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Know Your Newsfeed Subscribers

Some people who publish blogs spend as much time tracking who is viewing their blogs, as actually maintaining and publishing their blogs. Recognising that newsfeeds (accessed directly from a feed reader, or from Following your blog) are a key tool in satisfying existing readers and hopefully getting new readers, many blog owners eventually ask
How do I track who has subscribed to my RSS feed?

Here, we have to provide some bad news. The different viewers of your blog - Followers, readers, and subscribers - have differing access to your blog, and you have differing ability to track your different viewers.

One of the advantages of using a newsfeed to read a blog, for those readers who wish to be anonymous, is anonymity. Access to the Atom or RSS feeds, in your blog, is not tracked as browser access is tracked. And that's good news for the reader who values anonymity - but it's bad news for the blog owners.

There is no tracking of the native Blogger blog feed, such that you, the blog owner, can track your subscribers. If you redirect your blog feed through FeedBurner, people who subscribe to the FeedBurner feed can be counted - but only in a tally of posts read. You cannot see a visitor log, such as what you would examine in SiteMeter or StatCounter - or even aggregated demographic statistics that you can get from FlagCounter or Blogger Stats.

If you seek anonymity in reading a blog, a newsfeed subscription is what you are looking for. And if you're a blog owner, you can publish a blog feed, which will make your readers happy - and possibly get you more readers - but you're not going to have a visitor log or statistics display to watch.

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