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Full Text vs. Partial Text Feeds

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Ahh, the arguing over whether to do full text or partial text feeds continues. This time with Feedburner saying they aren’t seeing a click-through difference.

Personally I hate partial text feeds. I’ve subscribed to a few of them, particularly ZDNet’s bloggers, but I notice I read a lot fewer of their items than I read items from, say, TechCrunch or Mashable, who offer full text feeds. And I link to them a LOT less.

I keep bugging Dan Farber (who runs the ZDNet blogging group) about this and he says he can’t do anything about it because of the advertising model that ZDNet has chosen. He also says that he hasn’t gotten enough feedback to the contrary to take back to his management.

The thing is he won’t. Here’s why.

Out of, say, 1,000 people who are on the Internet, only a small percentage read a lot of feeds. Let’s say it’s 10%. That means only 100 out of any 1,000 people will read feeds and of those 100 people only a small fraction will bother with ZDNet’s feeds.

The thing that partial texters are forgetting is that the other 900 people will find out about you from an influencer. Someone who will tell them. So, your traffic growth will be far slower if you only offer partial text feeds. Many of my friends who are journalists or bloggers just won’t deal with partial text feeds anymore. You certainly see that I link to mostly full text feeds on my link blog.

John Battelle realized this after he polled his readership about this issue: “From the results of my very unscientific poll, I’d clearly be alienating at least a very vocal minority.”

I wish ZDNet came to the same realization cause the quality of their content is really high.

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