Monitoring RSS Feeds
Posted by nick_niesen on November 1st, 2010
Measuring and tracking RSS while a fairly simple concept, is really anything but. Unlike websites, RSS have the added caveat of potential syndication, making accurate tracking a challenge to anyone but the extremely tech savvy.
It is not unrealistic for marketers to want to know how many subscribers they have, which items in their feeds attract the most interest, or how many click-throughs are generated as a result of an RSS feed.
There are a number of 3rd party providers who focus on tracking the consumption of RSS feeds. Some solutions are rudimentary but likely sufficient for a small business testing the waters with RSS. Other RSS tracking solutions are more complex and while they can come close to being accurate, with syndication there is no solution that tracks with 100% accuracy.
Techniques Used to track RSS Consumption
FeedBurner provides a free no frills service to host RSS feeds and they have been proactive in circumventing user concerns. Recently implementing a service that eases users concerns about migrating from FeedBurner. There is a 3 step process for users interested in migrating from FeedBurner's free service, implementing a permanent redirect, and url forwarding.
Details can be found at: http://www.burningdoorc.om/feedburner/archives/001251.html
Some publishers, who were concerned about lock-in or wanted to retain control of the domain and feed urls often resist a hosting service. The new program FeedBurner Partner Pro is not free, but allows for users to point to their own domain, retaining complete control of their feeds without sacrificing statistical tracking.
The downside to using a service like FeedBurner is that some filtering applications used on corporate proxy servers block feeds residing on FeedBurner or other free hosts.
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Companies Specializing in Tracking and RSS Metrics
Pheedo - Pheedo creates tools that enable individuals, organizations and corporations to promote, analyze, and optimize their weblogs and content.
SyndicateIQ - SyndicateIQ's position in the content distribution chain provides clients a set of analytics.
FeedBurner - FeedBurner offers a full range of services to help you build awareness, track circulation, and implement revenue-generating programs in your feed(s).
Each individual using RSS needs to make a decision of the extent and importance of the analytics they require. Realizing that any system they employ is not going to be perfect.
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