Duncan Riley> Microsoft uber-blogger Robert Scoble, who I’ve always considered to be good bloke, has posted that he’ll stop reading blogs (more precisely their feeds) if they don’t offer full text feeds. Turboblogger has a bit more coverage on this, but I’d like to add my two-bobs worth.
I think the decision by Scoble is disappointing and discriminates against the average blogger. And yes, if I was on his list for the Blog Herald, it looks like I’m about to get kicked off because I too have resorted to partial text feeds.
Firstly you need to consider that most bloggers don’t get paid to blog by a third party like Scoble does (with Microsoft), and therefore rely on advertising on their blogs to sustain their activities. Sure, a lot of very good bloggers blog for love, and that’s an important thing, but I also know a lot of good stuff that has been created and achieved through the moneterization of blogs. Personally if I didn’t make 1 cent from The Blog Herald I’d keep on blogging anyway because I love what I do, and I love sharing the news of the blogosphere, and even helping people on occasion as well. However the revenue the site brings in means I can dedicate more time to The Blog Herald and less time to other projects that bring in money. In economics terms it’s basic opportunity costs theory. I know of many others in a similar position, who blog for the love of it, but create more because of the revenue blogging brings in, because the opportunity cost of actually blogging no longer takes away from other opportunities as it may have once done.
2. RSS advertising is not proven, moneterizing RSS feeds is still not universally acceptable to everyone, and nor is it universally available. Since I dropped full feeds, clickthrus from Bloglines subscriptions has rocketed from around position 20 on the referral stats to the No 1 position. These are readers who are viewing ads, leaving comments and helping the over all prosperity of this blog.
3. Scrappers. Its a battle that the average blogger has neither the ability to, nor the resources in which to fight effectively. If somebody started scrapping Scoble’s site he’s got the might of Microsoft to threaten legal action against the person or persons missuing his content. The simple reality is that the rest of us don’t. In the past 6 months I’ve sent nasty emails to 3 sites that were scapping the previously full feed offered here, with no success, and I know of others that are as well. At the end of the day people are stealing content, and the only way for the average blogger, who doesn’t rely on an employer, to deal with this is to limit their feeds to extracts.
By all means if Scoble can suggest an alternative course of action on any of these points, I’d consider it, but this is the reality for many bloggers. If Scoble persues his dumping of non-full feeds then the net result will be a more limited, and less diverse view of the blogosphere and the world in Scobles Bloglines account, and ultimately the only person who may be worse off for this is Scoble himself.