I was just thinking about this issue when I saw the post and cartoon above. I was recently on a plane and going through my feeds (I need something like a plane trip to take the time to go through ALL of them, don’t you?).
I have realized that the feeds that are partial have slowly moved out of my attention zone. Even the great sites that have this tactic end up with me ignoring their great content unless someone really points to them via another mechanism (e.g. FriendFeed / Twitter / Blog).
There is too much good content out there that lets me read it as I want too, so I don’t have time for the content that has any kind of firewall in front of it.
I overhead someone in Coupa Cafe, Palo Alto, mentioning how “we should make our feed partial, add ads, and then we can get through the rough economy”. I sat there with my no-sugar Tiger Spice soy Chai ( heh ) and pondered a world where the majority of my feeds were partial in my reader. I would probably give up my reader at that point and just use social mechanisms to filter for me and call it a day.
This Coupa chap will lose a large percentage of his followers and suddenly those ads will hit a smaller and smaller audience, as that audience moves to other areas to get that content.
Die. Partial. Die. As someone at the Web 2.0 Summit would say “Give users what they want and you will do well.” ;0