On Business: RSS Question

By | Monday, September 08, 2014 Leave a Comment
I'd like to pose an open question to webcomickers out there who utilize an RSS feed. With most RSS setups, you can choose to display the whole of your content or a preview of your content. Many of the comics I read display only a preview and my guess is that's because they're trying to drive traffic to their site so that I see (and possibly click on) the advertising banners. I get that.

My question is: how many people have actually looked at their revenue before and after going to a preview version of their feed? Does forcing readers to your actual site really increase money you get from advertisers?

I ask for two reasons. First, because I greatly prefer just reading the comics through my feed reader. Second, and more significantly, because the most analytical webcomic creators I know -- Randall Munroe, Dorothy Gambrell and David Malki -- don't do that; their comics are displayed within the feed in their entirety and I don't need to hit their site to read their comics. So I'm sitting here wondering, if three of the more successful webcomic artists display their full comics in their feed, and they happen to be the types of people who are more prone to looking at these types of things critically and not just going on a "gut feeling", I have to wonder why everyone else isn't following their examples?
I mean, one thing I've learning in studying webcomics is that there is no single set formula for success. What works for one person might not work for the next. And that's fine. But that so many webcomickers force readers to their site, largely without real justification from what I can tell, that strikes me as a piece of "conventional wisdom." But "conventional wisdom" is just a fancy name for "lazy thinking" and, if these people have never actually tested their theory, then they might as well be consulting horoscopes and counting tea leaves.

I don't know that Munroe, Gambrell and/or Malki have done testing on this point either, but I know they've done similar types of testing in the past. I'm inclined to think that they the whole "force readers to the site to get ad revenue" would be something they would consciously consider, if not actively test. And if these folks don't think it's worth sending readers from their feed to their site, I have to wonder if it's worth it for everybody else. I don't know for sure, but I suspect not.

So, who out there has actually tested this?
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