Home Combined Subscriber Stats for Aliased RSS Feeds

Combined Subscriber Stats for Aliased RSS Feeds

This is a copy of a suggestion I’ve just sent to Bloglines Support. It was inspired by
a Feedburner Forums thread
I started a few days ago, regarding whether Feedburner was counting all of my RSS feeds in
their statistics. Turned out they weren’t and there was indeed an issue “with online
aggregators when you have multiple aliases to a single feed”. Feedburner was already
working on it at the time I started the Forum thread. Happily, it’s now been solved and
so it got me to thinking: Bloglines has the same issue with their subscriber stats, so
can’t they solve it too? I’ve emailed them before about it and blogged it here. Here’s my
follow-up which I sent to them today:

Hi, I am writing regarding your Subscriber stats functionality in Bloglines. There is
one major problem with it. If a blog has multiple RSS feeds, then for each user the
Bloglines subscriber count only displays the stats related to the feed subscribed to.
That is, Bloglines *does not* aggregate the stats for all of a blog’s feeds and display a
total count of subscribers. I call this a feed-centered stats service, whereas what most
people want is a blog-centered one. More on that here:

It’s very common these days to have multiple feeds for a single blog – a typical blog
could have feeds for RSS 2.0, RSS 1.0, Atom, and now Feedburner. I’ve emailed you before
about this issue, but I’d like to point you to a recent Feedburner Forums thread in which
Feedburner has solved it: http://forums.feedburner.com/viewtopic/?p=273

As an example, I now have 3 RSS feeds for my blog Read/Write Web – including a
Feedburner one which I started (ironically perhaps) to get better stats. So my blog’s
subscribers are spread over those 3 feeds, which Feedburner now correctly tracks as one
(after they fixed the issue with aliases).

A more prominant example is Boing Boing, which
has a new Feedburner feed and they’re using it as their main feed now. I subscribed to
the new Feedburner-powered one and it currently displays in Bloglines as having 36
subscribers. Of course their old feed has well over 12,000 Bloglines subscribers. It may
not be a big deal, but in the interests of accuracy wouldn’t it be a whole lot better if
Bloglines counted *all* of Boing Boing’s feeds in your Subcriber count for them that you display?

(nb: Boing Boing illustrates some other issues with blog stats – e.g. there are “lite”
versions of their feed available elsewhere and it’s possible to create category and
filtered feeds for Boing Boing. But one thing at a time, let’s solve the issue with
aliases first 🙂

So, in summary I’d like to once again request that Bloglines takes the number of
subscribers on the RSS feed a user subscribes to and combines that with the number of
subscribers on alias versions of that same feed. Thus giving a blog-centered subscriber

It shouldn’t be that hard to do, because you already know which feeds belong to a
single blog. e.g. when you click on “Add” and enter a blog’s homepage URL into the
subscribe field, Bloglines then presents the user with a list of that blog’s feeds to
select from. So you already have the grouping of feeds for a single blog done.

I realise you have more important things to develop, but it’d be great if you could
solve this one issue with your Subscriber stats functionality. Feedburner has solved it
now, so perhaps you two innovative Web 2.0 up-and-coming companies (both of which I’m a
big fan of) can swap emails about it?

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