Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Exploding your RSS readership

Here’s a little technique I won’t be implementing on this blog. But is very white hat and very legit to do.

RSS readership is important to any blogger that is looking for mass exposure.  By raising your RSS readership you get the wonderful opportunity to charge more to advertisers because more people will see your blog on a regular basis.

…So have you noticed lately that the big boys like John Chow and Shoe Money are popping up a window in your face?

John Chow made a blog post a few weeks back on aweber and how they interface with feedburner stats. Basically what happens is when a person signs up with something on aweber it will automatically subscript the person to the RSS feed.  Your aweber broadcasts the RSS feed to your readers.  The problem with this is that it reall does inflate the numbers.  Imagine that you have 10k people sign up with the RSS feed.  Now pop up a window in front of them so that they can get a free ebook…

Do you see the problem? People are signing up for an RSS feed 2 times. The first time on purpose and the second time to get some sort of incentive.    While this method is really kool but it is also a bad way to tell real RSS readership numbers.  However… if the blogger is also posting his aweber sign up numbers then you can just subtract that number from the feedburner count and you are good to go.

** Oh as a side note… if you are on someones blog and you want to know their feedburner count cause they aren’t showing it you can always ad ~fc like this:     The actual link looks like this: so just add that little ~fc and your good to see their information.  This doesn’t work on all accounts as some people have the feature blocked.

So now you know how the big boys do it.  Give away an ebook and auto subscribe people to your feeds!

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25 Responses

November 6, 2008

I personally don’t see why someone would want to inflate their numbers other than to feed their own ego and make it seem like they are more important than they really are.

Oh yeah, I’ve not noticed this because honestly I don’t visit their sites…

November 6, 2008

lol Good choice… John Chow basically talks about what he has eaten and Shoemoney talks about industry news… Both boring topics when you want to learn actual techniques for making money…

November 7, 2008

Good tip on the finding how many RSS Subs the people have. Never knew that before.

November 7, 2008

I was unaware that you could view a person’s Feedburner count. Thanks for sharing that. I definitely can see the value in increasing your RSS numbers for advertising sales. Thank you for sharing this info!

November 10, 2008

Wait, if you’re getting the same people to sign up multiple times it’s not actually increasing readership right? So it’s just a technique to charge more for flat-rate advertising?

November 10, 2008

@Scott: Social proof. Like you said, it’s a way of increasing importance. People follow leaders. Advertisers follow people.

November 11, 2008

Totally true. RSS feeds can increase readership significantly as it builds reader loyalty and referals from your subscribed readers sharing it with their friends.

November 11, 2008

I knew about how Aweber automaticallly subscribes you to the blog’s feed and actually believe this to be an outstanding feature, but never thought about the unscrupulous ways this could be used.

Things aren’t always as they seem…hmmm :?:

November 11, 2008

I’ve been in the habit of checking the code to see if they’re using a locally hosted image. Boring blogs I’ve never heard of having thousands of readers…

Great tip with the “~fc” trick.

November 13, 2008

Do you think people will unsubscribe when they get the duplicate content?

November 13, 2008

I’m glad i read this kind of blog, thanks for the knowledge, just keep on track

November 15, 2008

@Mike Yea, I’ve found a few blogs in the past where their posted feedburner stats image was hosted on their own site.

November 19, 2008

RSS subscribers as a metric? Pfft….

IMO, leader set the standards, sheep follow the leaders.

Rather than try to tie your “popularity” or competence to an arbitrary number, given the randomness of some of these stats, it’s better to use a more relevant metric like ROI or net profits to measure the worth of your biz or your blog.

You could have 500,000 feed subscribers, but if you’re struggling to meet your hosting costs, you have a problem bigger than a piddly adsense or blog ads check could solve…

Think long term and you’ll come out alright.

November 19, 2008

@andrew wee: Good comment!

November 22, 2008

The drawback is this service is not free

November 23, 2008


It’s a little short-sighted to look at a product or service in terms of cost only.

If something costs $1,000 per year, but brings me $20,000 of profit, you can bet your last dollar I’m going to use that and even pay more if it can be even more effective.

Any business owner will be smart enough to realize that it’s return on investment, rather than just cost alone that determines the value of a product or service.

November 24, 2008

Good catch.

Like you said, the main reason to inflate your numbers is to get advertisers and be able to charge more per ad.

November 28, 2008

@Andrew Wee: You’re right but struggling affiliates who haven’t seen a penny in profit – like most newcomer affiliates find it a bit difficult to cough up such a hefty amount for a newsletter service and besides they may not know how to properly utilize it.

November 28, 2008


If you are trying to start any kind of business without any budget, that’s unrealistic.

You need to have SOME capital to start with.

I’m sure people have enough resources to pick up a new skill.

November 30, 2008

@andrew wee: of course if I know that tool will bring me profit, I will completely buy it.

But what do you do if it’s a new tool? Do you want to give it a try?

November 30, 2008

@andrew wee: I don’t think so. We can make money online without spending any pennies.

The catch is we can’t get rich without doing investment :)

November 30, 2008

@themelib – I will test out every product and service out there, expecting that some will work, while many will not work.

It’s the marketer who’s spending time research and understanding and improving his or her marketing campaigns who’s going to win the race.

November 30, 2008

@themelib – you can try to run a business without any money, but you sure will pay in the time taken.

I value my time.

November 30, 2008

I will test out every product and service out there, expecting that some will work, while many will not work.

Do you think you will be broke before getting your money back? Please remember that you must pay the for the services :)

November 30, 2008

you can try to run a business without any money, but you sure will pay in the time taken.

Agree :)

Yep, we must make a choice, time or money