Big RSS counts - so what?

Some people get very excited about how many RSS subscriptions their blog has. I don't really get that: why should I care whether you read here through RSS or visiting?

I suppose if you are trying to sell your blog, touting a big subscriber number makes sense. Supposedly each subscription is worth anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00 or so. Given the reality of the world, that's their potential value as spam targets, right?

But so what? In the course of a month, we get something like 200,000 visitors here. What's 2,000 or so out of that? Why should I care if it's 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000?

I've talked about RSS Myths before and nothing has really changed. RSS readership is overvalued.

Of course big counts (tens of thousands and more) do have meaning. It's like money, though: if I have $100,000 and you have a hundred million, we both can afford to buy a cup of coffee. In fact, for most things that matter and quite a few that don't, we're pretty equal - right up until you want to buy that Ferrari Enzo. In other words, how many RSS subscribers you have only matters when it matters - like if you are trying to sell something and 1% might bite. In that case, having a hundred thousand subscribers means you get 1,000 orders and I get 20. That's probably why you get to look at the Ferrari, right?

It's the same thing with Twitter - people want thousands of followers. Why? If you want to follow me on Twitter, fine. I might follow you back if you aren't Twitterdeaf, but either way I really don't care.

But if you are planning to pitch something to your Tweeps, yeah, you want lots of them. More Tweeps equals more bites equals more chance to buy that Ferrai.

I do keep track of RSS readers (or, more accurately, Feedburner keeps track and I can go look). When I checked a few minutes ago, there were 2,275 in total, broken down as follows:

Feed Subscribers
Full Text RSS News for 582
Summary RSS Site News for 608
Blogging (Full) 201
Blogging (Summary) 0
Employment (Full) 229
Freelancing (Summary) 0
Linux (Full Text) 210
Linux (Summary) 21
Mac OS X (Full Text) 201
Mac OS X (Summary) 5
Opinion (Full Text) 3
Opinion (Summary) 7
Programming (Summary) 2
Programming (Full) 1
Security (Full Text) 3
Security (Summary) 8
Comments 194

I keep track of Tweeps too - it's a whopping 208 right this minute. Let's see, if I can spam a dollar out of just 1% of you, I could make an easy $2.00. See, I can afford coffee!

But I guess it might be a while before I order any of these: (link dead, sorry) Top 10 most expensive cars in the world. Unless Bill or Warren are reading and would like to send me a couple of million... you know, whatever you have hanging around that you aren't using will be fine.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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