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Blog » Full Feeds, Partial Feeds and Advertising

Update: I have finally managed to find the time to add a full feed option to the main feed used here (the "Everything" feed). This is now available in either full or partial, at your discretion. No advertising in either feed. Thanks for all the feedback!

A short while ago, the Freakonomics blog moved to a new home at the New York Times. The responses to post announcing the change were almost exclusively complaints about the feed having changed to a partial feed.

The anger of some of the commenters was (is) astounding. A quick example - one comment ended simply "It was fun. Goodbye.". The overwhelming sentiment appears to be that partial feeds are the work of the internet devil, to be tossed aside as quickly as possible in favour of full-text feeds.

Are full feeds really better? Personally, I like partial feeds - I keep up with a lot of sites and the title and description of a post are what I use to decide if I'll read more. As I go through each folder in Bloglines, I'll open tabs in the background with items I'm interested in and read them afterwards. I click through even if the post is full-feed, and not out of some mis-placed desire to ensure the site gets every advertising impression, but because I'm not at the consumption stage of my reading yet - I'm still just deciding what to read when I'm using my feed reader.

Other people appear to only use the feed reader, never really clicking through. Mobile users, especially, appear to much prefer full feeds.

From a purely selfish perspective, the feed on this site includes no advertising so I serve a partial feed for articles (blog is usually full feed except for large posts). Readership is more important than revenue though, so if full feeds are more likely to attract and keep readers, I'm more than happy to change.

So I have a few questions:

  1. Do you prefer full or partial feeds, and to what extent? Or do you prefer feeds that include both and give you the option of viewing either?
  2. Do you usually click through to a site if you're reading a post? And do you comment more, less or the same on links from partial feeds than full feeds?
  3. Would you be more likely to ubsubscribe from a feed with advertising in it?
  4. Are full feeds more likely to encourage plagiarism? Never mind - this is a topic for another day.
  5. And finally, would you like full feeds for everything here?

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