Posted April 23, 2007 10:32 pm by with 23 comments

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Conventional wisdom tells us that if you publish partial feeds, people will click through to your site to read the rest of your story. The truth is that it just doesn’t work out that way. FeedBurner’s VP of Publishing Services, FeedBurner’s Rick Klau, noted last week:

First of all, I think the primary justification often given for partial feeds—that it will drive higher clickthroughs back to the publisher’s site—is off-base. As people subscribe to feeds, they subscribe to more feeds. And that means they’re consuming more content, which means that each click out of the feed reader is taking the reader away from more content. In other words, feed reading is consumption oriented, not transactionally focused. We’ve seen no evidence that excerpts on their own drive higher clickthroughs.

Rick and Muhammad Saleem on Pronet Advertising also note some reasons why bloggers are reluctant to publish full feeds, as well as some strategies to overcome the potential problems of scraping (and wanting people to come to your site and click on your ads).

Marketing Pilgrim is ahead of the curve. Andy switched to full feeds well over a year ago. He mentioned it in December, after full feeds received some coverage at SES Chicago. Andy also referenced Amit Agarwal’s success with full feeds—more than 1000 new subscribers in one month.

Speaking from my own experience, I am among the many who dislike partial feeds.

  • The main downside with full feeds is spammers stealing your content, but I think the positives far outweigh this.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Yeah, of course. Everyone says you can just police it and send DMCA letters, but really, if someone’s stealing your content, they’re not going to stop just because you threaten them with legal action—if you can even track them down.

  • Full feeds FTW. I clicked through b/c the MP full feed has “by andy.beal@gmail (Andy Beal)” as the author and I thought Andy went third person on us, but alas a guest author.

  • @Evan – more than just a guest, it’s the infamous Jordan. I’ll have to see how to change the email listing for her posts.

  • Jordan McCollum

    ‘Infamous,’ eh? Cue scene from The Three Amigos.

  • LOL – Jordan would you say we had a “plethora” of authors?

  • Jordan McCollum

    Oh yes. Does that make you El Guapo?

  • I though this was more of the three stooges than the three amigos 😀


  • Whenever I subscribe to a feed and find out that it only offers partial feeds I just unsubscribe most of the time. On the rare occasion that I do stay subscribed, I read far less of the content than I would if they had a full feed, since I am reluctant to click through. If you really want people to click through you should offer content that encourages discussion so that readers will click through to read responses and write their own comment as I just have.

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  • I agree. It will do you no good. Some readers don’t like the idea of giving them small details. Most of us want to know main idea right away.

  • The biggest problem feeds have is that they are competing with other for a slice of your reader’s attention. I scan through so many posts a day that partial feeds just don’t work for me. I prefer to drop it and more on to something I can absorb more quickly.

    Having a partial feed is the quickest way to get me to ubsubscribe to someone’s feed.

  • I just use livebookmarks in Firefox for my feed tracking. If I see an interesting headline I’m likely to click right through to the blog in question.

    Otherwise, I don’t use a “feed reeder” application.

  • What if the writer partializes the feed at a critical must-keep-on-reading point? That’s what I try to do, anyway…

  • @Dario – that works well for some. I hear that SEObook has success with just posting a summary of the post.

  • Raju

    I know managed 10000 feed subscribers with partial feeds only! They recently switched to full feeds too. I guess it is how readers like your content. and also have lots of readers with partial feeds only.

  • I also don’t like partial feed. I don’t like the suspence in finding out what it’s all about. It’s better if I know what it’s all about.

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  • When I see a partial feed, I only click through to the full feed if it is someone I really want to read, or the article is so interesting I just can’t help myself, or if I want to read the comments. I do not automatically click through on every feed. That just wastes my time.

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