228, 332, 440 – Anyone Else Getting This?

I mentioned earlier in the week that I’d seen my RSS subscriber figures for kenmc.com shoot a little abnormally on from Tuesday (228) into Wednesday (332).

But now, looking at the FeedBurner chicklet this morning they’ve risen again to 440? That’s almost double the amount of subscribers in 3 days. Is anyone else experiencing strange shifts in their subscriber numbers?

It just seems a little odd given that I was extremely quiet during December and into January (between work, Christmas, holidays etc.). Or can I still blame Jaiku for this spike? Am I even looking in the right direction?

By the way, if you would like to subscribe to kenmc.com then please feel free to do so by adding http://feeds.feedburner.com/creativeimagination to your preferred feed reader. That also reminds me to add a bucket of feeds to Net News Wire (on the mac). If it works the way Vienna does then I’ll have a nice few blog posts to read over the weekend (off to Sligo later for a river run and a gig).

Free The Feeds!

Happy days. Something for the greater good of stats fans was bound to come out of Google’s purchase of FeedBurner and they’ve announced that the Pro version of FeedBurner (Total Stats) and the MyBrand packages (feeds branded by your own domain) are now available… for FREE.

Certainly gives me something new to dip into this weekend, get the lowdown on where the people are coming from across all my blogs.

Via the FeedBurner blog

One of the many benefits that FeedBurner publishers will enjoy now that FeedBurner is part of the Google family is a little something we like to call, “more for free!” Beginning today, two of FeedBurner’s previously for-pay services, TotalStats and MyBrand, will be free. Not in the sense of soaring high above the clouds or recently sprung from the hoosegow, but free like you’ll no longer gladly be billed on Tuesday for a burned feed today. We suspect this will be welcome news to the 450,000+ of you using many of our other free services, but understanding that your feed is your feed, you will need to activate these newly freed-up services in order to partake in their awesomeness.

At present, there are 454,969 accounts registered on FeedBurner publishing 779,820 feeds, that number increasing on a daily basis. Read the full story and all the details here.

Note: I’m using FeedBurner across every single blog I’ve got on the go. If you want to subscribe to kenmc.com via FeedBurner then add http://feeds.feedburner.com/creativeimagination to your feed reader or click here to visit FeedBurner and subscribe to kenmc.com.

I’m On An RSS Diet

At the weekend I did something I’ve been threatening to do for a long time – move all my RSS feeds (live bookmarks) from my Firefox bookmark toolbar into Google Reader.

Now, I don’t know whats going on in the world.

Or if I do I’m about three days behind in the times.

I figure Google Reader is a safe bet for me hopping between four computers daily with different feeds sitting on each toolbar – log in with your gMail address, fire in your feeds and start reading. If you haven’t already tried it I suggest giving it a go (Google Reader that is). The hard part for me at this point is keeping up. During the day I would flick through ALL the feeds on the toolbar to see what the recent headlines were – something new, I’d jump in or if it didn’t grab my attention I’d skip it. But I’m a toolbar RSS addict – I’d do this one thing countless times during the day, a process that might take me all of 30 seconds but nevertheless a big distraction. So, I put myself on the RSS diet.

Four machines, four fresh looking Firefox toolbars, not a hint of a live bookmark in sight.

Of course if I miss checking in on feeds in the evening (as has happened twice this week) you wind up with someone going “Did you see what X blogger is after doing… Jesus….”.

No, I didn’t.

Damn.

Good Lord – Might Google Buy FeedBurner?

Back in the day (what, 2005 maybe?) when I started using FeedBurner there was talk of being able to integrate AdSense into your RSS feed. Then FeedBurner went along and launched the FAN (FeedBurner Ad Network) which would allow you to run CPM ads on your RSS feed, integrating them with your blog content as well. All those months on and RSS advertising has become more popular, I run some ads through my Liverpool Access RSS feed thanks to Text Link Ads (affiliate link) and it pays off.

Advertising is a hot commodity at the minute, Google monetising YouTube, then buying DoubleClick; Microsoft lobbing six BILLION down for aQuantive and this afternoon Sam Sethi reports (through Vecosys) that Google are possibly going to wrap up the purchase of FeedBurner? Steve Rubel talked about it around this time last year but if the story turns out to be true it will mark a massive turnaround for FeedBurner and I think a great boost for Google’s already massive catalog of web services.

I’ve Adopted FeedSmith – It Helps

A few days ago I installed the FeedSmith plugin, now under FeedBurner management and its been a help. FeedBurner stats showing an additional 40 readers or so, now edging that bit closer to the 200 mark.

