We’ll Be Trying Partial Feeds for Two Weeks

We'll Be Trying Partial Feeds for Two Weeks

Hey all, I wanted to give you a heads up that we are going to be experimenting with partial feeds for two weeks. Obviously if you usually come to the Gear Diary site to read our articles, you won’t notice anything different. Those who read us on RSS will notice a “(read more here…)”  tag at the bottom the now truncated posts.

I don’t particularly like partial feeds, but I need to see if using them takes care of  some of the anomalies that I’ve been noticing.

Thank you for your patience while we try to figure this out, and if you want to give me pros or cons for either partial or full feeds, please feel free to post a comment.  =)

 

About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-confessed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area ... or not.
  • Blog Reader

    I dislike partial feeds.  I usually read my feeds via Reeder on the iPhone (while on the subway) .  So I probably won’t bother coming to the site to read the rest of the article.  (And don’t you already have ads embedded in the feeds.

    • I dislike them, too. I am sorry that you won’t be sticking around. And for the record, this has nothing to do with ads, and everything to do with Google analytics and site ranking.

  • Nate

    What anomalies are you seeing with the RSS feeds?

    • Nate, we started offering full feeds about a year ago. In that time our RSS readership grew quite a bit, and our site readership dropped a bit — which I expected, but not the degrees that either happened. At the same time we have had a huge issue with site scrapers and unauthorized reposts. I’ve turned a blind eye to them for a long time, but after continuously seeing the scraping sites rank more highly than Gear Diary, I can’t help but think that we are being penalized by Google when our full articles are appearing elsewhere. 

      As I said, this is meant to be a two week experiment in order to see if there are any noticeable differences. I needed this to be a long enough period that I could gather data, but no too long if it wasn’t going to make a difference. If there aren’t any noticeable changes in what I am seeing, then I will likely suck it up and go back to full feeds. If there are noticeable differences, then I am going to have to figure out how to make it all work. 

      • Nate

        You know, you’re the 4th person to tell me about being outranked by scrapers. I’m not sure how that could happen but clearly it’s a problem.

        I also don’t understand the people leaving in a huff. I may not click through on partial feeds but I also don’t abandon them. Sometimes there’s a post worth clicking through to read (rarely).

  • Hi Judie.. Hoping that you’ll get this sorted out. I noticed something was different when I was reading this morning (via Reeder on my iDevices and via Google Reader). I’m not a fan of partial feeds at all, but certainly understand that you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. I certainly will continue to read nonetheless. 

    • Thanks, Arty. I appreciate your support. I hope that we can figure out a way to resolve this and get the full feeds back. 

  • Anonymous

    I detest partial feeds and you almost lost my readership before you switched to full feeds.  I tried to follow but as much of my reading is done in two computer environments that staying in the Google Reader nearly makes it a requirement.

    Tangent thought that may relate:  It seems ironic that Google Reader does not allow an “ignore” feature.  Google thinks I read every one of the thousands of foxnews feeds that came in when I only read a few and click “mark all as read” to clear out the list.  While I read at least half of Gear Diary, your volume of feeds is significantly less. They think I read more from fox than geardiary. If they would allow “read” and “ignore” then incorporate that into their analytics it would make so much more sense.

    • Steven, I totally understand and as I said — I prefer full feeds, too. I do the same “click all as read” trick, because many times I see “1000+” in my RSS and it makes me feel a combination of guilt/weariness because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I agree that there needs to be a better way to properly analyze feed presence and read items. I just don’t know yet what the answer is. Anyway, I hate to see you go, but I totally understand your situation might make it so that you won’t be keeping up with us any more.

    • Nate

      I’m not sure that “mark all as read” button actually counts as having read the posts.

      I’ve been watching stats for my feeds distributed via Feedburner. It tracks both the read count as well as the click through rate (people who come from my RSS feed to my site). if that button counted as reading a post then I would see a read count that matched my subscriber base. I don’t. The read count is always lower than my subcriber count.

  • I only read this site (and a lot of others), in my RSS reader for several reasons.
    1) I don’t have the time to jump around from one site to another. I want my news sorted, sliced, diced and categorised how I want. So I can see the important stuff first and catch up on the rest later.
    2) I can read what I want when I want, regardless of platform (desktop, netbook or phone). And because my RSS reader runs in the background pulling down content I don’t even need to be connected when I am reading.
    3) I don’t get my bandwidth chewed up quite so much by ads and other cruft.

