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How Many RSS Feeds Really Matter?

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Everyday we read estimates of the total number of blogs and feeds out there. Of course, we rarely get solid definitions of just what a blog is. Does every feed belong to a blog? Do blogs or feeds that haven't been updated in x amount of time count? Do all the sites that post totals use the same criteria? I'm sure you've asked these and other questions. Just like total the database sizes that we see from some web engines, total blog and feed numbers are primarily marketing tools.

Jim Lanzone, Senior Vice President of Search Properties at Ask Jeeves, has just posted some interesting numbers and graphs on the Ask.com Blog that reveal the total number of feeds that have at least one subscriber who access the feed with Bloglines.

Lanzone believes this is a more accurate number of the total amount of feeds since someone has taken the time to subscribe to it. He calls these, "feeds that matter."

According to Bloglines members around the world, 1,121,655 feeds ?matter? to date. Note this includes only content feeds tracked, and not topics tracked via ?saved? or ?persistent? searches using the Bloglines service.

Findory's Greg Linden adds an excellent comment to the post saying that a feed might need more than a single to subscriber to really "matter." He thinks 20 subscribers might be a better number to use. I think Greg makes an excellent point. Lanzone promises more breakdowns in the near future. I would also like to see how many of these 1 million plus feeds are updated at least once or twice a month.

I'll add that in some cases Bloglines has more than one feed listed for the same blog. I can speak from experience on this one since Bloglines currently lists seven feeds (one official, others unofficial, several broken) for my ResourceShelf site. All of these feeds have at least one subscriber.

Bottom Line? This post is worthy of your attention and, at the least, helps to provide a more realistic idea about the number of feeds out there.


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