Installation is a breeze

    1. Upload FeedSmith plugin to your plugin directory
    2. Activate it in WordPress
    3. Enter your FeedBurner URL

Using some WordPress plugin magic, and user-agent detection, this plugin simply forwards all your feed traffic to FeedBurner. The plugin will detect all ways to access your feed (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php, etc.), and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. It will forward for your main posts feed, and optionally your main comments feed as well.

And thats it – all blog feeds now redirected back through FeedBurner. The whole process can be done (timed) in under a minute – improve your stats, track them better, make sure overall that you’re tracking all your readers. You can set it up for your comments feed as well if you’re doing that kinda thing…

Quick Way To Combine Multiple RSS Feeds

I’ve recently (as in Thursday / Friday) added staff blogs for KilkennyMusic.com (Mine, Alan Dawson, Ross Costigan, Michael Keogh) driven by WordPress MU and needed a quick and easy way to combine RSS feeds from all blogs (all using FeedBurner) and port them to the homepage and each of the individual pages on KilkennyMusic.com.

If you’re looking for a quick way to combine a load of RSS feeds into one single publicly accessible RSS feed (whether RSS / Atom / RDF) you could do worse than try FeedBlender.

FeedBlendr will grab all the feeds you enter and blend them up into a nice, thick, ‘river of news’ smoothie. You’ll get a URL where you can subscribe to everything all at once.

All you’ve to do is enter the feeds on the homepage, add as many as you need, give it a title and presto – all your feeds rolled into one to do with whatever you want. Certainly gets my thumbs up anyway.

Delivering Gigs Via RSS

Launched the Kilkenny Gigs feed today, drawing the gig listings out of KilkennyMusic.com. If you’re ever hitting Kilkenny for a weekend and want to see whats going on, check the Kilkenny Gigs Feed (through FeedBurner) or stop by KilkennyMusic.com.

The feed is handy enough, simply outputs the band’s name, venue name and date and links you back to the gig area on KilkennyMusic.com to find out more about the gig (if extra details are available).

Just to mention also that the Sound System Podcast feed is up and running the last week or two. I’ve been working on content for the second show which will get released hopefully over the course of the weekend with the third show scheduled for Monday November 6th featuring a special on the new One Take Sessions which we’re launching on Thursday November third in iD on Parliament Street in Kilkenny.

Business Uses Of RSS

If you’re around Cork on Monday evening next, IT@Cork (of which Tom Raftery is involved) is holding an evening on the “business uses of RSS” down in the NSC (National Software Centre).

Fergus Burns (Nooked), Elain Lucey (CSO), Rob Burke and Dave Northey (both Microsoft) will be speaking on the night. Kick off is 6pm with tickets €20 for non-members. Should be some interesting discussion there though!

Update : Via comments from Tom, Elain Lucey won’t be speaking so John Dunne (CSO) will be taking her place…

Bloglines for Newbies

Firefox is quite comfortable in handling RSS feeds for myself but even on my office computer (not counting my home set up) I’ve over 80 blogs feeding in, with different ones again set up at home and its starting to get tricky to manage them all – so whats an online solution? Bloglines.

As an online feed reader it works well. People who use it (those who I know using it) can’t complain – so I figured, why not. I first hit Bloglines about 18 months ago before starting my last year in college and started showing a few folks the use of blogs for projects but I came across a good article for newbie users today courtesy of Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune…. simply titled ’23 real simple steps to making your Internet life much better’.

Worth taking a look if handling those feeds is getting tricky and you don’t want to go spending money!

Feedburner resorting to SPAM?

Feedburner. They’re great. Can’t say that I have a single complaint about them todate. I can geo-tag my feed, I’ve subscriptions coming through FeedBlitz, I can organise my RSS feeds into one standard type – and so the list goes on. But with all of this, emails are starting to appear around the web looking suspiciously like spam mail, simply telling you to go out and sign up for Feedburner.

In addition to feed management services, we also offer feed monetization – which gives publishers the ability to advertise in their feeds. With our growing list of publishers across a broad range of advertising channels, we have a number of very interesting ad campaigns running that might be appropriate for your feeds.

If you need any help setting up your feeds at feedburner.com or if you have any questions please feel free to ping me. Take care and I look forward to working with you in the future

Ok – its not asking you to buy anything, and if you want to make the use of Feedburner’s core functions you don’t have to go forking out the cash. All the same, where do you draw the line? Would you consider it spam mail? You didn’t ask for it, didn’t sign up for it, you don’t know who the guy is and now he’s telling you to visit his website. Or do you consider it direct marketing? Or is there any difference any more in this day and age?