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What's "Exclusive" About the Freakonomics Blog in New York Times?

FreakonomicsI just read this announcement about how the Freakonomics blog will now appear "exclusively" on The New York Times website.  And then I read it again.  I'm still not sure I get the significance of it.

First of all, I guess it's a good thing that a major newspaper is acknowledging the blogopshere like this.  Then again, what they're really doing is tapping into the value of the Freakonomics book/brand and bringing those authors on board as columnists, right?  There's nothing wrong with that, of course.

Next, how "exclusive" is anything in the world of RSS?  The announcement makes it quite clear that the Freakonomics blog will remain outside the subscription-based area of the Times site, which is a good thing.  As long as I can grab the feed in my RSS reader I don't care who published it or whether it's "exclusive".  If appearing in the Times makes the blog more discoverable by readers who aren't familiar with the book, well, that's a good thing too.

But what really irks me though is the way the blog is handling the RSS feed.  I can't stand blogs that don't offer full content RSS feeds.  If you're only publishing a headline or teaser and expect me to come to your site, forget it.  Life's too short to keep up on all my RSS feeds and try to visit your site along the way.

Yeah, I know that's the only way to get the eyeballs and the traffic that can be subsequently monetized, but I'm not going for it.  Go ahead and dump ads into your RSS feeds.  I'll see 'em, but I won't be clicking through back to your website -- not when I have a couple hundred other feeds to keep up with!

Comments

Jon

Agreed. I've read the Freako blog for a long time through RSS. I saw the changes they made today and shook my head. Perhaps they'll change their minds on this. A lot of the comments on the site are complaining of the partial feeds.

Eoin Purcell

Joe,

I have to say I missed the feed issue in thinking on this but it is a huge issue.

You have to wonder though why the publisher of the book is not gripping much more tightly to the community that the two steph(v)en's have built around their book. Surely this was a golden opportunity to build on an already functioning online community?

Eoin

Morgan Ramsay
But what really irks me though is the way the blog is handling the RSS feed. I can't stand blogs that don't offer full content RSS feeds. If you're only publishing a headline or teaser and expect me to come to your site, forget it. Life's too short to keep up on all my RSS feeds and try to visit your site along the way.

What about websites, which provide a blog among other features, that don't have full-text feeds? For example, the PRSA website offers lots of information, and then feeds for what amounts to their blogs. If users are only reading those feeds, then they'll be missing out on the other information, right?

I think BusinessWire and PRNewswire are the worst offenders of convenient feed practices. BusinessWire feeds provide tiny, tiny excerpts. PRNewswire feeds provide only headlines. Both strongly rejected my requests for full-text and localized feeds (out of laziness, I suspect.)

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