To my extreme satisfaction, The Guardian newspaper has become the first in the world to offer full text RSS feeds, representing a significant step in the evolution of the World Wide Web. This step should be a paradigm shift of sorts; the first domino to fall; and hopefully more newspapers will follow suit.
Full text feeds have been shyed away from because they offer much less in advertising revenue than on-page ads. Offering a summary instead forces readers to click-though from their feed reader to the full article.
This is a good example of where the user experience has been sacrificed for the sake of advertising revenue. Instead of directly giving the user what they want, the newspapers force a path to benefit themselves. Ultimately, this will only lead to dis-satisfaction and abandonment.
The Guardian, in opening up their RSS feeds, has invited much more user engagement. Users will be more likely to read the news articles and therefore much more likely to share and re-distribute over the social web. The Guardian will gain more exposure for it’s stories than before, giving a significant advantage over the competition.
Hopefully now other newspapers will follow the example, and deliver content in a way that remains true to the spirit of the open web.
Via the Google Reader blog with hat tips to Mashable and ReadWriteWeb.
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