    Partial feeds fail on all three counts. So I don’t subscribe to sites that have them. Period.
    And the chances of me coming back in a fortnight to see whether full feeds have been restored or not is pretty slim.

    Setting the feeds to partial is not the way to deal with scrapers and the other problems. It’s just going to cost you even more readers.
    Publishers who think they can dictate how their target audience reads content are living in the past. You only have to look at what’s happened to traditional print media to see what happens when consumers decide that there are alternatives.

    I’ve yet to find a site that is so compelling that I’m prepared to put up with partial feeds. Don’t say you weren’t warned if you see your readership figures fall off a cliff when you make the switch.

    Steve

    • Thank you for your input, Steve. 

    • Anonymous

      Steve- it isn’t a switch, it is a temporary change. Thanks for your patience.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Dan

        You missed this sentence in my original post.

        > And the chances of me coming back in a fortnight to see whether full feeds have been restored or not is pretty slim.
        If you go to partial feeds then I unsubscribe.
        I’m not then going to make a note in my diary to check back some time later to see if the full feeds are back or not.
        Once I’m gone I’m gone. And the chances of me returning are next to nada. There are, after all, a lot of sources of news out there.

        • Anonymous

          Steve, I didn’t miss your point at all. You
          missed mine.

          Written with Siri

          • Which point do you think I’ve missed?

            That it’s a “temporary change”?

            I think I’ve already explained (twice) that that temporary change is likely to cost you readers. Permanently.

            Lets draw a parallel example to see if you get it.

            Here in London two major newspapers changed their feeds to make it harder for people to read them. Many others didn’t. We’re quite fortunate that we have a breadth of publishers to choose from.

            Guess which ones I read. And which ones I don’t.

            Your problem is that you don’t have a USP. Just as we have a huge spread of choice in England, I’ve got an enormous selection of gear / tech sites to graze.

            It costs me less to delete you and substitue another feed than it does to follow links on partial feeds.

            And are you really, really sure that the scrapers are lifting your RSS feeds rather than your web pages???

            Because if your pages are being scraped you are just about to create a situation where it might actually be easier to read your content via a scraper than via your official RSS feed. Now that’s really clever. Not.

            • Steve, I am really, really sure that they are scraping our full feeds. I didn’t make this decision lightly, and we get it: you are not happy, and you are gone. Sorry for the hassle, and there is honestly no need for you to reply.

              • > and there is honestly no need for you to reply

                If you don’t want to engage with your readers then there’s not much more to say.

                • I was going to be a bit sarcastic and say “What is the difference between rude people and cdl creative? Rude people leave without saying goodbye. cdl creative says goodbye and doesn’t leave.” But I won’t. 
                  Instead I’ll say this- Judie made it clear that we needed to make a two week change to see and check some things. You wrote that you were leaving and not coming back. At that point you indicated you were no longer reading the site. We are always happy to engage with readers who have questions, comments, suggestions but we don’t appreciate threats and really do not understand the lack of patience as we try to figure something that is problematic out. Others don’t like partial feeds but they get the need for us to try to fix this. We don’t like them either. 

                  This will be my last reply to you because your idea of “engage” seems to be fight, argue and threaten. 

                  All the best and buh buh.

  • Inksim

    With partial feeds, GearDiary doesn’t look like GearDiary. Hope you figure out the problem and go back to the full feed. Thanks. 

    • I totally agree. We are going to try to get this worked out as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

  • Madison

    I’m more of a full feed person so I can scan the article and see if I’m interested, but I’ll still come to the Gear Diary.  I’m hooked and too far gone to stop now. 😀

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Madison! We really appreciate the support and the understanding.
      Written with Siri

  • I’m love Gear Diary’s full feeds. I hope you get it figured out. But I’ve developed enough of a ‘habit/need’ for GearDiary I’ll be sticking with you.
    I wish I had the skills to do what others have described above track rss feed readership. Not just marking as read or subscribing but actuall reading. Tha would really add to ones clout.

    • Thank you, Rodney. =)

      I think I have got the feeds prettied up to where even though they are truncated, they still have some GD flavor while this experiment is taking place. 

      I couldn’t stand how there were no pictures and the feed looked all prison-cell gray! Anyway, I hope the adjustments I made will help make this less painful for all of all of us while I gather data. 

  • Joe O

    Another voice hoping for full feeds again soon.  

    I love GearDiary though (been reading since Judie started it after leaving the-gadgeteer, which I also still read, and have read for about a decade now), and you gotta do what you gotta do.  Hope you get it sorted out!  Either way, thanks for all the great content GD team!  😀