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Hitwise: RSS Usage, While Growing, is Still a Niche Activity
/ January 18, 2007 4:58 pm

The following is a blog entry from LeeAnn Prescott at Hitwise: Bloggers who use FeedBurner have a general idea of the most popular feed readers based on their subscriber statistics. FeedBurner subscriber statistics on the Hitwise Blog show that Bloglines is by far the most popular feed reader, and Hitwise data also support this. The market share of US visits to Bloglines was 3 times greater than Rojo, its nearest competitive web-based feed reader. The chart below shows the traffic trend over the past year for the leading web-based feed readers. You can see that Google Reader has grown lately, but as of the week ending 1/13/07, it had only 1/13 of the market share of visits of Bloglines.

While comparing web-based feed readers is not a perfect measure of the true size of the feed-reading market, as it does not take into consideration client-based (i.e., NetNewsWire) or portal-based (i.e., My Yahoo!) feed readers, it can give us an indication of the popularity of blog consumption via feeds. Last week I posted a list of the most popular blogs by market share of US visits. Below I added PerezHilton, Huffington Post, and Engadget, three of the most popular blogs in their respective verticals, to the above chart of web-based feed readers.

All three of these blogs have been receiving more traffic than Bloglines for the past year. Perez Hilton is actually one of the leading sites on the Internet, with a US rank of #463 for the week ending 1/13/07. Bloglines ranked at #4,676 in the same period. This analysis leads me to two conclusions: 1) RSS usage, while growing, is still a niche activity and mainstream adoption is still a ways off, and 2) the most successful blogs are being consumed in the standard Web 1.0 fashion – by visiting the websites. These blogs have become destination sites for their readers and have an active community of commenters, which encourages website visits. It seems that the bigger disruption from the growth of blogging is not how we consume the news, but where we get it from.

Note. This post originally appeared on Hitwise blog here.


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