RSS reader market share

I’ve seen a number of posts lately in which the market share of RSS readers is determined by the number of hits the author sees from each RSS reader in his or her server logs, and while FeedDemon is always ranked near the top, I can’t help but point out how flawed this method is. For starters, FeedDemon defaults to updating feeds – that is, checking for new items – every three hours, whereas many RSS readers default to updating every single hour. And unlike a number of RSS readers, FeedDemon honors the feed’s <ttl>, so that the feed’s author can specify how often it’s updated. A large number of feeds (including some of my own) specify a <ttl> of 1440 minutes, so that the feed is updated once a day rather than once an hour.

Perhaps more importantly, FeedDemon only automatically updates feeds in the current channel group. This approach has caused some controversy with a handful of customers, but I stand by this design. Before creating FeedDemon I studied existing RSS readers, and it struck me how bandwidth-unfriendly many of them were. In my opinion, having a huge treeview of feeds that are constantly updating is wasteful – not only does it unnecessarily consume bandwidth, but it also slows down the application. It makes far more sense to me to regularly update only the feeds you regularly read.

In other words, a well-behaved RSS reader like FeedDemon is designed not to hit your server very frequently – so basing RSS reader market share on your server logs is wildly inaccurate.

8 thoughts on “RSS reader market share

  1. “…HAVING A HUGE TREEVIEW OF FEEDS THAT ARE CONSTANTLY UPDATING IS WASTEFUL – NOT ONLY DOES IT UNNECESSARILY CONSUME BANDWIDTH, BUT IT ALSO SLOWS DOWN THE APPLICATION.”
    This is true in this way: more and more sites are trimming their RSS feeds to headlines and/or short descriptions only to combat server drag by RSS readers, thus sending you to their sites anyway, which for some defeats the purpose of RSS. But then, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

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  2. Organizing Feeds

    While discussing RSS reader market share, Nick hits on something that has bothered me about FeedDemon: Perhaps more importantly, FeedDemon only automatically updates feeds in the current channel group. … It makes far more sense to me to regularly…

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  3. I use Feedburner for my feed stats. They track the number of individual readers each day using the agent strings and IP addresses to identify unique people.
    It’s not a perfect method either but better than just counting hits. Anyway out of the 253 people who have read my blog today 49 were using Bloglines, 29 were using FeedDemon, 22 on Firefox Live Bookmarks, 18 RSS Bandit, 17 SharpReader, 15 NetNewsWire, 15 Newsgator and then all the rest.
    That’s pretty typical. Bloglines is always at the top since it tells me how many people are subscribed as opposed to how many people actually read it that day. The rest jump around a little but FeedDemon is almost always 2nd or 3rd.

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  4. We know this (the smarter people at least).
    Use use FeedDemon locally and Bloglines when away (not willing to have my mobile ripped off just yet) and they are a perfect partner!

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  5. I´m not sure what statistics regarding Bloglines mean since this services works as a proxy for several dozens, hundreds or thousands users reading the same feed.
    Additional, guessing on market share by determining the number of hits the author sees from each RSS reader in his or her server logs can´t be the solution either, because each authors weblog/RSS feed is read by his/her customers – certainly in a significant higher percentage than by users of other software.

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  6. I agree with your point about updating all feeds taking up excessive bandwith, however it does present one problem. There are a few feed groups I have that I check on somewhat rarely, but that when I do read them I like to go through and see all the posts. Some sites limit their feed to the last 10 items, or the last day, so by the time I get to check them, I have gaps that cannot be recovered.
    To get around this problem, once I a week I generally iterate through all of my groups to update them minimally.
    What I would really like is actually to have an option where feed demon will update all of the groups, but only with a large interval. So for example every 5 days or every week or something. That, for me would address both the bandwith and update problems.

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  7. I agree with your point about updating all feeds taking up excessive bandwith, however it does present one problem. There are a few feed groups I have that I check on somewhat rarely, but that when I do read them I like to go through and see all the posts. Some sites limit their feed to the last 10 items, or the last day, so by the time I get to check them, I have gaps that cannot be recovered.
    To get around this problem, once I a week I generally iterate through all of my groups to update them minimally.
    What I would really like is actually to have an option where feed demon will update all of the groups, but only with a large interval. So for example every 5 days or every week or something. That, for me would address both the bandwith and update problems.

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