to read the text of the SuperFeed ad Richard posted to believe it.) Company exec Hector Jimenez is posting his own take in the comments, explaining that his company is providing a service and that it’s up to the client to follow the law. He suggests that RSS publishers should make their usage policies clearly known.
What are you doing about either of these issues? Drop me a line.
Related: The Full-Text Vs. Teaser Debate Continues