SURVEY: How’s My RSS Feed?

The new Managing Editor of CONTENTIOUS, Wasabi the Fierce, has commanded that I gather some sort of information about the utilization of this weblog’s RSS feed.

IF YOU RECEIVE THE CONTENTIOUS RSS FEED:
PLEASE TAKE THIS QUICK SURVEY.

…It’s very short (just five questions) and will only take you a few moments to complete. I will be summarizing results later in CONTENTIOUS.

NOTE: Please respond to the survey ONLY if you subscribe to (or have tried out) the CONTENTIOUS RSS feed. I’ll be conducting other surveys later to check utilization of my e-mail alerts, the format and content of this weblog, etc.

RESPOND NOW TO CAST YOUR VOTE! I’m trying out the free demo of the SurveyMonkey online survey tool (which looks great so far), and this demo version only allows me to collect 100 responses per survey. That should be enough for me to get a basic idea of how you like and use my RSS feed.

Why am I doing this? Measuring use of an RSS feed is a tricky matter – and that’s a key concern to online publishers, such as myself. There’s no way to tell how many people subscribe to an RSS feed. And if you watch traffic stats for your site, you can’t really tell how many people are using your feed by counting hits to the page that contains your feed (your RDF file), because a given feed reader or other content aggregator may check that file several times a day, yielding a vastly inflated impression of use.

Other RSS comments/questions? Please e-mail me or post a comment here.

Thanks!

2 thoughts on SURVEY: How’s My RSS Feed?

Comments are closed.

  1. Kathy wrote:

    “The other day I read an article by a guy who uses SiteMeter. He claims that Site Visits from Unknown (as opposed to a recognizable URL) represent visits from your RSS readers. That sounds pretty convincing, since every day I get about 420-430 Unknowns. The number is so consistent it seems like it could represent subscribers.”

    I would suspect this would account for only a portion of all site visits with no referral URL. The absence of a referral URL means (as far as I understand it) means simply that someone either typed in the URL directly, clicked a link in an e-mail message, or clicked a link in an RSS feed.

    Consequently, I get lots of “unknown” referrals whenever I send out a message to the CONTENTIOUS e-mail alert list.

    So I’d say no, that isn’t necessarily a reliable method for gauging use of your site’s RSS feed. It would be more reliable if your site offers no e-mail alerts, but it will always include people who click on links in your feed as well as anyone else who happened to get to your site by a means other than clicking on a link on a Web page.

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, CONTENTIOUS

  2. The other day I read an article by a guy who uses SiteMeter. He claims that Site Visits from Unknown (as opposed to a recognizable URL) represent visits from your RSS readers. That sounds pretty convincing, since every day I get about 420-430 Unknowns. The number is so consistent it seems like it could represent subscribers.

    I read way too many newsletters and forget who wrote this but can try to track it down…

    Anybody?