Sam Brown

RSS Feeds, some stats. Care to share yours?

Following on from my previous article RSS Feeds, full or excerpt… How do you eat yours? I thought I would share some of my personal and site feed data and ask a few more RSS related questions in hopes of trying to understand how people are using RSS.

While it is well known that I am a bit of a stat whore it’s really not the total numbers that interest me, it’s how people go about using my sites and their content. Mint is an invaluable tool for peering into the ways visitors use and browse your site, with a vast array of great Pepper (plugins) you can keep an eye on just about everything your visitors are doing live as and when they do it in a very big-brother like fashion. I am watching you!

FeedBurner provides a very good service for keeping track of your Feed subscriber data, everything from seeing how many subscribers you have to where they are coming from, what they are using and a host of other features. While it isn’t perfect it does provide great data.

The Top 10 Feed Readers and Aggregators for my RSS Feed

  1. Google Reader
  2. NewsGator
  3. NewNewsWire
  4. Bloglines
  5. Mac OS X RSS Reader
  6. NewsFire
  7. Netvibes
  8. Firefox Live Bookmarks
  9. Fever
  10. Vienna

Interestingly people are using a nice mixture of both desktop applications and web based services to subscribe to my site, it’s no surprise to see the dominance of Google Reader at the top there.

How much RSS can you handle?

I am subscribed to 170 RSS Feeds, this is probably the highest it has ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t read every single article on every single site, I skim through them all over breakfast and open up the full articles of those that interest me most where I can then divulge their goodness at my leisure.

I check my feeds first thing in the morning then again late on in the afternoon. I don’t leave this window open all day, I have to get some work done!

Differentiating Feeds

RSS Feed Favicons

These are the Favicons from all of the sites I am subscribed to, I find these to be a vital tool in helping me differentiate between different authors and sites with a little visual cue. I am a huge fan of using and creating unique favicons at the best of times but find that their true use doesn’t come in the form of seeing it in the browsers address bar but in my feed reader.

What say you?

Here are a couple of quick questions for you regarding RSS if you have a second:

  • Do you read in a Desktop or Web based feed reader?
  • How many feeds are you subscribed to?
  • How often do you check your feed reader?
  • Are your feeds easily identifiable?
  • Do you track your own feed data? (Via Feedburner or similar.)
Post a link to this on Twitter ↩


Harry Roberts 21 January 2009, 01:57 #1

Web Based (Netvibes)
Loads (>100)
Daily (Netvibes tab always open)
Yes (Favicons again)
No (Not sure why actually, might look into it)

Tim Van Damme 21 January 2009, 02:31 #2

Native on both desktop and iPhone
+5 times/day
Yes (folders and favicons)
Yes (Feedburner)

jaydee 21 January 2009, 02:38 #3

- Web based on my MBP, and with Byline on my iPhone, so technically I’m subscribed to lots of feeds twice (haven’t found a Google Reader desktop client I’m happy with). iPhone is great for casual reading, but for the lengthy articles I prefer to read on screen. – Approx 40. Quality > Quantity :) – First thing in the morning, usually not again. – Yes, via folders. – No, and not sure why either!

cole 21 January 2009, 03:47 #4

Web based (Google Reader)
Usually twice/day: once in morning and once in evening
Yes (folders)
Yes (Feedburner)

Scott Mallinson 21 January 2009, 04:22 #5

Google Reader, both full-fat web and semi-skimmed mobile versions
109 subscriptions
Daily, at around 4 hour intervals
Yes, either by writing style or Google Reader interface elements
Yes, FeedBurner

Andy 21 January 2009, 04:54 #6

NetNewsWire on desktop and iPhone
169 (after a recent cull of about 30)
Yes, folders ( and then favicons
Yes, Feedburner (but I’d love a better solution)

Søren Hugger Møller 21 January 2009, 04:58 #7

- Web based (Google Reader)

- Way too many. 100+ I think

- Often times daily

- To some degree – folders in Google Reader

- Yes, FeedBurner

Winnie Lim 21 January 2009, 05:19 #8

- Google Reader

- 315 till date

- every few minutes when I’m online

- Folders but not favicons

- Yes, through feedburner.

