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What are the Ethics of using RSS feeds?

I’ve been watching a site for a while now that both intrigues and concerns me – again because it is using the content of a blogs for its own personal gain – without asking permission from the publishers concerned. I’ve been wondering how to respond to this site and am yet to go to them directly to raise my concerns and would like your opinion here first.

The site is Gadgets99. They promote themselves as a source for gadget news and are basically a site that tracks a collection of technology blogs via their RSS feeds. They collate these feeds by category and by blog. It is a handy service I’ll admit (hence it intriguing me), however it does concern me also as the site is of a commercial nature and is using the content of bloggers to generate an income without their permission.

I know this because they track one of my blogs without having ever contacting me. They also use the RSS feeds of some other more prominent sites like Gizmodo, I4U and Bios Magazine.

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RSS Feeds: Full posts or extracts?

Another tip from Leave It Behind’s Building a Better Blog is to ‘Syndicate your Entire Post‘. Brian writes:

‘Again, in the never-ending effort to ensure happy readers, be sure to syndicate (i.e. send) your entire post through RSS. I follow over 75 weblogs (which is probably a low number on average). With the amount of time it takes to keep up with the constant stream of information, it is a great benefit to be able to read each post in its entirety without a separate trip to the browser. I know it is especially tempting for businesses to try to drive traffic to their site by forcing readers to visit the website in order to read the full article, but inevitably I end up unsubscribing from those sources instead.’

I thought this would make an interesting discussion. what are the benefits and costs of syndicating full posts? Do you?

Whilst Brian gets frustrated with only excerpts making it to RSS feeds I actually get frustrated with full posts. I use Bloglines and like to be able to see as many headings and excerpts on a page as possible. I track over 300 feeds and find myself skimming over and even removing feeds that are too long. I guess it depends how long your articles are – but is there a risk in frustrating your readers by publishing full posts in your RSS feed?

Are there other possible costs/risks in publishing your full RSS feed? Here are a few that come to mind:

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Rhythmic Blogging

There is a good collection of blogging tips over at Leave It Behind’s Building a Better Blog with a few tips that I’ve not seen on too many other similar lists. I like this one:

3. Publish During High Traffic Times



If one of your desires is to generate traffic, try to publish during high traffic hours. Many people scan weblogs.com and other services (including TypePad and many TypePad member sites) for recently updated weblogs. Also, publishing during prime waking/working hours will give other writers time to comment, link, or respond to your post. A brilliant post in the middle-of-the-night will often get buried by the morning rush of fresh content.

I’ve found this to be true also – especially in the last 6 months with the rise of RSS feeds for some reason. There are periods of the day that I notice seem to bring a flood of traffic and posting in the middle of them can be very beneficial. It is a matter of being aware of the natural rhythms of your blog and exploiting them for your own benefit.

However having said that – its also important not to flood your blog with traffic all at once because you risk burying your posts in one another. I know sometimes I get on a roll and could easily post 5 or 6 posts within 5 minutes of one another to the same blog. In such instances I generally save half of them as drafts and slowly release them every few hours – a nice constant rhythm of posting should give your blog every chance of a nice constant influx of readers throughout the day.

Choosing Complimentary Colors for your Blog – ColorMatch Tool

Color-Match

Have you ever struggled to select a color scheme for a blog? It’s pretty obviously looking at the disaster that I’ve designed here that I do!

So this ColorMatch tool is going to be very handy!

It is designed to help you select a 6 color palette for your blog. All you have to do is select a main color that you like using the slider and it will do the rest and come up with 5 complimentary colors. What could be easier?

Update: Michael from Figby has just posted a comprehensive list of these sorts of color matching tools for the design impaired. There are 14 in total – quality stuff!

Understanding Adsense Statistics

There is a good post over at Webmaster world titled A few notes on Adsense stats where one user of Adsense writes some definitions of terms used in and lessons learned interpreting Adsense statistics. It won’t be much use to long term Adsense users but might be helpful in discerning what you’re looking at for Adsense Newbies.

Chitika Contextual Advertising Launched

Chitika Tptp

It seems that there is yet another contextual advertising system being launched that is specifically targetted at bloggers. It is called Chitika and promises to motetize your blogs and your feeds using contextual ads. They offer all the main formats of ads and seem pretty sstandard in terms of design and layout. They pay publishers 30% of any revenue raised from a click on the ads. This sounds low but there is no real way of comparing it to Adsense who does not publish the percentage that they pay out.

It looks quite similar to Crisp Ads – neither of which I can really test without removing the Adsense program from my blogs (Adsense forbids you using any other contextual advertising on your blog concurrently with it).

As always – I’m keen to hear your opinion on this ad program – write us a review and we’ll publish it with plenty of links back to your own site.

InsideBlogging – The Blog Consulting Company

Leave it Behind has 10 useful tips for building a better blog. Here are the titles of each section:

1. Use Categories

2. Use Titles

3. Publish During High Traffic Times

4. Syndicate Your Entire Post

5. Click Your Own Links

6. Develop an Authentic Voice

7. Tell Us Who You Are and How to Contact You

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Promote

9. Comment on Other Sites and Your Own

10. The More You Write, the More You’ll Have to Write Write About

Found via Inside Blogging

Bloglines Revenue Models – A fine line to walk

I missed this snippet of a post by Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher late last year where he talks about the business model (income stream) for Bloglines in the future:

‘Eric was interested in the business model behind Bloglines. Not accepting my usual stock answer of “Volume!”, I detailed that we will integrating highly targetted contextual advertising into Bloglines next year, or “Adwords on Steroids” as Eric puts it (I like that description!). To reiterate what I told Eric, when we do start to roll out advertising, we will be very sensitive to user feedback, and we will be looking to our users to help guide us in this area.’

It will be very interesting to watch the rollout of such a system of ads for a number of reasons. Firstly I’ll be fascinated to see how their users (RSS subscribers) react to seeing ads appearing in or around their RSS feeds.

But secondly I’ll be interested to see how publishers react to it.

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Blogger traffic soars due to tsunami

‘Traffic to Blogger.com leaped 73 percent (to 1.3 million unique visitors) in the week after the tsunami hit Asia, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. ‘

Read more at CyberJournalist.net: Blogger traffic soars due to tsunami

Depression News Blog Launched

I’m really pleased to announce a new blogging project that I’ve been working on for the past few days – Depression News - a blog that will report the latest news and information about the symptoms and treatment of Depression. It is still in beta but is at a stage where I’m happy for people to start to use it.

Over the past 10 years in my work I have encountered many people who suffer from depression and have always had an interest in seeing them reach their potential in terms of health. In more recent years I have had more personal confrontations with depression and have always kept an eye on the latest news on treatment and studies into it. I am also passionate about advocating on behalf of those who suffer from depression or mental illness.

It seemed natural to extend this personal interest in the topic into a blog where others could benefit from my own research.

I have felt a growing urge within me in recent months to look for ways to extend my blogging in a direction where it not only is about making me money or satisfying the consumeristic urges of my readers to have the latest gadget – Depression News is one of the responses that I’m making and is an project that I hope to repeat many times over in the future as I develop my blogging.

Depression News is being hosted with the Breaking News Blog collective and uses Word Press as its backbone. I am funding it (and hoping to raise a few dollars for a local mental health charity) using Google’s Adsense and Amazon Affiliateship at present but am also open to other forms of sponsorship. The design is based upon one from Cre8d design but tweaked quite a bit in CSS by me.

I hope that you or someone that you know finds it a helpful resource. I’m open to it becoming a group blog if others wish to join in with some posting. Just let me know. Your comments suggestions on design and features are also welcome in comments below or via email.