inessential by Brent Simmons

RSS Readers Other than Google Reader Are Under-Reported in Your Logs

Here’s something website owners should realize:

You might look at your logs and find that Google Reader reports 100,000 subscribers. (For instance.)

And then you look and find that clients apps X, Y, and Z don’t seem to hit your feed all that often.

The easy conclusion is that Google Reader has thousands more users than X, Y, and Z. But that wouldn’t necessarily be correct.

Here’s Why

If X uses Google Reader for syncing, then X doesn’t read your feed directly. It gets it from Google Reader, and that person is reported to you under the Google Reader subscription count.

So it’s possible that half — or whatever — of those Google Reader subscribers are using X. (Or Y or Z.)

Or not. Or more than half.

You just have no way of knowing. But it’s a safe bet that more people are using client apps than your logs report.