Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Free full-text feeds increased feed subscribers and ad revenue

John Blossom, Full-Text Feeds Paying Off: Moving Beyond Fear to Profits, Content Blogger, December 11, 2006.  Excerpt:

Digital Inspiration notes the impact that full-text feeds have had on their operations. According to their analysis a conversion from feeding partial excerpts of an article to subscribers via their RSS feed resulted in a 20 percent increase in RSS subscribers in only a month. Moreover revenues from ads on their Web site appear to have increased several times over from their previous months' income, though the graph provided does not give scaling to determine just how much more. DI also notes an increase in engagement from readers with more comments in weblogs.

This is but one relatively small weblog's experience, but the threats and fears that they note - loss of site visits and exposure to sites stealing full-text content - are the same as most publishers might have in exposing their content to full-feed distribution. As noted in our earlier News Analysis on feeds the need to embrace feeds is only increasing. Feeds are not perfect - they are still too crude in most instances to provide the full value of a Web site's content - but if publishers focus on providing more value in their feeds they will be standing out from the crowd in a unique way that can build both traffic and loyalty.

More quantified research is needed to look at all of the various aspects that go into successful feed campaigns - sponsors, anyone? - but in the meantime the evidence to date seems to indicate that robust feeds that serve an audience well are going to be money-making endeavors that serve the long-term and short-term goals of publishers quite well.

CommentDigital Inspiration, which ran this experiment, is an OA blog.  Because it didn't charge subscriptions, it didn't fear the loss of paying subscribers.  It feared reduced click-throughs for the ads on its web site and increased plagiarism.  Those are the fears it laid to rest.