FeedBurner Relevancy And RSS Subscriber Numbers

Jean-Baptiste Jung has a good blog post over at The Blog Herald that questions whether FeedBurner is still relevant. In the post, Jean examines how in the past month, his numbers if varied widely. As a long time user of FeedBurner, I too have seen numbers vary wildly with no explanation. By the way, it’s awesome that WPTavern.com has bumped up past the 2,000 FeedReader average.

Line Graph Swinging Up And Down

I’ve enjoyed being able to know roughly how many people are subscribed to the Tavern RSS feed but in reality, I don’t know how accurate those numbers are. While Jean lists out some other services that could replace FeedBurner such as FeedBlitz, I think we have to take a step back and ask ourselves, does the number of RSS subscribers matter anymore? Are they still used as part of the popularity of a particular website? Will you lose out on advertising sales because of little or no numbers? Without using a service like FeedBurner, you’ll have no way of knowing the reach your sites RSS feed has.

Personally, I prefer to know how many people are subscribed to the RSS feed even if it’s just a rough number. It’s one more metric I have at my disposal on monitoring the growth and reach of the site. How do you feel about the notion of RSS Subscriber numbers?

7 Comments


  1. I’d like to have a rough idea. It doesn’t have to be accurate, but “close enough” woudl be good enough. I don’t need to know how they fluctuate on a daily basis.

    Mine has gone from in the 400s to over 6000. In the past week.

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  2. I don’t think RSS numbers are relevant anymore. Bloggers should definitely getting rid of them for good.

    The problem is that many advertisers are seeing those number as a proof of quality and/or traffic of your site. For example BSA are adding RSS stats for each site on their marketplace.

    But if feedburner continue to be a pure joke like it is now, many people, including myself, will simply get rid of their – once very cool – chicklet.

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  3. I don’t use it for the numbers. I use it for the easy way to put adsense ads in my RSS and the 30 people who follow via email. That’s it.

    When I want numbers, I look at my analytics results.

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  4. I dropped Feedburner about 6 months ago and haven’t looked back. The service just isn’t that valuable to my users and the built in WordPress feeds work great. With that being said, I do think it is an important stat if you are trying to attract advertisers.

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  5. I cancelled all my feedburner subscriptions.
    I use Google Reader now.
    I have access to Google anywhere in the world, maybe not in China.
    I have 118 subscriptions.
    Some of them are only sending posts once a month or two.
    I got 89 feeds this morning.
    I look at the sender then the subject/title, if it’s not interested then it goes to the MARK READ pile (without me reading it).

    EDIT: Now you moderate comments?

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  6. I started using Feedburner because of the email subscription option. I still have it activated on some sites, but I’ve been moving my email subscriptions to the use of a Gravity Form which integrates with my MailChimp account where I have RSS subscriptions activated.

    Not as simple of a solution to setup, but allows me better analysis of subscriber activity and much nicer looking emails to them.

    Down side is no Adsense in these emails currently.

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  7. I think that RSS subscribers matter less and less as services like Facebook are becoming not only a bigger traffic driver but a better way to syndicate content. After all, my mom reads uses Facebook but she will never understand how to set-up and maintain an RSS reader.

    Having said that, I still think that RSS subscription numbers can be an important metric when negotiating advertising prices, especially if you do a “sponsor” for your feed (not to be confused with using AdSense, meaning, you plug a company with a special post that also gets syndicated to your feed and in return they pay you an amount weekly or monthly). I think it can be a way to track engagement if your readers use Google Reader primarily, but again, I think Facebook is a much, much better tool on that front.

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