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What makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed?

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of February 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

In my recent call for questions from readers Barry asked:

“What makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed?”

It’s a good question and one worthy of some discussion as an ‘Open Mic’ discussion. Perhaps the result will be that we’ll all learn a thing or two NOT to do in our blogging.

So what makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed? What makes you ‘un-bookmark it’ or stop visiting via some other method?

Is it to do with the style of blogging, the frequency of posting, the feed itself (whether it be full/partial feed, whether they include other links, ads etc), the topic, the attitude of the blogger or some other factor?

Enjoying the discussion below? Digg it Here

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • Text that is not formatted and readable. I’ve seen many feeds that remove all the line feeds and block all fo the text into a huge blob. I scan feeds for content and often speed read through them. If I get slowed down, it impedes my progress.

    I also CAN NOT stand partial feeds. I hate reading a snippet and clicking through to find my place back at the website. Once again, it impedes my progress.

    Unnecessary swearing is a turn off. Visuals on an RSS feed attract my attention so I rarely drop feeds that do a good job with visualizations.

    Otherwise, I read just about anything. Great question.

  • I unsubscribe from blogs (or any type of subscription) when I’m no longer receiving value. That’s the bottom line.

    If the content is no longer providing useful information (whether it’s my situation that has changed or the blogger’s writing style/topics) or if the content is no longer interesting “to me,” then I unsubscribe.

    If the blog is delivering valuable content I need or want to read then length of posts, frequency of posts and partial feeds are non-issues. And I don’t stress if I miss a few posts because the blogger posts frequently and I’m too busy to read those days.

    I do like to read text that’s not one long paragraph (images, bullets, white space/breaks, etc., does wonders for making copy enjoyable and easy to read.). If it’s a chore to read, I won’t. I’ll unsubscribe.

  • For me it will be
    * Partial feed – a lot of comments have this one.
    * Too much posts – in my list, Kottke is running this risk.
    * Badly formated text.

    Usually too few posts will not bother me – as I don’t notice those feeds. But if I do a cleanup of my feeds, they may go out. Google Reader makes it easy to find which all feeds are inactive.

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  • If I find myself not reading the post for some time and I have no desire to catch up then I will sometimes drop a feed. If I really get lazy and I hit the max on bloglines (which is 200) then it is time to drop the feed…

  • Vix

    I don’t subscribe to many feeds – they number less than 20 as opposed to the hundreds that I used to have before. My criteria was:

    * inactivity. If a person hasn’t updated their blog in months, then there’s no point in keeping them on my feed reader.

    * posts that are too long. I don’t need 1000 word essays for posts…on a daily basis.

    * blogs that just echo what everyone else is saying. If there’s no opinion, they’re out.

  • RSS

    Wow a popular topic. The main reason I unsubscribe is if the blog goes off topic. If I subscribe to a feed about marketing I sure don’t want to see your holiday snaps, no matter how good your holiday was.

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  • I unsubscribe when one or more of the following happens:

    1. Posting frequency is too low (less than once a week)
    2. Posting frequency changes drasticly (from 3 times a day to once a week)
    3. Posting frequency is too high (over 5 or 10) posts
    4. Posts are too long (just get to the point! I don’t read many long posts)
    5. The primary writer of the blog leaves and someone else takes over
    6. I lose interest in the topic
    7. The blog writer takes the topic in a direction I don’t care about
    For instance a blog on SEO that switches from primarily talking about getting links to primarily focusing on the topic of the overall SEO industry in general.
    8. The blogger says or does something (more than once) that I find offensive. This happens more often than one might think.
    9. The blog adds writers that are not interesting to me
    10. I find several better blogs that cover the same topic without committing any of the above 9 mistakes.

    The most common reasons have been 1,4, and 8 above.

  • Barry S

    1. Negativity/Snark
    2. Too much selling and affiliate programs
    3. Offensive Content
    4. Blogger’s Ego out of control

    I mean why would I subscribe to someone who bitches and moans, tries to shock me and offends others, tells me how good he is and then tries to sell me something!

  • usually, that is series of posts with interesting title but boring or dull entry…. it attracts me to open the page but never finish the reading thinking “oh no, not the same stupid blog again!”.

    blogs that have too many entries that are just an excerpt for other blogs or, even worse, advertisements and affiliate programs.

    blogs that diverged from old topic into something that I don’t care of.

    dead blogs does not make me unsubscribe. if there are no posts they are not getting attention and I rarely check my feed list to see which feeds gone dry.

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  • I hate when I comment twice on the same entry, but something in comments got my attention and it really raises questions: partial feeds! actually, I never thought that partial feed can turn somebody away. on contrary.

    excerpt gives me info what is in the post and that make me go to the site or not. I never seen the point in multiplying internet traffic for posts that I am not interested in.

    one note, beside all this. most of the comments here are made by bloggers themselves. it would be interesting to see what non-blogging readers think, and to compare the results.

