Fudgy RSS numbers for tech-oriented blogs

28 Feb

A story about User X:

  1. User X subscribes to TechSite on Bloglines
  2. Google Reader v2 is released, tech people say how awesome it is
  3. User X imports feeds into Google Reader
  4. Bloglines and Google Reader both report User X as a subscriber to TechSite
  5. TechSite boasts large increase in readership

Repeat above * 500+ users for popular tech blogs. End result: an anatomy of inflated RSS stats.

I suggest FeedBurner allow you to insert a 1×1 pixel on every post. Track IP, get ‘unique readers’ and ‘pageviews’ for a post. This method has its own set of flaws, but it should be some interesting numbers.

4 Responses to Fudgy RSS numbers for tech-oriented blogs



February 28th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Hey there Ahmed,

Thought I should chime in on this post. We’re always working to make our analytics better for publishers. We do track posts using the method you inquire about.

We wrote about feed subscribers last week on our blog where we talked about a new metric: audience engagement. Using this metric versus pure subscribers will give publishers a much clearer picture of their content distribution.


Let me know if you have any questions!

Jake Parrillo
Publisher Services Team



February 28th, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Aye – it was after I read about actual user engagement that I wondered about it on a blog-by-blog basis. I am sure tech sites would have a much higher ‘inflated’ number than something with non-tech users (much less likely to migrate to another service).

I went looking through the FB panel, and see no way of doing what I suggested (tracking uniques/pageviews reading a post) … or am I just blind?



February 28th, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Hi Ahmed,

FeedBurner offers click and view tracking. They’re both under “item use” on your analyze tab. It’s in our “pro” offering. Here’s a quick link to some FAQ:




February 28th, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Buggering – I used to be a pro user, and I don’t remember it from then.

Time to sign-up again.