Google’s Feed Reader Market Share is Huge

A lot of bloggers who use FeedBurner got a nice surprise this morning. One of the great features of FeedBurner is the stats they provide on the number of readers of a given RSS feed. The only problem is that for web-based newsreaders/aggregators they rely upon those services to report the number of actual subscribers to each feed. Some aggregators have been reporting the actual subscriber counts for years while others, like Google, have not. Yesterday Google announced that they were getting with the program and reporting actual subscriber counts from Google Reader as well as Google Personalized Homepage. (Here’s FeedBurner’s announcement.)

Here’s what happened to my subscriber count. On Thursday, before Google flipped the switch, FeedBurner reported 3,075 subscribers for my feed:

And this morning’s numbers with an additional 1,065 subscribers via Google Reader and Google Personalized Homepage:

What’s interesting about this to me is that there’s been much talk about how Google supposedly hasn’t been making a dent in Bloglines‘ dominance of the newsreader market. Pretty much since day one Bloglines has been the #1 reader used by my subs (or so I thought — and Netvibes has been racing toward that #1 spot lately). Hitwise, which is sort of a Neilsen ratings firm for the internet, recently released a report claiming that Google Reader has only 1/13 the market share of Bloglines.

I’ve long known that these measurement firms’ data can be garbage (like the well-known issues with Alexa) so I was reluctant to put too much stock in that Hitwise report. But I also had no other data to tell me that they were wrong, because after all, my FeedBurner numbers jibed with the Hitwise report. Well after today I think Hitwise may need to revisit their techniques. I hate to extrapolate too much from just my feed but it seems clear to me that Google Reader has much more that one-thirteenth the market share of Bloglines. So let’s see what some other bloggers are reporting:

Parent Hacks’ numbers more than doubled:

I almost spit my orange juice onto my keyboard this morning…. Friday: about 5100 subscribers — Saturday: about 12,900 subscribers

John Chow reports:

…my RSS readership went from 2000+ to 3000+ virtually overnight. [SNIP] Judging by the increased RSS number, it looks like Google Reader accounts for 1/3 of all my RSS subscribers. That’s a pretty significant chunk!

Techbits, after getting a 50% subscriber count jump, asks if Google Reader is Bigger than Bloglines

Quick Online Tips reports a doubling of their numbers:

I expected an increase, but to my surprise our feed count has doubled. Our feedburner count was hovering over 4000 subscribers till a few days back, and today it is showing over 8000 subscribers.

I analyzed my feed readers and it seems around 50% of our readers use Google Reader! Previously Bloglines constituted most of our readers by a wide margin.

/Message reports a Big Spike In Feedburner Subscribers:

the number of subscribers to the feed went up 700+ yesterday: a 34% increase in one day.

Google Operating System was shocked at their numbers today. They show 19,768 subs via Google. Netvibes was next with 2,598 followed by Bloglines with 1,812. They also raised a good question about Yahoo’s numbers, which I also don’t trust.

Daily Blog Tips did some tracking of readers for some popular blogs:

The changes range from 30% to 50% in the total number of RSS subscriber depending on the number of Google subscribers that you had prior to the update. Below you will find some numbers that I managed to track:

I think you get the idea. Sure some of my “newfound” Google subs are using Google Personalized Homepage and not Google Reader, which is what Hitwise measured but the one-thirteenth number seems very unlikely to me now.

It’s a good thing we’re out of the web 1.0 bubble days when internet companies were valued based partly on the screwy data of these metrics companies. 🙂


  1. Posted by kevin on February 17, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Good post Mike, I wasn’t aware of this…Thanks


  2. Posted by Alexandre Fugita - Techbits on February 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    I just thought: wow, what happened?! near 50% increase… and then throw all blogosphere people were reporting about Google Reader finally giving readers stats. Nice!

    ps: thanks for the link!

  3. Posted by Michael on February 17, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    You’re welcome guys.

  4. Posted by Declan Fallon on February 17, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    From 47 to 56



    (Gotta start somewhere…)

  5. Posted by C. Maoxian on February 17, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Nice post, Mike. I got about a 20% jump in subs from this change (to 1,200).

  6. Posted by Clark on February 19, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Very interesting Mike. How does yahoo compare?

  7. Posted by Michael on February 19, 2007 at 2:13 pm


    For my feed Yahoo has a 7% share vs. 26% for Google. The last time FeedBurner listed their data for all the feeds they serve Yahoo had a 2.57% share. Hopefully FeedBurner will update that analysis now that Google has joined the party.

  8. Posted by Fred on February 19, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    I used the MyYahoo reader from the time it was beta. It isn’t working reliably enough to continue using. I use Google’s reader now with no problems.

  9. Posted by Keukens on February 19, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    I’m also very interested in the updated stats from FeedBurner

  10. Posted by Michael on February 19, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I’ve had plenty of technical issues with MyYahoo’s reader as well.


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