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  • Too much ads !

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  • Mainly, when the subject does not interest me any more.

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  • Greetings all – At the end of the day us humans are a fickle bunch and require so many different inputs to keep us happy. This was a wonderful post and attracted many responses. A blog is a form of electronic book, if we are to keep readers interested a book approach could be a good analogy.
    Compelling and waiting for the next page with anticipation, imagination going wild at being able to express it’s self.

    Blogs are an awesome read in this day and age, think about your readers, write for them not for you, challenge thinking and be opinionated.

    Only through reading, writing and continual development can we move forward, forever in the pursuit of more knowledge.

    Live write be happy. Most of all have

    a b l o g g i n g good day :)

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  • I think it comes down to the fact that there are only so many blogs that one person can keep up with. Since there are always new blogs popping up there are always new things grabbing your attention away from other blogs you used to read.

    I personally find that i go in cycles. I’ll be really into a few blogs. As i finder newer, different blogs, i start reading less of the blogs i started with. Then something may happen that reminds me of an older blog i used to read and i’ll go back and catch up. The cycle seems to repeat itself.

    If people start trying to police their own posts then the content becomes less real. The blogger may not say what he or she really wants to. They may force themselves to say something they don’t want to. It should not be a formula.

    Having said all that, i think infrequent posts are what really kill blogs. I’ve seen it happen to one of my blogs. But i just didn’t have the time to keep posting. What can ya do?

  • 1. To many post (i don’t like more then one post a day)
    2. No content with value for me

  • The real killer for me is partial feeds. I know why people do it, but if I subscribe to a feed and it’s only an excerpt, I’ll unsubscribe immediately.

    On posting frequency, like others, I have Google Reader set to only show unread articles. There are probably feeds in there that haven’t had any new content for over a month. But if the quality’s good, I’ll keep them subscribed.

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  • Bad Content, off topic and too much advertising in short.

    No need to clarify.

  • 1 – Partial Feeds kill blogs on my RSS. I have my feeds so I can read all my sites in one place. Not so I have to go click your blog to read the rest. If I wanted that I would not have subscribed and just did it the old fashioned way. This is an automatic unsubscribe

    2 – Too many updates. I like Engadget, but it’s disheartening to miss a day or two and see like 30+ posts waiting for me. Add other random high post count feeds and I just don’t even want to read. While they may be good posts or give me news as it happens, I rather have a quality overview later with less frequent updates on every tiny detail.

    3 – Change of focus. If I’m reading a blog on Video Games, I dont want it switched to a tech blog focus or have random posts on movies and favourite TV shows. Stay on topic or start a new blog. Good once in a while or if it’s tangently related, like a video game movie in this case. Not if its completely out of the blue though.

    4 – Drop in quality. If it’s a different writer or they sell / merge the blog or just randomly starts declining due to not enough time or whatever personal reason of the blogger.

    5 – No new posts / change in posting frequency. If you posted every Mon/Wed/Fri, dont change to every Monday only or start posting 3 times a day. Same with length of posts. 200 words or 1000 words. Keep it consistent.

  • I would definitely say inactivity is the main reason for me to unsubscribe. I don’t mind “too many posts” as long as it’s information that I find interesting. I blog all day so I’m always at the computer checking this and that. It’s no big thing for me to go through “a lot” of posts.
    If the posts are about money or business and a totally different topic comes up like say, politics (and if I hate the posters politics) then off it goes.

    One of the main things that will keep me subscribed is if the blogger contributes his own insights. That to me is real value.

  • For me, there are two reasons whether I unsubscribe from a blog’s rss feed or not, they are: good content or bad content, update often or not. These are the main reasons.

    So what I am doing is making my blog be useful to my readers and updating it everyday.

  • my opinion

    When either the content is stale or continuously being updated as if there is nothing else better to do or if the content is just plain boring and pointless.

  • I unsubscribe for the same reason I subscribe. The same thing we keep coming back to as the major thing that makes a blog popular…

    IT’S THE CONTENT STUPID. (No offence intended).

  • It’s very good article. Great site with very good look and perfect information… Thanks

  • I unsubscribe if the blogger inappropriately uses video posts.

    Video posts have a time and place, but too many bloggers are using them just for the sake of using them! A text post is easier to skim through, and I hate having to sit through a video post, hoping the interesting part is yet to come…

  • 1. When the author becomes too money minded (Sending me advertisements saying this is great and that is great. )
    2. No posts for at least 2 weeks
    3. One day the blogger blogs about the internet and the next day he reviews a movie he saw
    4. The contents is crap
    5. Is the blogger voicing his own opinion or just posting like “Darren said so, i think he is right. Dave taylor said so, i think he is wrong”