New Blog Milestone – 14,000 RSS Readers


Even after the competition with Shoemoney, the blog’s RSS readership continues to grow. Yesterday, it passed 14,000 readers for the first time. Today, it is at a record 14,109.

I want to take this time to answer a few questions about the RSS that I’ve received since the contest. The first concern why the RSS count didn’t go down, since it looked like I was asking people to sub to my RSS by feeds, emails, toolbars, etc. One would assume that after the contest was over, many people would just cancel any additional subscriptions. The reason the RSS didn’t go down is because the majority of the subscriptions are in fact new.

Darren Rowse at Problogger made a post asking if Shoe and I were preaching to the converted or really trying to reach new readers. The answer is we were trying to do both. The buzz generated by the competition brought us many new readers and help convert many current readers to add the blog’s RSS feed to their readers. Having multiple channels to reach your readership is never a bad thing.

The other thing you have to consider is people are generally lazy. Once you get them to subscribe, chances are they won’t go thought the effort to unsubscribe even if they don’t like you. Marketers know this and take advantage of it all the the time. That’s why you see so many “Use it for 30 days free and if you don’t like it, send it back and pay nothing” promotions. They know that most are just too lazy to send it back.

How Did Shoemoney Get Over 7,000 Subscribers In Two Days?

This is the question everybody wants answered. I was kicking Shoe’s ass right up to end. Then he rocketed pass me on the last day to take the win. Many people assumed Shoe hid his real RSS count to throw me off and then put up his true count on the last day. However, that’s not what happen. So how did he do it?

I cannot tell you the exact method Shoe employed because I promised to keep it between us, but basically he found a bug while studying FeedBurner and exploited it. We had no rules for this competition – anything goes and that included being extremely evil. And in this regard, Shoe out-eviled me. He did have this to say in his victory post.

Officially I won the contest, but I think the REAL winner will be revealed over the course of the next few months when all the people who only subscribing for the contest entries.

My RSS count is at 14,109. Shoemoney is at 13,103. Will the REAL winner please stand up? 😈

60 thoughts on “New Blog Milestone – 14,000 RSS Readers”

  1. Congrats John on the continued success. What percentage of the new signups are now reading daily?

    1. Standing… I won something from the contest! 🙂

    2. i love being evil 😈

  2. worknplay says:

    You can go ahead and stand up John. Also you are right, once somebody subscribes to a feed using their email address, they would probably just delete it rather than follow the process to unsubscribe.

    I have been checking both you and Shoe’s RSS feed chicklet for a couple days and you have surpassed him with quite few readers. Congratulations! I agree you are evil in whatever you do but then again I would have to give credit to Shoe as well for being so evil that he surpassed the evilness your holy “evility” ( not a word I know).

    Shoe had you wear his shirt due to that reason. But at the end you are both winners. It was a fun contest and I still have both you guys RSS feeds hitting my inbox daily cause I am lazy to unsubscribe 😉

  3. What a milestone! 14,000 subscribers. My blog is still new, and my website is not launched, so i can only look upon you with awe. Nay, I must shield mine eyes!

    1. says:

      Haha, 28 subscribers for me… LOL. Guess 14,000 is a ways off. :mrgreen:

  4. Jamie Harrop says:

    Congratulation on the new milestone, John.

    Yes, I have to say that I am lazy. Even though I’m subscribed to the blog via normal RSS, I did subscribe via email during the contest and haven’t bothered to get rid of that subscription.

  5. Thats great, your blog probably gets more subscribers in one day than many blogs have total…

    Click for Nick – Black Friday 2007

  6. How much more traffic you getting?

  7. Rock says:

    Congrats on the milestone. I can’t believe you let Shoe out-evil you though. I am curious about this bug, is it going to be revealed in any future blog posts?

    1. ms danielle says:

      shoe even claimed jc was more evil than him in a blogworld video interview. 😀

  8. Marky Munco says:

    Am I the only one to notice that the quote from Shoemoney doesn’t actually make sense!

    1. Neil Duckett says:

      No, you’re right … it doesn’t make sense.

      1. I have read lots of shoemoney’s post that have grammer errors.

    2. Yes, syntax and grammar fell off by the wayside somewhere. 😆

  9. TLE says:

    Congratulations, I hope you can reach more subscribers on the next days, as I have an advertising banner running on the feeds.

  10. I’m catching up John… you’re only 12,000 ahead of me. 😈

  11. Domtan says:

    Congratulations John. That’s an impressive figure.

    As for the RSS competition, did Shoe accumulate more subscriptions in terms of more humans subscribing, or was his RSS just a high figure?

