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.
Hi Neville, thanks to you and Marjolein Hoekstra for pointing this out via twitter. I am noticing about a 40% drop in my case, while my pageviews are up 20%+ Obviously there is a problem somewhere.
I experienced the same issue on both of my blogs. And I am getting an error notice from Google saying they are having a hard time reading my feed. I’m assuming it’s FeedFetcher for now. Bugs happen.
Neville – We posted a quick update on our blog:
FeedFetcher has already resumed reporting subscriber numbers and numbers will be included in tonight’s roll-up.
Google Feedfetcher was definitely the culprit according to a post today by FB’s Dick Costolo:
That’s odd because mine were up into the weekend, and that isn’t normal. However, the few days before hand were unusually low. C’est la vie.
Thanks guys, that would explain things. I was trawling through my posts wandering what I said to upset 25% of my subscribers enough to leave!
Rick, thanks for your comment here. Only just today (Nov 6) seen it.
It was in the spam comment trapped pile, a false negative by Akismet, which is why it’s only now appearing here. First such false trapping I’ve seen in quite a while. Sorry about that!