How I Gained Over 1,000 RSS Overnight

June 18, 2010 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Okay, I better apologize right off the bat as the title is misleading since I’m not exactly sure how I gained over 1,000 RSS subscribers overnight. I certainly did not do any special “secret ninja marketing tactics“ to make it happen – I just woke up to see a 3,537 when I was expecting to see something more along the lines of 2,537.

I was actually quite happy 2 days ago as I set a new RSS record then as well, beating my previous record by a little over 200! Then the next day I gained an additional 1,000 on top of that? What’s going on here?

My first reaction was to think: Feedburner bug. After all, Feedburner’s stats are constantly shifting and often report incorrect numbers. However, all the reporting bugs in the past have always (for me at least) been underreporting, usually incorrectly dropping my count total by around 1,000 for a day or two before fixing itself and returning to my normal numbers.

What’s different about this time is that if this is indeed a bug, then it marks the first time (again, for me at least) that Feedburner has ever incorrectly over-reported. This makes me unsure as to if this is a bug or could actually be my new RSS count.


As you can see in the graph below, I’ve had a number of incorrectly reported low peaks in the past, but never a false spike (the little one you see around the middle of the graph is legit): 5

Here you can see my traffic graph over the past couple weeks. Feedburner seems to have been a bit buggy lately, incorrectly reporting my RSS count on several occasions:


Okay – so what’s going on here?

The nice thing about Feedburner is that you can usually identify the root of any incorrect reporting issues due to their subscriber breakdown reports.

If you take a look at my breakdown on June 13th, which is the most recent date available in which my stats were “normal”, you’ll see that my top source of RSS traffic is from Google Feedfetcher:


However, if you take a look at the stats from June 16th, we see that Netvibes jumps out of nowhere to lead the pack with 1,410 subscribers:


Aha! So this is the culprit (hero?). Looking back at older stats, I can see that I always had some traffic from Netvibes, but it usually hovered closer to the 100 mark, not 1,400.

I have no idea why my Netvibes numbers skyrocketed over the past couple days… I mean I had never even heard of Netvibes before.

I checked them out (they’re actually kind of neat; I found myself tagged in some photos I didn’t know existed) and Googled to see if anybody else was having this issue, but the only thing I could find was some big news 2 years ago about an exploit with Feedburner and Netvibes that allowed you to basically increase your Feedburner to any number you wanted.

Fortunately, this major bug was fixed right after it was revealed on TechCrunch, so none of you can accuse me of using that dirty trick 🙂

So in the end, I have no idea why my Netvibes numbers are shooting up. This could very easily be a bug, and so I’ll have to wait over the next few days to see what my Feedburner numbers do. I’m cautiously optimistic, though, because if this is indeed ‘legit’ then it’s pretty cool as I have been on a snail-paced RSS growth rate over the past couple of years.

I’m curious as to what your Netvibes numbers are (in comparison to your total count), and if you’ve seen this same “inflation” over the past couple days, so please share your comments with me!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: June 18th, 2010 under Blog Related  

43 Responses to “How I Gained Over 1,000 RSS Overnight”

  1. Paulymath says:

    Hopefully the #’s stick past today and it’s not just some kind of glitch.

    Although it is weird that 1,000+ people would subscribe in one day.

    Unless you hit the 1st page of DIgg or some kind of equivalent. Maybe it’s due to the weight loss challenge you did with me. My amazing popularity gave you 1,000 extra reader. 🙂


  2. David says:

    Quite weird that it would suddenly go up that much in a single day, maybe Netvibes have a section on the site that recommends popular feeds to the users and yours has made it there?

    Hopefully it’s all real readers rather than a glitch, it’s always disappointing to see numbers drop after you’ve seen them that high… even if it is due to a glitch.

  3. That’s really cool Tyler! My RSS has been fairly constant, so I really don’t know what’s going on. Unless I have been getting lied to all along and really I have 0 subscribers, that wouldn’t be fun!

  4. I also heard about the issue of netvibes before. In fact, I also tried to do those hack that many are sharing how to do it.

    But if it’s a bug, then you deserve it. You have a great blog and many benefited from the information you have shared including me.

    – Felix Albutra

  5. awesome!
    thats cool..
    i dont use RSS though.. D=

  6. Dog says:

    Your websites rss counter shows 2531 right now.

