Mar 17, 2010  •  In Blogging, Personal, Web

Gawker’s Truncated RSS Feeds (And How to Get Your Full Feeds Back)

Google Reader (or RSS in general) has become so indispensable in my internet experience that if a site does not offer an RSS feed, it’s likely that I’ll never return again. And although I do my best to keep my Google Reader subscriptions to a minimum, I still subscribe to hundreds upon hundreds of feeds.

This is precisely the reason I am an avid supporter of full RSS feeds. I use an RSS reader to make my life easier. Having truncated feeds defeats that purpose in my — the reader’s — eyes.

A few days ago, I, in addition to thousands of horrified readers, noticed that Gawker Media (the company behind popular sites such as Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Jezebel, and io9) had decided to truncate all its RSS feeds.

I understand the need behind truncated feeds. One, you want a more detailed assessment of your reader demographics. Secondly, there is more money in it because it forces your readers to click through to your website, where the ads are worth a lot more than the ads in your RSS feeds.

However, in my eyes, truncating your RSS feed for the sake of making more money is nothing but a short-term solution.

By inconveniencing your readers, you are pushing them to do something they don’t want to do. There has also been some evidence of full RSS feeds gaining more page viewership!

On a more personal note, I am far less likely to link back to an article, or even share it with friends, if that piece were truncated.

Do you support truncated RSS feeds? Why or why not?

Luckily, there is a way to get around Gawker’s truncated feeds. I may be a few days late in posting this, but I found it useful nonetheless and thought my readers could benefit too.

If you want access to the full RSS feed of any Gawker site,
just add “/vip.xml” to the end of the URL.

For example, the full RSS feed for Gizmodo is located at http://gizmodo.com/vip.xml and Lifehacker’s can be found at http://lifehacker.com/vip.xml

Updating your RSS reader with these new feed URLs may be a bit annoying, but taking the extra 2 minutes to do so was sure worth the effort for me.

17 Responses to “Gawker’s Truncated RSS Feeds (And How to Get Your Full Feeds Back)”

  1. That is tremendously helpful, thanks! Or it MAY be — those sites post so often each day that I’m actually finding it easier to scan the blurbs for the 4 articles that interest me, as opposed to scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through the feed. (Jezebel and your endless celebrity fashion photos, I’m looking at you.)

    But a few crazy-frequent-posting sites with clearly written titles are my ONLY exception to my usual "full feed" rule. There are many sites that I’d love to follow if not for their truncated feeds. But it’s just never going to happen.

  2. Thank you for posting this. This is so so helpful — Gawker, Defamer, and Jezebel’s truncations have been driving me crazy!!

  3. Moll:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m saving time because I’m reading fewer of their articles, but it’s aggravating.

  4. Hell to the no, hate em with a passion. I do subscribe to a couple of blogs with them, but rarely actually click through to read the whole thing.

  5. Matt G.:

    Oddly enough, my LH feed didn’t change. But my io9 feed is truncated. I don’t really mind, I usually pop it into a new tab anyways so I can see all the images.

  6. Maya:

    SO helpful– thank you so much. I obsessively read Jezebel every day and was so bummed when they truncated their feed.

  7. Liz:

    I hate truncated rss feeds! I’m hesistant to admit it, but one of the main reason is that sites like Gawker and Jezebel are often blocked by my office IT security, but google reader is not. So if I have to go to the actual site to read a story (on my lunch break, of course…) I can’t.

  8. Chase:

    While there are many websites shying away from the use of full RSS feeds, that is definitely not stopping people from still accessing the full feeds. Since the release of WizardRSS.com I have seen over a quarter million pages that have been created on Google that are powered by WizardRSS and their autoposters. Just Google "Powered by WizardRSS".

    They currently have autoposters for WordPress and Joomla. They will be releasing posters for phpBB, MyBB, and SMF by the end of the week as well.

    http://www.wizardrss.com

  9. shle896:

    I agree, I hate truncated RSS feeds. A few weeks back after Gawker did this, I complained rather profusely in a forum and Mr. Denton himself replied and gave me the url to go back to the regular RSS feeds ( http://feeds.gawker.com/gawker/vip ), which I thought was really cool of him and I appreciated very much.

    The thinking behind this is all wrong. If I come across a site that doesn’t offer full feeds, I just don’t bother subscribing. It defeats the purpose of using an RSS reader and it’s absolutely not what I would forward to a friend or colleague. I’m glad Gawker keeps the option open, but I still believe they would be better served to just do away with truncating altogether.

  10. You can also convert a truncated RSS feed by going to http://www.fullfeed.net . Enter the truncated feed and it will return a URL that contains the full articles.

  11. 8Gaston8:

    I have tried your trick but it doesn’t seem to help with Gizmodo’s UK website!!!

    HELP! Is there as solution for the brand new UK site?

    Thanks!

    • As far as I know, no. You can try the Chrome extension I mention in this post: Another Reason to Switch to Chrome

      • 8Gaston8:

        Thanks for the answer, google reader can now do this without any extensions.

        My problem remains because I more often read my feeds on the Reeder app for ipad/iphone…and, there, only if the feed I subscribe to is non truncated will I get a full view!

        It exist with gizmodo.com but I can’t find anything for the UK one.
        I found two sites which are supposed to give me the full view link if I give them the link to my rss feed but it didn’t work…:(

        Help!

  12. Ever since Reader died the Gawker “VIP” feeds have switched back to truncated. Any ideas how to workaround that? I just tried the “expand feed” and it just created a lot of wacky characters and not the full feed.

  13. Claire:

    Thank you so much for this! I badly wanted to read the articles that interest me at Gawker and other websites that use the Kinja platform, but I can not access them. I dunno why. I use Feedly as my reader. After following your instructions, I’m happy to report it’s been a success. Happy, happy, happy! :D

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