LinkStuff – Short RSS Feeds and Emails Edition

by Mike Holman

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I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  I don’t think the weather can get any better than that.  We were in Northern Ontario and I took my kids swimming at the beach.

If you read this blog through an RSS reader or via email, you’ll notice that you have to click through to the site to read the entire article.  I made this change as a result of all the “scraper sites” which are sites that copy articles from various blog feeds and post them on a different site. It’s not clear exactly how Google treats this duplicate content, so to be on the safe side I’m going to try to eliminate the problem altogether.

Parry Sound

On with the posts

Early Retirement Extreme has a interesting and funny post explaining how he lives on $7,000 per year.

Paula from Afford Anything had a great post called Stop crying that there are no jobs and create one.  Love it!

Squawkfox has a delightfully scary recipe for Halloween monster meat heads.

Larry MacDonald talks about the welfare state and the debt supercycle.

Michael James has an interesting way of evaluating financial goals.

The Oblivious Investor answers the question it is ok to sell low when fixing a broken portfolio?

My Own Advisor has a bunch of reasons for investing in dividend stocks.

Echo wrote is comparing his spending to his financial goals.

Canadian Capitalist says that current stock volatility is normal.

Carnivals

A few additional links

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 My Own Advisor

Thanks for the mention Mike. Great picture!

I hate “scraper sites”, I’ve been fighting a few lately.

2 Echo

Going to the beach and swimming in mid-October sounds pretty good to me.

We’re off to Banff this weekend, first trip without our daughter. In-laws are great sometimes ;)

Thanks for the mention!

3 Michael James

What’s the best way to check for scrapers? Every so often I throw some text in one of my posts into google to see what comes up.

4 Canadian Capitalist

I have to say that short RSS feeds suck. I find that I read a lot fewer articles if I have to click through. But I do understand your concerns about scrapers. Count me as confused on this one.

5 Mike Holman

@MOA – Thanks.

@Echo – Good luck in Banff. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suits. :)

@MJ – I’m not sure. I can see from the pingbacks.

@CC – I hate short RSS feeds as well. It definitely reduces the likelyhood of me reading an article or even of subscribing to a blog.

6 jeremy

Just letting you know that your feed is being dropped from my RSS reader.

I appreciate that you’re battling scraper sites but punishing your readers is a bad way to do it.

7 Mike Holman

Jeremy, if a single mouse click is too high a price to read my free articles, they obviously don’t have any value for you and you will be better off not wasting your time reading them.

8 Alex C

I also dislike short RSS feeds but that is because I cache blog posts on my iPad to read on the bus. Sadly I can’t click through without Internet access. I don’t blame you though, you work hard on a great blog, don’t want that being stolen.

9 Jeremy

Mike: I’m sorry you feel that way, but like Alex C, I read my news on the train in an offline RSS reader. I’ve got about 50 feeds, 8 of which are personal finance. Your change will make it a lot less likely that I’ll see any of your articles. Additionally, I doubt it will do anything to stop your problem with scraping since they’ll add one more line to their script to work around it.

So, no trouble for them, but lots for your readers.

If monetization is the issue for you, then try embedding ads in your RSS feed.

Hope you were just having a rough day yesterday, because another response like the one you gave is enough to make me regret buying your book (and no longer recommend it to others).

10 Michael James

@Jeremy: Of course you’re entitled to your opinion about RRS feeds, but I don’t see why this should have a bearing on recommending Mike’s book. Maybe I’m unusual, but I recommend books based on their contents and not whether I like the author on a personal level. For example, I think Taleb has an important message about major events being more likely than they seem even though I strongly dislike some aspects of his personal style.

11 Jeremy

Michael James : it’s because buying and recommending books is a form of financial support. As I said, I hope Mike was just having a bad day, but if it keeps up then he’s being a jerk (please don’t turn out to be a jerk, Mike) and I don’t financially support jerks.

12 Michael James

@Jeremy: Does this mean that if you recommend a book to me, I should assume you wish to financially support the author, that you don’t care much about the book’s quality, and you don’t care much whether the book is useful to me?

13 jeremy

Michael James: if I recommend a book it means that I find value in its content and that it’s author should be supported.

Getting back to personal finance, I don’t invest in companies that are harmful just to make a Buck though I know others do. For example, it doesn’t matter how profitable it is to invest in a company like Monsanto, I’ll never do it.

In a capitalist society we vote with our dollars and get more of the stuff we vote for.

Jerks (companies or individuals) are something I want less of.

14 Mike Holman

Jeremy – I wasn’t trying to be a jerk with my response, I was just answering your point about “punishing the readers”, by pointing out that one click is not a big deal to read a post.

However, I wasn’t aware that some people load up their RSS reader or email or whatever at home and then read it on the road where they don’t have internet until Alex pointed it out. A short feed will eliminate that possibility, which definitely is a problem

I’m not sure if there is a good solution for that. One possibility is that I can have an app made that would allow people to preload the posts (in their entirety) and then read them offline. This would involve the reader starting a separate application (in addition to their RSS reader or email) which might mean that not many people would bother. Please let me know your opinion on that option.

Regarding the scraping – I’ve talked with a number of other bloggers who made the same move and they say it was effective in terms of reducing the scraping. I suspect if all blogs had short feeds, the scrapers would add that extra line, but for now they don’t seem to be doing that.

As for monetization, the RSS feed is pretty useless for that – most of the $$ for this blog comes from search engine visitors.

Thanks for commenting and letting me know of your concerns.

15 larry macdonald

Thanks for the link!

16 Alex C

With the short RSS feed issue I just have to remember to check your site out every day or so. It means I might miss a few posts but seeing as so far yours is the only feed of my regulars that does the shortened format it isn’t an issue. Not too sure if I would use an app or not. If more and more people move to the shortened format they might alter apps to click through and cache the full post. Unfortunately it is the middle transition period that causes the most difficulty.

Again as I said I don’t fault you for this move. I can see scraper sites being a huge issue and I understand your need to protect your property.

17 Peter Scholtens

Sorry, but not feeding the entire article is going to make it a lot less likely that I read your blog.

18 Allan J

Hello Mike,

Sorry to say, but I’m going to stop reading your blog due to the shortened feeds. Unfortunately when I open a link via blackberry it’s hit and miss whether it will open and when it does it’s very difficult to read.

Thanks

19 Canadian Dream

Mike,

I’ll join the others saying I personally hate short RSS feeds. I typically find I’m much less likely to read an article unless it has a really good headline. So while I won’t be pulling you from my RRS reader yet, I will warn you that I know I will be reading less of your content because of it.

It’s not to say I’m punishing you for the choice, but with easily over 100+ items per day in my reader account I just don’t have that five second window to wait for a post to load to just read it (unless as I pointed out the headline is really good).

Best of luck on everything regardless of your choice. I’ve always enjoyed your blog.

Tim

20 Allan J

Hi Guys,

Just use this url in your RSS readers and you’ll be able to get the full RSS feed regardless of what Mike does:

http://fulltextrssfeed.com/feed.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffeeds.feedburner.com%2FFourPillars

Thanks

21 Allan J

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