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How Many Are Using RSS Anyway?

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One of the slams I saw yesterday after we started posting Google Reader’s feed numbers is that “nobody reads RSS.”

Today, Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch, gave us some more numbers so we can extrapolate out just how many people actually are using RSS.

First, let’s start with the BBC. That’s the #1 most subscribed to feed on Google Reader that I can find.

Google Reader is reporting that 1,387,559 are subscribed to the News Front Page and another 824784 are subscribed to the UK Edition.

Let’s just call that two million people. Yeah, I know that many people are probably subscribed to both feeds, but let’s just go with it to make the math simple.

Now let’s make an assumption. Let’s say that half of all Google Readers are subscribed to the BBC. That means about four million people are using Google Reader.

Using the data from TechCrunch we see that Google counts for about 38% of all people using a feed reader. Let’s just round that to 40%. That means about 10 million people use RSS. Or probably less if my assumptions above prove to be too liberal.

So, why so small? And why does the world care about the behaviors of only 10 million people (out of six billion).

A few reasons.

First, getting 10 million users isn’t too shabby.

Second, I never expected RSS to get as popular as Paris Hilton.

Third, what’s the real power of RSS? The news influencers use it. So, if you want to reach the Paris Hilton crowd you’ve probably gotta go through someone who uses an RSS aggregator. Most of the journalists and almost all of the bloggers I know use RSS.

But, anyway, is 10 million a good or bad number? Why?

UPDATE: Alex Barrera says he asked FeedBurner reported to him that they have 65.6 million subscribers.

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