Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Trackable RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are certainly growing in popularity. One of the problems with RSS feeds that it’s hard to differentiate between individuals who may have subscribed to your RSS feed and existing subscribers who are refreshing your feed in their RSS reader.

In effect, both the subscriber and the refresher are all accounted as “hits” or “page views” on your RSS feed.

To give an example, if my RSS feed link got 20,000 hits yesterday, that could be 20,000 people accessing the feed once, 1 person accessing the feed 20,000 times or more likely something in between. It’s not very accurate.

At the highest level of course you can track the absolute number and make assumptions based on the growth or decline of hits on your RSS feed link, but it’s not very accurate, making it unique in an online world where you can track content and visits far more accurately than in the “real world”.

So when I read that IMN Inc (formerly iMakeNews) have announced (PDF only) a trackable RSS feed service I was intrigued. A way of tracking RSS success.  Fantastic.

However, when I went to their site, and from the story in ClickZ it seems that all they do is publish your content to an RSS feed and count the hits.

“We’ve encoded all the links — usually with an RSS feed you get a subject of an article and a link. Every link provided is a unique trackable link. When you open up the feed we know it. Every time you refresh the feed we count it. And when you click to read a particular article we register that,” Goodwin said.

That’s not exactly pushing the technological envelope on RSS measurement then…. unless I am misunderstanding it.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 25, 2004 at 1:40 pm

Posted in General

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