I am a HUGE New England Patriots fan. For quite a while, my favorite source of Patriots News has been Reiss’s Pieces, a Boston Globe sponsored blog written by Mike Reiss. Mike provides the best up-to-date Patriots news and info and is always the first place that I look for something to read in my Google Reader. That’s until recently.
Somewhere around October 26th of this year, without warning, the blog switched from a “full-content” RSS feed, to a “partial” one. In other words, instead of putting the whole enchilada into the feed, he now offers a snippet (a taquito?) of each post. If I want to read more than the snippet, I must click on the link and wait to be transported to the Boston Globe, where I get the privilege of reading the content over there.
RSS gives a subscriber the ability to read lots of information quickly. Partial feeds interrupt that flow. The problem is exacerbated when Mike writes multiple posts per day. On game days he can write up to 50 posts, but for argument’s sake, let’s just say that on an average day he writes ten. If I want to read the full content of all ten posts, I must execute 32 mousclicks:
- To open my Google Reader (once)
- To click on Mike’s blog (once)
- To open an entry in Mike’s blog (ten times)
- To be transported to Boston Globe to read the rest of Mike’s story (ten times)
- To close the window that was opened when I went to the Globe’s site (ten times)
Partial feeds are old Media’s “answer” to a New Media “problem.” With a business model based on eyeballs — their goal was to inflate page views. This works well except for the people who subscribe to the RSS feed. Since RSS subscribers can consume content without ever having to visit the site, the more popular the feed, the less web visitors there are to inflate page views — something that scares the hell out of people who live and die by those numbers.
I get the logic, I really do. Without page views, there are no ad impressions, without ad impressions, there are no advertisers, and without advertisers, there is no money to pay Mike to write his blog.
But there is a solution to the problem. Put RELEVANT advertising into the RSS feed. It can’t be the generic Netflix and ING ads that The Boston Globe wraps Mike’s content with now, because those ads have nothing to do with The New England Patriots. Perhaps ING offers tickets to a game for new customers? Or Netflix has some package for Patriots DVDs. The point is that just because I don’t want to click twice, doesn’t mean that I expect my feed to be advertisement free.
Heck, I wouldn’t even mind a “This post is sponsored by ING,” text with a link to something that Boston Globe bean counters can measure.
Publishing partial feeds is The Boston Globe’s prerogative. Reading or not reading them is mine. And so, while the Boston Globe is trying to divert my eyeballs to their site, I’m doing something else with them. I’m looking for new sources of information to replace this one.
Please, don’t give your subscribers a reason NOT to read your blog.