Ramin Hossaini

Use Google Reader to find out rough estimate of RSS subscribers


RSS has been becoming an increasingly popular part of Web-based applications and services. For example, Flickr provides an RSS for your photo-stream and even a user’s favourites.

Many webmasters will know just how useful FeedBurner can be to get an accurate picture of their subscribers. Using FeedBurner means that you’ll have to display a specific-to-you FeedBurner address so that it can gather statistics (e.g. http://feeds2.feedburner.com/RaminHossaini) You can’t really use FeedBurner though for services like Flickr, because you have no real control of what the RSS-feed-address displayed to users on your Flickr page is (unless of course, you’re advertising your RSS feed on a website of your own). The “hack” described below could help:

First, start out by subscribing to the RSS feed:


Next, click on the feed to view it then click on the “show details” link in the top-right corner:


You can then see how many people are using Google Reader to subscribe to the RSS feed:


This would obviously only be part of your subscriber-base. If you’re happy with just approximating it, have a look at how much of a market share Google Reader has (I’ve looked at a couple of statistics and it seems to be roughly 60% at the moment) and use that to calculate the unknown number of subscribers.

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