A lot of people would like to know exactly how fast this blogging/subscribing thang is actually growing. Lots of people have seen the chart the Hummer Winblad people are keeping of the “Feeds Watched” number over at Technorati; about two and a quarter million on this first of May 2004. But the number of people reading, as opposed to publishing, is at least as interesting. I decided that Bloglines.com (which, by the way, anyone who watches this space ought to be keeping their eyes on) could be used as a surrogate for the general growth of the whole area, and drew a graph.
Observations · The numbers on the Y-axis aren’t that interesting, but the trend is; the subscriptions doubled in number in the first third of 2004.
Drawing this graph is easy enough; whenever Bloglines fetches your RSS
feed it tells you how many people are subscribing to it. So you do the
egrep 'bloglines.com.*ubscr' on your web server
logfile, then you dump the numbers into your favorite spreadsheet and get it
to draw a graph.
ongoing today is number 53 in Bloglines’ list of top blogs; I find it fairly easy to believe that Bloglines is a good surrogate for our readership in general, and that ongoing is a good surrogate for an average feed there.
However, I suspect that this may slightly over-estimate the growth numbers, due to the fact that some people are switching to Bloglines from other readers.
It’s hard to measure how many subscriptions any one RSS feed has, but my best guess is that Bloglines represents (at the moment) somewhere between one fifth and one tenth of my total subscriptions.