Is Google Feedfetcher the culprit?

fb3nov07

A tweet from Marjolein Hoekstra about a sudden 45 percent drop in subscribers to her RSS feed led me to check the subscriber stats for my RSS feed at Feedburner.

Sure enough, it shows a drop of about 35 percent yesterday, as the screenshot above indicates.

You will usually see a fall in RSS subscribers on a weekend – Darren Rowse has a very good explanation on why – but such a large percentage drop is unusual and seems extraordinary.

A further look into the stats shows that, yesterday, there were no subscribers to the feed via Google Feedfetcher, the means by which RSS content is grabbed if you use Google Reader or a personalized Google home page.

Usually, Google Feedfetcher accounts for some 30 percent of my total RSS subscribers.

Is there something happening with Google that’s somehow blocking RSS subscriptions? This wouldn’t be the first time.

There certainly seems to be something going on – look at this separate issue Shel Holtz posted about yesterday concerning feeds via Google at NewsGator Online. Is there a connection?

There are already questions in the Feedburner stats forum about yesterday’s big drop in RSS subscribers.

Hopefully someone will have some answers today.

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.