Music + Technology + Random Nonsense from the Music Industry by Ethan Kaplan, VP Product, Live Nation

Can I start a movement?

I’d like to start a movement:

Everyone should unsubscribe to any blog or RSS feed source which does not provide a full-text feed for free. I’m sick and tired of being counted as a subscriber when the feed is next to useless. This applies mostly to CNET’s feed, which just triggered this rant.

An RSS feed with one line of text means a few things:

1) You care more about page-views than information dispersal
2) Consequently you are using page views and impressions as a market metric for your advertisers
3) Ergo you have not figured out how to use your feeds as a marketing and advertising tool

This consequently points to the fact that RSS is still this nebulous space metric wise, and FeedBurner is the closest to solving the issue, but we’re not their yet.

Anyhow, single line RSS feeds are ridiculously stupid. All it tells me is that the publisher doesn’t care enough about the reader’s time to provide content agnostic to presentation format. I shouldn’t have to make this post. It should be self evident that your RSS feed should provide a media specified version of your core content product.

It should not be a teaser farm. It shouldn’t be a ploy to gain numbers that are arbitrary and mean nothing. It should be content applied to medium to create relevant media. Its basic McCluhan folks. We’re not reinventing the wheel, just making it roll better.

So here forth:

Everyone should unsusbscribe to feeds which don’t honor the spirit of RSS.
Everyone should thereby unsubscirbe from feeds which do not provide full-text.
Picture 4-1

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45 Responses

  1. done and done.

    i completely agree

  2. Ralph Dagza says:

    I agree but i noticed since i upgraged to wordpress 2.1 when i use the tag it will cut off posts in RSS feeds

  3. Ralph Dagza says:

    oppss the !more tag

  4. D. Lambert says:

    The movement’s already started:

  5. Ironically enough, I just unsubscribed from two partial feeds yesterday, because I was fed-up. I hope the people take note of this, because I do want to read what they have to say, but not by having to click through to each article.

  6. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Your movement is baseless.

    To get a full feed, just use an appropriate scraping service that turns it into a regular RSS feed.

    You have obviously a lot of free time to waste.

  7. Ethan Kaplan says:

    And people also called futurism baseless.

    My movement will overcome.

    You are missing my entire point: I should not HAVE TO USE A SCRAPER.

    And that is that.

  8. [...] I’m not sure if it’s too early to call this a “movement” but Ethan Kaplan from blackrimglasses wants everyone to unsubscribe from RSS feeds that don’t provide the full posts. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now anyway, so I’m unsubscribing from the following feeds: All About Microsoft Ars Technica Digital Photography Review Web Worker Daily ZDNet News Cnet News Tags: Internet Posted by stuart Filed in Internet [...]

  9. Here! Here! Totally agree with this.

  10. eve says:

    Totally agree! I would also like to start a movement to get marketing people to actually learn what an rss feed is. Until they understand it they won’t treat it properly.

  11. Priyan says:

    I agree with you!.

  12. Scott B says:

    Here here! I’m with you on this!

  13. Don’t think I will be joining the movement, though I agree about some publishers not yet realising they can monetize RSS.

    In general, though, RSS has huuuuuge strides to make before it is widely adopted by anyone outside of our own demographic here.

    My classes this week were introductions to the topic and even my students, the MySpace generation, had never heard of it.

    Problem – it’s an acronym. Problem – not enough people do the FeedBurner trick of BrowserFriendly pages. Despite the rise of the orange radar icon, its use is the exception rather than the rule. And not all sites even use RSS. Some of the issues we encountered today.

    So I frame RSS is the general space of personalization, customization and RSS as the best-yet realisation of The Daily Me.

    Final point – one student this morning found that feed’s on Yahoo! properties including Launch would only let you add them to My Yahoo!, not any other readers. Making subscriptions proprietary? That’s not playing fair.

  14. [...] Ethan Kaplan: I’m sick and tired of being counted as a subscriber when the feed is next to useless. [...]

  15. Andy Merrett says:

    “Everyone should unsubscribe to any blog or RSS feed source which does not provide a full-text feed for free.”

    Why are you telling me what I must do? I don’t have a problem with partial feeds, they fit better in my feed reader, I usually only go by the title, anyway, and I always prefer to see the web site of any story I’m writing about.

    Of course, it’s easy to create partial feeds from full, and not vice versa, but I wish you wouldn’t dictate to “everyone” (even though most people who use the net don’t even USE RSS feeds) what they should do.

    Are you just going for Diggs?

  16. Ethan Kaplan says:

    Do you not understand what a “movement” is?

    b. An organized effort by supporters of a common goal: a leader of the labor movement.

    Sample movements:


    I came just short of a manifesto.

  17. Eric says:

    I think it’s necessary to offer a better feed however I would not necessarily believe that it should be indicative that it is a full text feed all the time because even then we run into problems.

    I would look at the feed on this site. In one case you are providing full text versions of your original content. For borrowed content, you are supplying links without any text description of what we are linking to.

    This is where the issue lies. If information is copywritten or protected by the publisher, you would be doing the correct thing in only publishing a link that would direct users back to the original site. However, with this ethical practice in mind many times it is just the link that is being posted and not the original text source which is prohibitive in the RSS Environment and your little “Manifesto”.