  7. Bummer.

    Are you going to write a post that says “How I Lost 1,000 RSS Readers Overnight” ?


    It would look funny in your RSS feed right after this post, hehehe.


  8. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Feedburner always has this kind of problem, sometimes my feedburner count decreases up to 50%, and it back to normal on the other day. In fact, I don’t really care about that, as long as I’m still getting traffic. 😉

    Anyway, you have an eye catching title. lol!


  9. Andrew says:

    its back to normal now. you wrote a blog post about a temporary glitch, sorry to say.

  10. Seems to me like a nice link bait by netvibes.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Well, I’d call that disappointing, lol, but not exactly unexpected. It would be pretty amazing if 1000 people did suddenly subscribe in one day 😉

  12. If it turns out to be a bug thats defintiely a punch in the nuts 🙁

  13. Hi guys,

    It could be a problem with the feedburner since it happen over night. If not. Consider this as being a MIRACLE!!!

    Kind regards,

  14. Its back up to 3767, who knows whats going on! Just be happy!

  15. Exposed SEO says:

    my count on my main blog is highly inflated by Netvibes too for the last few days. Normally I have around 4500 subs total but for the last few days my Netvibes count alone is over 2000 and I’m up to close to 6000 subs.

  16. teknoloji says:

    looks like some kind of a bug or a caching system, maybe they collect and update stats at intervals.

  17. I need more quality content!! I think… ^_^

    Nice post Tyler…

  18. Harvey says:

    If you didn’t know it was a bug you would be gutted when it went back down by a thousand!

  19. Well, one thing is clear, of the blogs in my make money online/seo type blogs RSS Feed section, you are one of the few who has continued strong from the nearly 2 years since I added them. Your site has grown well, and it’s good to see it’s still going! I’m going to be hopefully reading this more frequently again.

  20. its back to normal now. you wrote a blog post about a temporary glitch, sorry to say.

  21. David says:

    Down to 1458 for me now :/

    Absolutely no idea what is going on with that count, haha!

  22. Julius says:

    Let’s hope it is not a bug. Feedburner does have its errors, but as what you’ve said, it’s normally the lower count that it does

  23. There’s nothing an extra 1000 RSS subscribers overnight – congrats! If you happen to be getting too many to handle feel free to send over my way haha.

    Good work.

  24. Alan Mater says:

    My feedburner stats go up and down too but it has never over reported so it’s a little strange to see this. I read from someone in Feedburner explaining such fluctuations but still could not make out what he was saying as it’s pretty technical. I only wish we could see accurate nos. being shown.

  25. just like ‘plumber Sidney’ says.. congratulations for the 1000 subscribers overnight and anyways if there’s a bug you still have to win from this..because this is a great post that make syou click involuntarily :), it’s pretty funny that I don’t know about rss since long time and I don’t use feedburner or other sevice like that, I think I should integrate an rss button as well…somewhere on my website…

  26. Bugs/Glitches like these tend to happen to feedburner at times causing subscribers to be over reported. Put it this way I would rather have my feed number increase exponentially than decrease!

  27. Did you ever find out what the reason was?

  28. Those are greats stats but I have problems with my blogs subscribers too. Its very easy to spam the count i think

  29. Property says:

    OMG. tell me in details. I Still don’t believe.

  30. soveci says:

    I also tried to do those hack that many are sharing how to do it.

  31. Bidet says:

    Wow thats impressive, did it end up being a bug, or did it stay?

  32. Yes I think it was a bug cos your current subscriber count is about 2400 which is around 1000 less than what you’ve reported

  33. email lookup says:

    So, finally, it was bug or the numbers were for real?

    But, Actually I think it’s not impossible to gain that much subscribers in one night…

  34. Alan Bucknam says:

    I had a similar issue with Netvibes…actually my count from them dropped dramatically in early 2008, when Netvibes was changing their user interface (and ostensibly a lot of their backend stuff as well); it just shot up this month to about what it was before the drop in early ’08….My guess is Netvibes reports feeds streamed to its subscribers, but those subscribers aren’t necessarily reading the feed…just seeing the title displayed…But I think either way the # is (approximately) legit.

  35. SEO Miami says:

    Awesome post. Great update! Good luck with the site.

  36. Quite helpful learning, I didn’t know about bugs in feedburner, this will help.

  37. this is so cool!
    I hope similar miracles happen to me too!:D


Leave a Reply