Feedburner, the popular RSS tool, is used by many bloggers to serve feeds to their readers, but also in order to know how many people are currently subscribing to their blog using RSS. Despite the fact it can be easily hijacked, RSS subscriber count is one of the ways used to measure the popularity of a blog.
Back in 2008, Feedburner was bought by Google. It sounded interesting at first, but no significant improvements were made to the service, and shortly after Google took ownership, a major problem occurred, and millions of blogs saw their count dive from 5000 to 500.
Since last month, I have seen my subscriber count going up and down every day and show unrealistic numbers.
Look at the screenshort below:
On June 12, CatsWhoBlog had 1,730 RSS readers. Three days later, it had 1,110. And on June 21, according to Feedburner, only 437 were still reading my blog.
I first thought it was an isolated problem, but all my other blogs had similar issues. CatsWhoCode.com had 9,900 subscribers, and in a day, jumped to 19,000+ readers. This was flattering, but obviously unrealistic.
Several days later the feed set back to approximately 10,000 readers. And two days ago, it fell to approximately 5,000. In one week I have “lost” 13,000 subscribers!
Although Feedburner is obviously the most popular service of its kind, many other tools, both free or paid, are available. So should you switch to one of these?
Feedblitz is probably the second most known “feed burning” service. It’s a paid service (depending on your number of subscribers), but most people I know who use it are happy with it. It offers feed management, email newsletters, surveys, autoresponders and more.
Another interesting feed service, RapidFeeds allows you to password protect your feeds, schedule them, and delivers an “in depth” tracking of your feed distribution. The service is free for one feed, but in order to get feed tracking, you’ll have to upgrade to the basic plan, which is currently $4.49 per month.
Feedity offers different plans, including a free option. Paid plans start at $39 a year. Feedity is a great tool if you want to combine feeds, but feed tracking isn’t any better than Feedburner.
Should you continue to use Feedburner?
Over the past few months I have noticed that a few popular blogs stopped displaying their RSS feed count. A few others mixed their subscriber count with Twitter followers and Facebook fans (For example, Envato sites did it) and display the total number of all people who subscribe or follow their blog, nevermind if it’s on Twitter or by RSS.
I personally think about doing something similar on CatsWhoCode.com and CatsWhoBlog.com. If you’d like to do the same on your own blog, a cool tutorial is available.
This is a guest entry by Jean-Baptiste Jung from Cats Who Blog and Cats Who Code. To read more about guest blogging for Splashpress Media sites, please read the My Blog Guest – Splashpress Media guest blog partnership announcement.