Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Monday, August 14, 2006
On the Reach of Feeds
Without sharing (yet) the underlying thought that prompted him to ask the question, Jeremy Zawodny wonders what share of your subscriber base access your content through bloglines.

Freshblog reports 224 bloglines users, for a 24% share of our just-shy-of-1000 subscriber base. Kevin Burton reports a similar share on a similar subscriber base, though with very different numbers reported for other readers, perhaps influenced by the prominent Rojo and Newsgator chicklets at the top of each page, & the absence of an e-mail sub option?

I frame the discussion this way because the statistic I'm most interested in is the number of subscribers who are provided with Freshblog's content via R-Mail. 347 subscribers, or 37%, get their Freshblog fix this way, and that's a much higher number than I would have expected. My sense of e-mail subscription has always been that it is the tool of choice for folks who are just getting their feet wet w/ RSS and who aren't ready to grapple with a reader just yet, but the statistics are poking holes in my supposition!

In fact Randy reports that a number of R-Mail users are choosing to use R-Mail to subscribe to many and multiple feeds, and that users are leveraging the tagging, sorting and display features of G-mail to create a "lite" reader. R-Mail messages are delivered with the name of the source blog in the "From" line, making the filtering of the posts into folders pretty straightforward. You can, of course, filter the content from multiple topically similar blogs, apply a single consistent label and sort your content that way. If this sounds like your sort of project, read Randy's post for the detailed scoop.

So... some questions for readers and publishers... you should feel free to answer as few or as many of these as you like, of course, I'm just thinking of stuff that I'd like to know!

For Readers: If you access Freshblog through R-Mail.... How many other blogs do you read that way? What prompted your choice to read blogs through e-mail? What e-mail program do you use, & have you crafted filters and such to help to sort the incoming content? Was the prominence of the R-Mail widget here a factor in your decision? Are you "new" to RSS? Tell me about the experience of reading blogs through e-mail.....

For Publishers: What percentage of users access your content via e-mail? What do you think explains and accounts for that percentage? What e-mail subscription service do you use? Do you have an e-mail subscription widget on your blog? Is it prominent & tempting?

Oh, and what do you think is Jeremy's theory of Bloglines reach & depth? I'd be interested to know!

Filed in:
Posted at 8:40 AM by John.
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Funny thing. I access Freshblog using Google Reader. I gotta eat my own dog shit :-)

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Blogger Unknown said...
John, I access Freshblog through R-mail as well as Firefox live bookmarks! The main reason for subscribing with R-mail is to get notified about your new posts. And believe me, I don't subscribe to any other blog through R-mail. Yours is something special :)

And I have Live bookmarks for several feeds. I love it because with just one-click, I see all the post titles and I can choose to read the ones I like. Finally, I DON'T like RSS readers because I want to be IN the blog and enjoy the environment, read comments etc.

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OK, I'm eating my own dog food.

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Blogger Greg said...

I subscribe to around 50 blogs and news sources in a stand-alone feed reader (awasu). None of these sources relate to blog hacking. I like to actually visit these blogs (Freshblog, Singpolyma, ecmanaut, 3spots, The Last Word, Hackosphere etc) in a browser.

Why? Two reasons. Firstly, I'm much more likely (20%?) to read/make comments on these blogs. My feed reader (plus the state of mind induced by the rapid gorging of information) doesn't lend itself to reading/making comments.

Secondly, many of the articles are about newly-minted hacks that are being demoed in situ, requiring a proper browser experience to appreciate them.


While my two blogs receive roughly the same daily web traffic as Freshblog, they get about 5% of the subscriptions. That's the nature of the content.

Across both, my email subs are about a quarter (through Feedblitz, since they partnered with Feedburner). This is relatively high, but due to the content, most of the readership are barely computer-literate.

The next-most popular method is Google Desktops, followed by FireFox Live bookmarks. "Other readers" makes up 30% of my subscriptions.

Since setting up an automatic comments blog and running it through Feedburner, I've found that about 20% also subscribe to the comments feed.

Hmm, as a long-time FireFox user, perhaps I should avail myself of the live bookmarks feature more?

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