Update on “RSS is broken”

Robert Scoble stirred up plenty of discussion (including in my own blog) when he explained that MSDN’s full-text feeds were reduced to excerpts because “RSS is broken“. In his post, Scoble states:

“Bandwidth usage was growing faster than MSDN’s ability to pay for, or keep up with, the bandwidth. Terrabytes of bandwidth were being used up by RSS.”

However, Sara Williams – head of MSDN – posted a clarification in which she says:

“our RSS traffic is neglible compared to all the traffic generated by Windows Update, MSN, downloads, and the rest of microsoft.com. “

In the meantime, full-text posts are back. So…perhaps the RSS sky isn’t falling after all?

6 thoughts on “Update on “RSS is broken”

  1. I’ve never understood Scoble’s obsession with full-text feeds. Send the headline and the first few paragraphs. If you’ve written it well enough I’ll click through to the web site and read the rest.
    Doing it this way solves many problems.
    It makes the feed smaller, reducing the providers’ bandwith. It reduces the time needed for the client to download it. It removes the need to put ads in the feeds since they will still be seen by people who click through to the site.
    Seems like everyone wins.

  2. For the most part I agree with you, Peter, but one problem with excerpts is that RSS search engines (and FeedDemon’s watches) won’t see the entire article since the only thing indexed is the feed itself.

  3. I can afford the bandwidth, so I provide the full content for each entry. For entries over a few paragraphs, I also provide a human authored summary. This allows search engines access to the full content, and users of tools such as bloglines a choice in which they prefer to see.

  4. Microsoft should try a LAMP server with mod_gzip. One of my forums pushes 2 million 45-100k (uncompressed) pages a month with mod_gzip, and we never get over 15GB of traffic.
    Terabtyes of bandwidth ? Hogwash unless they are getting a billion requests a month for feeds.

  5. Randy, the last time I bothered to look (version 4 or 5) IIS didn’t have solid support. Seems it does now, and did even before version 6.0.
    Still I’d like to know how they are doing terabytes of data per month when it’s nothing but text.

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