In "Forget RSS, We Got Bigger Issues" on BrandAutopsy the blog readership versus RSS trend is highlighted. This is in reference to this blog poll on the WSJ site. Polls of course being the fodder of the public relations professions for quite some time now.
For this particular post there are numerous types of arguments to be made, and one common tactic is to debate two opposing points as if they were opposing elements, and therefore side step other issues that relate. I am not suggesting this was done in a malicious way in the RSS to Blog Readership debate, I am just emphasizing the point that RSS and Blogs are not even close to a 50% correlation although I don’t actually have that number. RSS started with news as I understand it, was adopted by Blogs thank heaven (I would be LOST without www.bloglines.com for example). So to correlate blogs to rss you would have to somehow source all news or other informational sources and exclude them to get the true correlation of RSS to blog readership.
The graph below is an example of the growth of RSS as we see it in our client base. This is one snapshot, from one client, with all names removed. And I definitely picked one that I knew was growing rapidly in RSS utilization. So statistically this is completely biased, but relevant. The RSS graph below is showing not site traffic, or hits or visits, but JUST RSS pulls as measured by our software Tendenci that powers other web sites.
It is important to note that while Tendenci has a ton of functionality, one thing it does NOT have yet is a blog module (11-2005). So the RSS pulls to the rights are on news, articles, jobs, calendar events, basically anything BUT blogs for mostly organizations. And note over 32k rss pulls last month in this particular site graph.
What also intrigues me is what got in the water four or five months ago that caused RSS to hit a tipping point. The functionality has been in our software for over a year and a half, but one day it just took off requiring us to rush for additional server purchases!
And for one final wild card, I am just full of questions and few answers today, sorry, but the final wild card is that several months ago Google and Yahoo (Slurp) bots became very-very-interested in the RSS feeds on our client sites. I know this because we also have an search engine optimization division that monitors these trends. So to get accurate usage of rss you would also have to conduct surveys that excluded automated traffic from RSS data.