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Full Text vs Partial RSS Feeds Debate is Over Now

The never ending Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds debate is back and the new round has gone completely in favor of full feeds, again.

This round is significant because it originates from FeedBurner, a company that manages feeds and tracks clickthrough rates of millions of feed items.

It's a common perception that partial content will increase clickthrough rate [read pageviews] because the RSS feed subscriber will visit the publisher's site in order to read full content.

That's such a misnomer. Rick Klau of FeedBurner say that "that they seen no evidence that excerpts [partial feeds] on their own drive higher clickthroughs." This statement itself effectively ends the debate forever.

Rick gives two other solids reasons in favor of full content feeds which are quoted verbatim:

As people subscribe to feeds, they subscribe to more feeds. And that means they're consuming more content, which means that each click out of the feed reader is taking the reader away from more content. In other words, feed reading is consumption-oriented, not transactionally focused.

Clicking through to read a copy of the post they just read is unlikely to drive a lot of click activity. But clicking through to read the comments will. Bookmarking the post at will drive further activity, as will voting for the post at Digg. In other words, adding opportunities for the readers to do things other than just read a copy of the post goes a long way to increasing the probability that the readers will actually do something.