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Who is consuming our RSS feeds

how to find out?

   
9:30 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



How can you find out which other websites are consuming your RSS feeds?

Is there a special way of searching on Google for this, or should you just enter the URL of your feed in the search box?

12:35 am on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



There are several ways to do this. A lot of people use 3rd party services like FeedBurner to track these sorts of details.

Here is a good older thread that describes some ways to track feeds:

  • How do you track RSS subscriptions? [webmasterworld.com]
  • 2:45 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Thanks for the link Bill :)

    Our stats package is tagging based and doesn't have the facility to track RSS feeds unfortunately. We're in the market for a new stats package though, so I'll add that to the desirables list.

    FeedBurner looks interesting so I've signed our feeds up. I'm not sure I understand where the stats come from though - is it just from popular sites which allow you to personalize and add feeds like Windows Live and Google? And does it get information from other places as well e.g. popular desktop feed readers?

    Presumably FeedBurner wouldn't capture information from less popular websites using your feeds though e.g. a hobby site, you'd need to do that through your stats package?

    5:24 am on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



    Actually services like FeedBurner will capture all your feed traffic because they're serving up your feeds for you. All the traffic from the feed goes through their systems and their tracking. It's quite accurate.

    My suggestion when using a service like this is to make your real RSS feed a 302 redirect so that if you ever decide to part company with the service your real RSS URI won't be pointing to the old service, and you won't inconvenience your subscribers.

    9:42 am on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Actually services like FeedBurner will capture all your feed traffic because they're serving up your feeds for you. All the traffic from the feed goes through their systems and their tracking. It's quite accurate.

    Sorry if I'm being dense, but I don't understand this part. My feeds have not changed or moved, and are still served from our site, not FeedBurner's. Can you elaborate?

    2:32 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



    From the FeedBurner FAQ [forums.feedburner.com]:

    In a sense, the FeedBurner version of your feed becomes the public view of your syndicated content, and your original feed becomes a private feed that only you and FeedBurner know about.
    11:36 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Thanks for the link Bill.

    OK, I think I get it now, I have to only publicise the FeedBurner version of the URL, and not my original version, in order for the tracking to work?

    11:50 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member digitalghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



    >>I have to only publicise the FeedBurner version of the URL, and not my original version, in order for the tracking to work

    Exactly. Just remove the link to the original feed so that future subscribers have to subscribe using FeedBurner. Don't kill the original feed unless you alert your subscribers and give them time to switch.

    12:22 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Thanks for the info, guys :)

    Perhaps I'm particularly dense, but it took me a while to realise that's how it works. The instructions on the FeedBurner site don't seem very clear, they don't explain this part.

    1:45 am on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



    I agree that they're not too clear on this point in their instructions. They might want to emphasize this a bit more.

    Here's the way I use it on my sites:

    1. Take your original feed (
      feed.xml
      ) and rename it (
      originalfeed.xml
      )
    2. Setup your FeedBurner feed to read off
      originalfeed.xml

    3. Do a 302 redirect from your original feed address (
      feed.xml
      ) and point it toward FeedBurner
      • .htaccess
      • Redirect temp /feed.xml http://feeds.feedburner.com/YourNewFeedBurnerFeed
      This way if you ever want to leave FeedBurner and use another service all your subscriber's aggregators will still be pointing to your site's URI. You just remove the 302 redirect and point it to the new service.
    3:53 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Thanks for the tip Bill.

    Another issue I've just come across is that the 'burned' versions of our feeds use FeedBurners own stylesheet. We want to use our own however. Is there a way to get around this, or is this 'the catch'?

    12:58 am on Mar 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



    You're talking about the CSS and formatting they use to make your feed look pretty if someone follows the XML feed URI? That's a service they provide called BrowserFriendly. You can add images and logos to that to personalize it a bit, but I wouldn't waste too much time on it.

    Feeds are consumed by aggregators, not browsers for the most-part. The aggregators pulling in your XML content don't look at the CSS and formatting that you're seeing at all. Generally the only thing you can do to customize the look of your feed is to add graphics to your entries.

    The fact that FeedBurner makes a nice browsable page out of your RSS should not distract you from the purpose of your feed, which is to get information out in an XML format. It's not really meant to be read in a page format like FeedBurner presents. That's just a nice extra service on their part.

    The BrowserFriendly service even has a disclaimer there that says:

    This is an XML content feed. It is intended to be viewed in a newsreader or syndicated to another site, subject to copyright and fair use.
    11:29 am on Mar 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Feeds are consumed by aggregators, not browsers for the most-part.

    That's a good point, and one I'll try and keep in mind. I think a fair amount of users do simply click the link and stumble on the feed itself however.

    We were just concerned that it might look more professional to have our own company stylesheet rather than that of a third party, and our own choice of buttons to add the feed to various feed readers.

    A further bit of research however seems to suggest that IE7 jumps in with it's own stylesheet for RSS and ignores any which may have been created anyway, as does Firefox. If this is the way most new browsers are going, I guess this is a moot point.

    4:46 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    You can automatically redirect all feeds (rss, atom) on your site to feedburner.

    In feedburner control panel, you can see amount of subscribers, where they are coming from e.g. google reader. etc.

    10:11 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    OK, I think I'm ready to put my 302 redirects in place.

    How do I do this with an xml file? Is it simply a standard xml <redirect>, or should I be doing an IIS redirect?

    10:42 am on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



    I normally use an .htaccess file for my redirect needs. There are several ways to accomplish a redirect on IIS. As long as your original file is returning the 302 in the server headers then you should be fine.
     

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