Gruber on RSS and Advertising

by Jin, 03-05-10 // 4 comments

John Gruber talks about RSS and Ad revenue.

If you’ve got a model where revenue is tied only to web page views, switching to full-content RSS feeds will hurt, at least in the short term. The problem, I say, isn’t with full-content RSS feeds, but rather with a business model that hinges solely on web page views. The precious commodity that we, as publishers, have to offer advertisers is the attention of our readers. Web page views are a terribly inaccurate, if not outright misleading, metric for attention. Subscribers to a full-content RSS feed are among the readers paying the most attention, but generate among the least web page views.

A reader asking for a full-content RSS feed is a reader who wants to pay more attention to what you publish. There have to be ways to thrive financially from that.

I never had to worry about revenue because I don’t have Ads on this site. I don’t ever plan to have Ads because it’s a personal site. I want to focus on the last sentence I quoted. I get very annoyed with blogs that don’t have full-content RSS. They force me to jump out of my RSS reader. This is especially annoying if I’m reading on iPhone with bad signal.

When I designed this blog, I had readability and the overall reading experience in mind. This isn’t just for when people are reading on the site, but also when reading through RSS. Offer people the full feed, because they’re the ones who care.


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Janko 03-05-10

Totally agree, reading experience is on the first place. I know many read only from RSS readers and I am fine with that. I publish full-content RSS even with ads on site.

Jin 03-07-10

@Janko, I always read your posts on your site anyways :) Another problem I have with partial RSS is that some bloggers post long excerpts in the RSS. Sometimes it makes me think that’s the entire article. It has very little indication that it’s just an excerpt. I don’t even see a “read more” link.

Eddie 03-09-10

I must say THANK YOU. I’m subscribed to your RSS and I always read your posts on the reader. I have a lot of websites on my RSS list and many of them don’t show the full posts and for me is very frustrating because I live in Cuba and and my Internet connection is horrible. Every page takes almost a minute to open and I don’t have time to read them all.
Also, THANK YOU for your good articles. I enjoy every one of them.


Jin 03-09-10

@Eddie, thanks! For some articles(long ones) I may customize them more visually, therefore the reading experience is better on the website. But I’ll try my best to make sure they show up decently in RSS too.