Last week I discussed some major issues with Technorati that one of my blogs was facing. One of the major take home lessons of that post was that, whether you like it or not, your ability to monetize your blog can largely depend on 3rd party metric systems like PageRank, Technorati Rank, Alexa Rank, etc.
One metric that a large number of ranking systems are taking into account for blogs is “total subscribers” – the more readers, the wider the reach of the blog.
Most subscriber data is not public. So there is no fool-proof way of measuring this statistic on an even keel. Some blogs use Feedburner, and some bloggers openly share their total subscriber base (usually people with lots of subscribers… like 186,583 worth)
Still, not everyone uses Feedburner, so it isn’t a good wide-scale metric. Instead, what most ranking systems measure is the publicly available Blogline subscribership. Fair enough, I suppose. Bloglines doesn’t show *total* subscribers, but it does a decent job with identifying subscriber proportion, which is good enough for a ranking algorithm and which can also be scaled out for a rough estimate of total subscribers, if necessary.
Ok. Fair enough. What’s the point of this article?
Well, just as Alexa only measures visitors who have the Alexa toolbar installed, and skews towards groups of people more inclined to use the Alexa toolbar, Bloglines skews towards blogs that push Bloglines on their readership.
If that’s the case, and if it’s also the case that your site’s perceived value is partially based on Bloglines subscribers, as a general rule, should bloggers be pushing Bloglines on their readers?
As a matter of principle, I don’t like pushing Bloglines, largely because I want the reader to use an RSS feed reader of his or her choice. But, as a matter of practicality, I’m beginning to think seriously about adding a “Subscribe through Bloglines” link or button to all my sites.
What are your thoughts?