Feed To The Future

Feedburner’s Eric Lunt opened by presenting the growth rate of RSS subscriptions – ranging from 221’375 feeds in January 2005 to 9’547’171 by February 2006 (source)

Subscriptions are outpacing feed recognition. Report after reportt shows that people are unfamiliar with the terms, but subscriptions continue to grow dratically.

Subscriptions are becoming more embeddedinto more worlds – Democracy TV, iTunes’ podcasting directory, OS X screensavers, My Yahoo and Slide are examples of services where feeds are invisible to the user.

In examining the question of whether publishers shoul offer full or partial feeds, Lunt relates that full feeds are out-subscribed by partial feeds by an order of ten. However, partial feeds grow at the same pace and experiements in reducing the content of a feed don’t substantially alter click-through-rates to the parent site.

Lunt recommends that publishers focus on items rather than feeds. Filtering of content by tags and searches drives and increases item-level distribution.

In 2004, several hundred clients expanded to a thousand clients in 2005 and tnow thousands of clients today. The progression from aggregators to filters, browsers and now AJAX home pages is continuing – the proliferation of readers is not leading to consolidation, but driving innovative approaches, indicating the market is still to play for,

Subscriptions are growing to the point where feeds are becoming the principal mode of interaction with web content. This indicates that understanding the consumption of feeds, their content, audience, distribution, aggregation and usage is also growing in importance.

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