Why does FeedBurner’s Reader Count Keep Changing?

Know about the reason why FeedBurner's subscribers count keeps fluctuating. It is the stand-alone feed reader software that cause it.

FeedBurner is a service that manages your feed, subscriptions and statistics related to your feed. This service was acquired by Google in 2007 and since then it runs on a subdomain of Google.

Well, one day if FeedBurner is showing that you have 2218 readers –the next day count may come down to 2207 and the next day it might shoot up to 2229.

Why this fluctuation? This is a question that strikes a massive number of people who distribute their RSS feed via FeedBurner.

The answer to this mystery lies in understanding what reader count means. FeedBurder’s reader count does not mean that you have that many subscriber under your belt and the number will only go up from there (unless someone unsubscribes) .

On contrary, FeedBurner’s reader count actually indicates the number of people who have requested your feed on that particular day. Your subscribers count is composed mainly of three categories:

  • Email subscribers
  • Subscriptions through web based feed reading applications
  • Subscriptions through stand-alone feed reading applications
FeedBurner Feed Chicklets

FeedBurner Feed Chicklets

To begin with the number of email subscribers does not drastically change. This number usually go only upward as more and more people opt for email subscription of your feed.

The count of those who have subscribed to you through a web based feed readers (Like Google Reader) –also remains more or less stable and go only upward. Even if you don’t use them, web based facilities do check for new items in your feed several times every day. So, FeedBurner counts all such subscriptions in.

The fluctuation in readers count happens mostly because of stand-alone feed readers. Stand-alone feed readers are software that run on desktop. For such a software to contact FeedBurner, three conditions must be fulfilled:

  • User must switch on her computer
  • Internet connection must be there
  • User must launch reader software

During the weekends, for example, when many people don’t open their computers, their stand alone reader software won’t be able to contact FeedBurner and  FeedBurber will not count them in for that day. So, on weekends, the readers count is likely to be lower!

To summarize it all, FeedBurner’s readers count shows the number of unique feed requests on a particular day. Stand-alone software, if not switched on, don’t make feed request and therefore pull your readers count down.

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