RSS readers on the decline

By April 1, 2008 2 Comments

As I have been bemoaning the demise of Blogfriends and wondering where to go for a replacement it was timely to find this post from Fred Wilson on where his traffic comes from.

There is a lot of detailed analysis and a couple of different takeaways, but for me the main one was that sites like techmeme, reddit, and friendfeed are on the rise whilst RSS readers seem to be on the decline. Fred wrote:

As you can see, the sources [of traffic to his site] have changed a lot. First, Google in
this context (at least the Google that is number one in both charts) is
Google Reader – the king of RSS readers (at least for my readers). The
other RSS readers on the lists include MyYahoo, which went from number
2 to number 9 over the past year, Bloglines, which went from number 3
to number 7 in the past year, and netvibes, which was number 8 in the
first quarter of 2007 and is no longer in the top ten.

This post should be called “the rise of the smart aggregators”
because the new big sources of traffic to this blog are techmeme,
reddit, twitter, and delicious. Both techmeme and delicious were on the
list in 2007, but techmeme jumped from number four to number two and
tripled the number of visits it generated. Delicious stayed at number
six but grew the number of visits it generated. Reddit is the real
eye-opener for me. It wasn’t in the top 10 in 2007 and is currently the
number four referring site. Likewise, Twitter was not on the list in
2007 and now is the number five referring site.

The picture is complicated and the apparent demise of Netvibes and other feedreaders might be down to them losing share to Google Reader, rather than the demise of the category as a whole, or it is also possible that the traffic from these second tier feed readers is still growing slowly and has been eclipsed by the meteoric rise of techmeme and reddit.

Personally I’ve always found these sites a bit hit and miss, but equally I share Fred’s frustration with feed readers where my attention gets concentrated on too few blogs.

Someone should rescue Blogfriends.