Tom Lee has created a nifty little script that converts those annoying partial RSS feeds to full feeds. This has huge potential, not only for blog reading, but even more so for news reading. I am interested in extracting full feeds for the relatively few partial feed blogs that remain on my reading list. I am very interested in extracting full feeds for the various news sources I read.
I tested the script on several partial feeds, and it seemed to work well. If it becomes popular (and, in my opinion, it should), the issue will be bandwidth and scalability.
As Tom points out in his post, RSS simply isn’t respected by old media, or the people who market old media. So there remains this Jurassic belief that you must drag viewers to your web site to serve them ads. I don’t like that, as I count myself among those who want to knock down walls, which is also why I have a hard time with Facebook, MySpace and the Walled Street Journal, among others.
To those who will argue that by extracting a full feed where none is (voluntarily) offered, I am somehow costing them money, I can say only this. I have never clicked on an online banner or text ad that wasn’t on a site I own (and only then to make sure the ad server was doing its thing). Not once. I can’t conceive of a situation in which I would, simply because of my deep aversion to ads that led me to XM and TIVO (and even before that, the mute button). So while using these full feeds may deny someone the ability to toss an ad in my face, it is not costing them any click-throughs. More importantly, any ad that can be served behind the walls of a web site can also be served via RSS. RSS is merely a method of distribution that is more efficient on the back end. It has nothing to do with the content.
I agree with those who believe RSS is the future of online content distribution. It would be the preferred method now, if ad-intoxicated developers and content producers hadn’t created the expectation that all online content is free (i.e., supported by the mythical endless ad dollar). That false start will be corrected over time, and subscription based RSS (subscription as in you pay for it) will become the new print media, the new music store and the new magazine.
Anything that helps push us that direction is a good thing.
And anything that lets me read what I want to read from beyond the walls is a good thing.