It's in the way that you use it

The problem with the InfoWorld RSS is that they are much too parsimonious with words. Which I don’t quite understand - I’m a long time subscriber to their email newsletters and they’re much more generous with the word count by email. Let’s take a look at an example. Here is an item from the RSS feed:

Sun, Zend push scripting for Java. Sun aims to bring another 7 million Java developers into the fold

And here is the corresponding excerpt from my Application Development Report (I receive the plain text newsletter, I’ve taken the liberty of html-ifying it):

Sun, Zend push scripting for Java Posted June 12, 2003 5:00 AM Pacific Time

SAN FRANCISCO – Sun Microsystems is working with a number of industry partners, including Oracle, Macromedia, and Zend Technologies, to support the use of scripting languages in its Java platform.

Sun and Zend are leading the effort, which, if it is successful, will create a way for developers to write Java applications using popular scripting languages like PHP, ECMAscript, and Active Server Pages.

I sampled the InfoWorld RSS feeds a few months back, but I felt the items were so brief that I couldn’t get a handle on whether it was worth following the link. So I unsubscribed from the RSS and kept the email.

Returning to the ad issue, the real content is so brief that the NewsGator ad really stands out. Here’s the ad for NewsGator:

ADV: Read this news in Outlook with NewsGator. NewsGator is a news aggregator that runs in Microsoft Outlook. It allows you to subscribe to various syndicated news feeds (such as weblogs, news sites, etc.) and have news from these sites be delivered right into your Outlook folders. There are thousands of sites that syndicate their content - and more are added every day.

The Radio Userland news aggregator assembles multiple RSS descriptions on a page. So the ad appears with 3 or 4 times the weight of a normal item. I think that is much too strong for the feed. Of course, if InfoWorld were to give their RSS the same excerpt leeway they give their newsletters, then the ad would lose it’s prominence. And I could unsubscribe from the email newsletters (the newsletters also include ads).

16 June: Chad Dickerson of InfoWorld says that they’re working on it.