I just don't like the idea of losing potential traffic to the site.
This mindset holds a lot of people back. It's the old 20th century website mentality. Keep everything on my site so I can control everything. That's limiting your potential reach and possibly costing you control of how your information is dispersed.
We're all broadcasting information via our HTML pages, but there are many other ways our information can be disseminated. RSS feeds are just another way of getting our information out to a wider market. You just need to track that usage of your data in different ways. FeedBurner became popular as it allowed any webmaster to track the uptake and use of their feeds. The challenge is to find a way to effectively track this data.
What happens if I don't provide a feed? Well, there are plenty of services available that will take sites with no RSS feeds, and create a feed for the user. If your site doesn't have a feed I could use one of these services. However, you as the webmaster then lose all control over format, tracking, and potential ad revenue from the feed.
I know I have subscribed to hundreds of RSS feeds (mostly blogs). And out of those 95% to 98% of the time I never visit the site again since I get all the information I want from the rss feed.
I've done the same with many feeds, but my percentage is probably lower. I see a lot more partial feeds these days that force a visit to the site (if there's a compelling enough title and description). The flip-side to this is that I've started to unsubscribe from feeds that are not full or that are too limited.
When I was a real feed consumer, and I had finally found a great aggregator program to sift through them all, I had a feed list that was approaching 10000 feeds. It was a bit too much, I admit. ;) However, my aggregator could sift through it all and pick out the keywords and phrases that I was interested in, from thousands of sites, and I could whittle that information down into a reasonable selection for consumption. The quality sites would always rise to the top.
Did you know that RDF was or is the proposed replacement and/or next step in metadata?
Really? I was using RDF syntax back in 1999 on the old My Netscape Network (MNN). I was one of the first 300 people to have a feed up there. Is the W3C trying to push their own standards for syndicated metadata to supplant RSS and Atom?