We all know Google Reader was shut down at the beginning of July.
Users at first panicked. Then they (we) pleaded Google to keep Reader open. We failed. Life went on.
Some users simply stopped using feed readers altogether, but I think that’s a minority. Others switched to another product. Personally I find Feedbin + Press satisfying. In general, a somewhat wide range of feed readers flourished. I believe a whole new market was created. I’m shelling a whopping 2 $/month for Feedbin.
And then this happened:
The chart sucks, but it’s the best I can get out of FeedBurner. Anyway, notice the spike there? That’s around July 1st, when Google Reader was shut down. And let me be clear, that’s not a sudden surge in subscribers to this modest blog. It’s simply a variety of feed readers accessing the RSS feed. New, unknown feed readers. Feed readers unknown to FeedBurner.
Google Reader used to report the number of subscribers to each feed. I couldn’t find how, as it doesn’t seem to be documented anywhere, but it did report such numbers, I suspect simply via the User Agent HTTP header. Now that Google Reader is gone, subscriber stats reported by FeedBurner are (even more) inaccurate, also because other web-based feed readers seldom report subscriber counts.
To be totally honest, Feedbin does report the number of subscribers via its UserAgent, but I checked others by logging HTTP requests – Feedly, Digg Reader and The Old Reader – and none reports subscriber stats.
Summing everything up – inaccurate stats, no updates – we can safely predict that FeedBurner won’t last much longer.
I will act accordingly.
Update 2013/08/15: upon further investigation it looks like The Old Reader does report subscriber count. NewsBlur also does.