One of the nice things about all this “Web 2.0” stuff is that we get some new problems to solve.
Let me outline a problem that’s been bugging me for a while now that was brought top-of-mind by “the launch of Google Blog Search”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/09/14/google-blog-search-now-live a few weeks ago. I’ve also got a possible solution I want to put out there for feedback.
Here’s *the situation*:
# Ad-supported sites rely on people seeing the ads on their site. That’s how they make money. That’s good.
# Feeds allow ad-supported sites to notify past readers (subscribers) that there is new stuff at the site to see (along with the ads that support the content). That’s good.
# If an ad-supported site publishes a full feed with all the content, ad-free, they don’t make any money. That’s not good.
# If you put the ads in the full feed it kills much of the value of the feed to the subscriber and becomes very hard to measure. That’s not good.
# So a partial feed (while not the preferred choice of subscribers) is the logical compromise. Subscribers are notified of new relevant posts and can easily click-through to see the ad-supported content. A compromise, but a good thing.
And here’s *the problem* with that situation:
# Feeds (through ping services) also act as _notifiers for aggregators and search services_. Because this makes it possible for prospective readers to find a publisher’s content, this is good.
# But a new class of services _only_ looks at what is in the feed to assess the content. So anything not mentioned in an ad-supported site’s feed is not crawled and therefore not searchable by users. For both publisher and reader, this is a bad thing.
# The problem is made worse by the fact that one of the best new services, “PubSub”:http://www.pubsub.com/ only reads feeds, not the full related posts. That’s bad.
# But what is *really bad* is that “Google Blog Search”:http://blogsearch.google.com/ is only crawling feed content, not the original posts.
So the essential problem we’re faced with is you need to produce a full feed so that people who might be interested in your content can find you when using ping-centric search tools. But producing a full feed means that regular readers can avoid ads on your site by viewing your content only in their feed reader.
And finally, *my suggested solution*:
# Create a *”Public Partial Feed”* that is easily available and conspicuous on your site. Make it so that auto-discovery can find this feed.
# Make a *”Ping-friendly Hidden Full Feed”* that is hard to find unintentionally and have that feed sent to ping-centric search tools.
Is anyone doing this? Are there any issues I’ve missed in using this approach?