I immediately thought of that great Monty Python skit when I read a series of posts in the past week declaring RSS “dead.”
If you look at the number of refers/visits coming from RSS, you might conclude that services like Facebook and Twitter are taking over the role of content syndication from RSS. That’s essentially what MG Siegler concludes by looking at TechCrunch data in this post.
But as some of the commenters on that TechCrunch post point out, many RSS users consume the content in the reader and don’t click through. That’s certainly what goes on with AVC content. Here are AVC’s Feedburner stats for the past 30 days:
The blue line is “reach” meaning the number of unique people every day who open an AVC post in their RSS reader. It was almost 10k yesterday and it averaged 7,730 per day over the past month.
Here is AVC’s Web traffic over the same period:
So AVC averages about the same number of Web visits every day that it gets RSS opens (about 7,500 per day).
Not dead yet.
A few other things worth noting. The direct visits of ~80k per month include a substantial amount of Twitter third party client traffic that doesn’t report to Google Analytics as Twitter traffic. That’s been a missing piece of the analytics picture for a long time and I wish someone (Twitter and Google??) would fix it.
AVC gets about 2,500 visits a day from RSS. That means about 1/3 of the people who open a post in their reader end up clicking through and visiting the blog. I suspect the desire to engage in the comments drives that.
The twin tech news aggregators, Techmeme, and Hacker News, drive a ton of traffic to AVC. Thanks Paul and Gabe!
Bottom line is that RSS is alive and well in the AVC community. While I do agree that Twitter and Facebook have gained significantly in terms of driving traffic across the Web, for technology oriented audiences, RSS is still a critically important distribution platform and is very much alive and well.