    For me, I believe that RSS is still a learning experience and something that as it becomes more mainstream there are more concrete rules for developing a procedure whereby you are informing your readers of the subject material as well as “Enough” content for the reader to make a decision as to whether they want to go on. (i.e. if you want to turn to page 7 to read the rest of this article be my guest).

    Admittedly, for me this is still something that I am working on and trying to perfect from my own sites content. You did bring up some good ideas, however.

    And chances are if someone is posting no description links on RSS feeds they are probably losing readership anyhow.

  18. [...] Ethan Kaplan has an excellent idea with his Can I Start a Movement? post, asking people to unsubscribe from non-full text feeds.  This is something that I’ve gone over before, mentioning that I won’t subscribe to any feed that is only partial-text.  At least not intentionally.  I found one that I was subscribed to one feed that hadn’t been updated in awhile that wasn’t full-text.  Note the use of the word ‘was’ back there.  It’s gone from my feed reader. [...]

  19. Chris says:

    Hear Hear.

    Well said that man. Count me in.

  20. frum yid says:

    I agree with you 100% I just wrote something on my blog the other day about this. I started A Jewish news service that aggregates RSS feeds from various sources. About 95% of all feeds on Jewish news is partial feeds. I”m going to stop aggregated their content anymore as they are only providing the headlines. There is one site whose RSS feed doesn’t even link to the article itself, but rather to the site itself where you have to find the article.

  21. [...] Update: The next day I cam across this blog from my RSS reader, which happened to be a full feed, which happened to picque my interest more than a partial feed would, which I”m sharing with you. Wow that was a long sentence! Anyways here is a great blog that tells why partial feeds suck [...]

  22. [...] » Blog Archive » Can I start a movement? Amen. I will not subscribe to a feed which does not provide full content. [...]

  23. [...] Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Other Uses ForMicrowaves [...]

  24. Ben says:

    And thus started “Ethan’s Movement.” I’m on board.

  25. [...] I’m with Ethan from Black Rim Glasses on this one. [...]

  26. [...] I can definitely see the point here regarding sites having partial or just title’s in their RSS feeds. CNN is famous for this. Basically one line feeds are a pain in the ass because the title and one line doesn’t say much. However I do feel that several sentences are fine for myself. It captures enough of the post in the RSS and I can decide if it’s something I want to read by going to the site. I owe the author that much. [...]

  27. [...] Movements suck when they effect you because you then have to get up off your but and do something. Ethan started a movement to publish the full content in your feed. So I had to go and make sure mine was on full feed, and it was, so I am safe… but I still had the check! Geeze, what I do for blogging [...]

  28. nick says:

    Done and done!

  29. Xavier says:

    Agreed for blogs, not for news site. Being a journalist, I need to scan the published entries, and believe me, having to scroll through fulltext – or even worse, in the case of InfoWorld, the fill page itself, ads and all – is quickly getting tiring when do this more than once a day, on even only a dozen of sources.

  30. Nathan Smith says:

    Preach it! I agree completely. The same could be said for feeds with large banner ads in them.

  31. Ched says:

    Hearty Agreement.

  32. [...] I hope it’s not too late to join this movement launched by Ethan Kaplan of BlackRimGlasses. Ethan writes, “Everyone should unsubscribe to any blog or RSS feed source which does not provide a full-text feed for free. I’m sick and tired of being counted as a subscriber when the feed is next to useless.” I agree, 100%. Done & done. It’s better late than never, right? Thanks to Ben too, for spreading the good news. [...]

  33. I’ve done it. I wrote about the same thing a few years back, I think that if a company wants to loose readers that actually care, they will public half-feeds.

    I’ll post about your movement in a bit. :-D

  34. Eric Gideon says:

    I agree – this is something I went through and did a little while ago. There’s enough of a content overload these days without getting nothing for your time.

  35. Dennis says:

    Just noticed that my home page needed correcting. Cheers, Dan.

  36. Nathan Logan says:

    Count me out. For several reasons. But a few of the easy ones:

    – In some contexts, monetizing feeds is much more difficult than monetizing the originating site (particularly when dealing with local, technologically-timid advertisers, as newspaper/traditional media advertisers often are).

    – I’ll leave it to the RSS spec ( to tell me about “the spirit of RSS”. And what does it have to say? I quote, “An item may represent a ‘story’ — much like a story in a newspaper or magazine; if so its description is a synopsis of the story, and the link points to the full story. An item may also be complete in itself, if so, the description contains the text (entity-encoded HTML is allowed; see examples), and the link and title may be omitted. All elements of an item are optional, however at least one of title or description must be present.” So it’s either/or. And technically, if you want to talk about the “spirit” of it, “description” sounds a lot more like a summary than the full text.

    – I think the producer of the content should be able to dictate the context in which his/her content is ingested.

    – Smart words from smart people are more important to me than holding to a silly, unfounded “movement”.

    But I do agree with you in that it’s nice to have the option of a full feed for my aggregator.

  37. [...] My last movement didn’t seem to work all that well, sadly. Sites like ArsTechnica still don’t provide full feeds (why, by the way?). However, I need to start another movement: [...]

  38. [...] bloggers. Though truncated feeds do reduce content theft, they also annoy legitimate users and have a very vocal opposition. Worse yet, the technology already exists to scrape content from the site itself so the content [...]

  39. Helga says:

    Hi our little brothers.

  40. Helga says:

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