On excerpt vs. full content RSS feeds

True wisdom from Marco Arment this week:

We don’t deserve anything. Publishers can do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, don’t send them nasty emails or browse their sites with ad-blockers: just don’t support them. Don’t read their content, don’t link to them, and don’t talk about them. Since money’s not usually involved, vote with your attention and read elsewhere.

Merlin Mann tries to respond to it, but instead responds to everyone else’s arguments about why full feeds are better. But, I guess if you call something a straw man, the only way you “win” is by attacking some other position. What gets me though is this curiously stalker-ish final paragraph:

(I’d also mention, just in passing, Marco, that your two primary businesses I’m aware of rely very heavily on all that expensive content being freely available and munge-able. A magazine article that can’t be reblogged will never make it onto Tumblr, and a more (theoretically) monetizable world of teaser-only websites and feeds turns Instapaper into a beautifully-implemented PR aggregator)

Ad hominem, Merlin.

New from Google: LessTraffic™

From the Google Blog:

Answer highlighting in search results

Consider the example, [empire state height]. With today’s improvements, the answer —1250 ft, or 381 m — is highlighted right in the search result:

Google Answer Highlighting

This might be cool for Wikipedia, but it totally screws every other website owner.

If you have a website that deals with anything Google’s algorithm has decided is a “fact” then watch out, your traffic is about to drop. Google’s destroyed a lot of niche online markets but this is a broad attack against all sites.

The future of this feature is that you never have to leave Google at all.


From Google:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

It’s about time.

Micro-lending to change the world

Back in January I helped make a loan to Nosirova Uguljon so that she could buy a greater range of goods for her childrens’ clothing business. Nosirova’s business is in Kanibadam, Tajikistan. (Tajikistan is the poorest of the former Soviet republics.) Her daughter helps with the business:

Nosirova Uguljon's Daughter
Nosirova Uguljon's Daughter

Entrepreneurs like Nosirova are the key to building the economy in poverty stricken areas like Tajikistan. Plus, her daughter represents a better future for their family and community. Although the total loan amount was $1,200, it only took $25 of my money to help support this business. I was able to join with 37 other lenders to support Nosirova’s business through the microfinance site, Kiva.

Alice Indangasi Shabola
Alice Indangasi Shabola

She’s already paid back her loan and I’ve turned around the $25 and loaned it to Alice Indangasi Shabola for her clothing business in Kenya. That $25 now represents $50 of economic impact to businesses in developing countries. When Alice pays back her loan, I’ll loan that money out again to yet another business. You can see what kind of long-term effect just $25 can have on Kiva.

Of course, once you’ve made one loan, you want to make more. :) Here’s my lending page on Kiva showing all the loans I’ve made.

I hope you’ll find $25 to loan through Kiva and have a real impact decreasing poverty around the world.