Shawn Blanc 21 January 2009, 05:35 #9

* I read with NetNewsWire.

* I’m currently subscribbed to 77 feeds, but I regularly read about 30 of those.

* I open NNW about 2 or 3 times a day.

* My feeds are easily identifiable via 3 different folders: News, 1st and 2nd. The feeds in the bews folder I skim. The feeds in the “1st” folder are the main sites I read (about 30). The feeds in the “2nd” folder I check periodically. And Favicons help a lot, too.

* My site’s feed is piped through Feedburner.

Chris 21 January 2009, 06:33 #10

1) It depends. On my Mac I use EventBox and away from the Mac I use Google Reader.
2) Subscribe to 45 feeds currently
3) WAY too much. Usually around 10 times a day, mostly because my home page is set to iGoogle
4) For the most part, but that may be due to my small number of subscriptions. Favicons are also very helpful
5) Yes, I use the BirdFeeder Mint to track that info

PS, very flatterred to see my favicon in your list! I wish I had either the skill to create a new one or the money to pay for a new one rather than make you have to look at my really small head!

Holden Page 21 January 2009, 14:26 #11

I use Google Reader.

Since I have so many feeds I have found that they organize it the best, I do cut down on the overload though with Feedscrub which has helped a lot and I read the rest later. Usually it does a good job of filtering.

Otherwise I mainly just skim until something catches my eye. I also love Google reader for its browser app, since I am on the go a lot.

Mike 21 January 2009, 18:20 #12

1. I use for RSS reading and treat it similar to reading e-mail. I tried Google Reader, but I found it to be unproductive following it while at work.
2. Roughly 65-70 feeds at home(too many to want to count) and roughly 8-10 at work.
3. In the morning, over lunch and usually after dinner. Mail is running constantly though… so occasionally when I get bored or need a break, I check then as well.
4. Not via icon, but I group them in folders. For the most part, I read them in a smart folder that dumps in all of my unread items.
5. Nope. I enjoy blogging, but it’s more for fun. I have Mint and Google Analytics that I barely check, so I don’t bother with the feed stats.

Adam Bramwell 22 January 2009, 13:55 #13

gReader with the aideRSS extension to filter down the high noise feeds works for me. The gReader “next” button is used for a folder of sites that simply must be visited outside of the feed reader, because they’re so beautiful. Of course, when they’re visited there’s no way to ‘mark as unread’ again, so i use laterloop for following up on pages that may be a bit meaty and require a second sitting.

I have around 250 feeds, and am trying out feedscrub on the waterpipe feeds like Techcrunch, that I had previously unsubscribed from because they’re so damn noisy!

Making the feeds identifiable within gReader with a greasemonkey script helps make them identifiable and lets the identity shine through.

Craig 26 January 2009, 04:29 #14

• Desk = Greader + Helvetireader, iPhone/touch = Greader plain.

• 20-ish. I only read what’s really important to me. I used to subscribe to many more but found that most posts are a waste of my time. I’m OK with manually visiting sites for updates.

• Work days = 10+, Weekends = 1-2.

• No. I use Greader’s “only display unread” feature and I only have 20-ish feeds so there’s no need.

• Yes. Feedburner. Although I never check the stats.

Gregory 27 January 2009, 02:05 #15

- Web based, but always click through to the site to read

- 30 ish (used to be 100+)

- Weekly

- Only really for those looking for them I think

- Yep, feedburner.

Would be nice to see all these results compiled mate, is that the plan?

Michael 27 January 2009, 11:15 #16

Google Reader
Once or twice a week
Yes, FeedStats

Commenting has closed for this article. Feel free to me.

Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.