Not enough RSS subscribers, Drazen says

Drazen Dotlic asks how popular is (really) RSS?

He points out that on NewsGator there are only 814 subscribers to my RSS feed and on Bloglines I only have about 900. He says that these numbers aren’t enough to care about. Especially when you consider the hundreds of millions of people who have computers.

Ahh, ye olde “where’s the ROI?” argument, only in new clothes.

Let’s study the problem. Let’s say we surveyed 1,000 people. Let’s say that only 3% read RSS feeds. So, that’s 30 people, right?

Not many, right? Well, here we go.

Of those 30 people, I’d bet 25 also have a blog of their own. We call those “influencers.” Or, “connectors.” Or “mavens,” if you read Seth Godin.

Anyway, let’s say that each of those people have 1,000 blog readers. Now, that’s not uncommon. I know a few people who read my blog who have 250,000 readers A DAY on their blogs.

So, that’s 25,000 people.

Now, let’s turn it around. If the folks who run the Consumer Electronics Show asked you “would you like to keynote our conference?” Would you turn them down? No. Why not? Because you recognize the economic power of talking there. That’s why Bill Gates does that every year.

Now, I’ve been to the CES. How many people are in the audience? Maybe 1,000.

So, now, you gonna turn down an audience of 25,000? That sounds like a fireable offense to me.

Oh, and remember who reads me? Walt Mossberg. So, is that one reader or millions? Don’t know who he is? You should do your homework.

Try telling your marketing director that he shouldn’t do a press tour to visit Walt and see how long you last. Go ahead. I dare you.

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Another way to look at it? Talk to Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords. A few weeks ago he was featured in a major midwest newspaper. Had a picture on the front page of the business section. Glowing review. Had only four downloads of his product. 200,000 circulation newspaper!!

A year ago Buzz was in a major USA national newspaper. I won’t name it here, but it has millions of circulation. He had somewhere around 50 downloads. When I linked to his product? He had 400.

So, go ahead and tell me that the blog/RSS audience doesn’t matter.

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Another example? Talk to the guy who started Riya. He says blogs are more important than being in the Wall Street Journal.

Still don’t believe me? Well, fine. But just be happy I’m not in charge of your being employeed.

Onto Cork, Cardiff is delightful

Went into Cardiff today. Someone keep Maryam out of the shops! heheh. Anyway, Cardiff is a delightful town. Everytime I travel I’m reminded at just how much influence American culture has had abroad. You had to go no further than the Starbucks that had a long line waiting to get to the counter. Made me feel right at home!

Of course we don’t have castles dating back 2,000 years. Tomorrow we head off to London, then to Cork, Ireland. More adventures ahead. Less blogging, too, hope you have a great week!

Oh, and if you complain gas prices are high back in the states, you should travel. Everything here is a lot more expensive than back home. Gas is .90 (pound) per liter, which makes it about $7 a gallon. Whew! The exchange rate is really working against Americans right now, so invite your European neighbors across the pond. Computers and A/V equipment are a lot more expensive here too, which explains a lot why I haven’t seen many Macs here. One Sony plasma screen I was looking at back home is running about twice here what it is back in Washington.

Webmastering fun from Wales

Well Cardiff was delightful. Visited the castle there. Will post pictures soon. We’ve had a wonderful weekend with Maryam’s brother’s family. Tonight his webmaster came over. John Chinery, managing director of Amicore eBusiness. He does IT and Websites for microbusinesses. We had a great chat about search engines. Turns out my brother’s site is #5 on Google if you search for People’s Poet but is about 23 down on MSN Search (he’s known in town as “bard of the busses” or “the people’s poet.” He’s been linked to from a BBC site and from me, so looks like MSN still isn’t counting blog links as highly as Google is. This demonstrates just how difficult it’ll be to be seen as better than Google. Webmasters are the ones who are authoritative on search engine quality and they are seeing their sites and blogs ranked higher on Google than on Yahoo or MSN. So, of course they recommend Google to their customers. Oh, and John tells me he’s doing blogs for his customers now too since they recognize that blogs do better on search engines than static sites like the one he did for Maryam’s brother.

Oh, I noticed that Keyvan’s title tag is mispelled. He used “peoples” instead of “people’s.” Google didn’t penalize him for that, but MSN did. On Google if you search the way he mispelled it he has the #1 link. On MSN Search he has the #3 link for that term. Which shows just how important having a good title tag matters (the tag that puts the name on the top of the browser). Choose the wrong name and you won’t be found at all. It’s amazing how many bloggers have lame title tags, by the way. It’s like they don’t want to be found at all.

Why aren’t Bloglines or Newsgator OPML Editor compatible?

I kept trying to open my OPML file in the OPML Editor and it wouldn’t open. I had a few complaints about that as well. I tried both the OPML file that NewsGator exported as well as the one that Bloglines exported. Newsgator’s OPML file wouldn’t even open (gave me an error) but Bloglines opened with blank titles.

So, I did some cleaning and uploaded an OPML-compatible OPML file.

I wish everyone would make their files compatible with the OPML editor, though. I’m using that a lot lately.

UPDATE: I can’t upload this as an OPML file cause Radio Userland keeps converting it to HTML when it uploads and WordPress.com doesn’t support file uploads yet. If someone could put that on a server somewhere that’d be most helpful. The ZIP file linked from here contains the OPML file.