Can Someone Finally Explain Feedburner to Me?

On from Web Analytics

OK, I’m throwing the towel.

Dear readers (how many of you are really out there??), is anyone among you able to explain to me how the Feedburner stats work? Following daily the numbers of my blogs, I have come to understand that the displayed number of subscribers was based on how many readers connected each day. Well, is it? I have noticed that, on weekends (and holidays), the number could go down a lot, making me think that many subscribers were connecting from work. Made sense. So, I quickly realized that it was not because people were actually unsubscribing (although I am not naive enough to believe nobody has!). The number of subscribers would still slowly go up month after month.

But now, I don’t get it. The number went down by half some time ago, to sharply go up again, and back down by half (114 on time of writing). It’s been there for days now, making me depressed. Or should I be?

Here’s the graph for the last 30 days:

I know something is fishy with Feedburner. One of my blogs, the too neglected The Big Integration, is supposed to have between 0 and 2 subscribers. I know it’s way more, because I personally know about a dozen (unless they all lied when they confirmed receiving my feeds), and each time I talk about WebTrends, about 25 people visit from the company on the same day. How would they know if they hadn’t subscribed?

So, please, help me make sense of this nonsense!!

What am I missing (besides brains)?

Tags: , feedburner

10 responses to “Can Someone Finally Explain Feedburner to Me?

  1. Hi Jacques,

    Google Alerts. That’s how we know to come visit you. (It’s what got me here just now.) 😉

    Best regards,

    Aaron Gray

    PS: RE: Your Big Integration post on WT…WebTrends is doing quite well, actually. Last quarter was a record quarter for us. Stay tuned. But know that, indeed, we are listening to our customers.

  2. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks! Shall I conclude that you’re not subscribing to my feeds? If so, I encourage you to do!

    Yes, since those posts, the news about WebTrends has been better, or let’s say more transparent. So many rumors were going around when Greg & co. were fired.

    I am about to post on TBI about the lack of information out there about Visitor Intelligene and Score. As a consultant, I was in Las Vegas for the product launch, got very excited (see my account then), but haven’t been able to get any more information from you guys.

    Thanks again for your input. Anyone out there with a deep understanding of Feedburner?

  3. Feedburner stats can drop dramatically for a couple reasons, even if your subscriber number is the same –

    Sometimes Feedburner leaves out the Google Reader stats by accident and for most people that’s a 30%+ chunk


    You haven’t posted in a while so people aren’t accessing your blog daily any more. It’s based on daily reads through feeds.

    Or there could be a technical problem that has mangled up your feed and people have unsubscribed. It’s a good idea to subscribe to yourself so you can see if things display properly, etc.

  4. My Feedburner stats are hosed, too, Jacques. I’ve got similar issues with the subscriber numbers dropping dramatically and then popping back up for no good reason.

    As bloggers I think we all ought to track new subscribers and unsubscribers as success measures, but we can’t because the numbers are so sketchy. Hopefully this will improve in the future. Until then, I don’t even think we should bother.

    — June

    PS I subscribe by RSS to this blog and The Big Integration.

  5. Linda:Great!! Thanks for the tips! I knew writing this post would get me some help! I guess I could be accused of negligence here; I haven’t posted as much as I should have. I’ll also try to figure out the technical situation you mention.

    June: Ah ha!! There’s a subscriber right there! Well, I guess I shouldn’t bother because of the instability you mention, but I’m human, and I like big numbers! I am happy (?) though to know that I am not alone with that problem.

    Thanks both for your input.

  6. Jacques,
    I am too searching for the same answer. This needs to be taken seriously and solved by the vendors, or provide valid arguments for the happening.
    I am hoping, someone is going to answer.

    Thanks for the post Jacques.


  7. Hi Bhupendra,

    Yes, and let’s not forget Google bought Feedburner a few months ago, but we haven’t seen any effect of that. Obviously, they want to integrate it to Google Analytics to provide feed subscription stats. However, they will certainly have to better explain to us how reliable (or not) those numbes are.

    Thanks for your comment.

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