    1. John Chow says:

      I’ll just come out and say it. The 7,000 readers Shoe added in the last two days of the competition were not real. That’s why they’re no longer in the count. However, Shoe’s RSS count is still much higher than when the competition started. So we both experienced nice gains.

      1. Blackysky says:

        Now we know that rss feed counter is no longer a relvant number to show off 👿 those 14,000 are they real?? 👿 😎 😎 😎 I’m just asking …… never know 😎

      2. There is a fine line between being evil and downright cheating…

        The question is did Shoe overstep the line 😉

  12. Sean says:

    Given your earlier description of how FB counts subscribers, I’m going to guess he had a script that requested his feed through some anonymous proxies every hour. A bunch of different IPs, FB counts them as uniques, and as they get fixed or he turns off the script, the subscribers go away.


  13. 14,000, sweeeet. I’ll be chuffed when I get to 100 😆

    1. I agree! I am still chasing that magic 100 subsribers!

  14. 😀

    Congratulations on your record! That is a number I can only dream of!!!
    Ironically, it comes on a day that I am forced to think about unsubscribing from the RSS Feed. I really enjoy reading the posts to this blog. Unfortunately, the majority of access to my google reader is at work, through internet explorer. I cannot get through a post on the blog without IE freezing up and shutting down. At home, when I have time, I check the reader via Mozilla Firefox, and I have not noticed this happening.

    I have not decided yet, and I will check at home to see if there is a better way to access your RSS feed, but in the meantime –

    KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK! You are an inspiration! 😀 (I’m sure you know that already)

  15. Amy says:

    Wow 14K is still impressive even if you technically “lost” the contest. I’m in my first month of following your advice for increasing blog readers and RSS feed readers, I only hope I can hit that 14K mark someday too 🙂 Congrats!

  16. Congratulations. =D

    I just hope you aren’t employing the same tactics now =D

  17. MoneyNing says:

    I think even when Shoe and John stands up together, John will win because he’s just taller 👿

    1. And because he did not find a bug and exploited it? Oh well, it could be because he was smart enough to push the email subscribers 😛

      In any case, I knew there was something fishy in that huge jump of RSS readers at the last day.

      1. MoneyNing says:

        There are tons of ways to artificially increase the RSS subscriber temporarily. I am sure John knew some but didn’t want to do it since everyone would notice something is fishy.

  18. Congrats on your milestone, keep up the awesome blog posts. I don’t know how you find the time to update with such long posts. :mrgreen:

  19. Domtan says:

    Of course they both won, in terms of gaining new subscribers. But for the fun of the contest, technically John didn’t lose.

  20. TDave says:

    I wonder if it had something to do with showing his feed in a hidden iframe (or something like that) on one of his sites?

  21. Ryan Shamus says:

    Wow, very impressive count Mr. Chow!

    As far as exploiting Feedburner- I bet that secret would sell for a lot of money. Being as evil and shady as you both are, you should cash in!

  22. Mike says:

    Congrats Ole Johnny boy!

  23. Mike says:

    yesterday i had 15 readers on my rss!!! and now i have 19… i should probably blog about it!

  24. Mike says:

    i mean thats like almost a 20% increase!!!

    1. MoneyNing says:

      More than that my friend. You can blog about that and post the title with something like “How I increased my RSS feed 25% overnight” :evil:. Maybe someone will finally get some clicks through that blogrush widget!

      1. I doubt it will improve blogrush 😉

  25. Jake says:

    John congrats for sure. The contest was fun to watch. I believe many wouldn’t have participated if they knew one person was going to rig it.

    Either way you have gained me as a subscriber. I was a longtime reader but now a subscriber.

  26. SEO Vibe says:

    Take a bow John, very nice results ❗

  27. James says:

    I was just wondering if Shoemoney had cheated. I know one way it could be done, but you would need a programmer to do that many in one day or you would have sore fingers. On a small scale, it is easy.

  28. Ivy says:

    It is true that people are lazy – I’m one of them. There are feeds that I hardly glance at, but do not unsubscribe. On the other hand, I have also noticed that some readers prefer to go direct to my blog than subscribe to my feed.

    Interestingly, I get more direct traffic than the number of subscribers on my feed daily, and they are a consistent number that varies very little on average. I will need to come up with some sort of RSS competition myself to convert them to email subscribers!

  29. johnny card says:

    hymn, i wonder if shoemoney really cheated to win? it’s been known that some bloggers will change their rss feed (dosh). but if so, why would jc let him get away with it?

  30. Etienne Teo says:

    Shoemoney seems to have a feed of its own, not changed., but it could be bot emails sigining up and over time, he had them removed so that it reads the right number of subscribers. :mrgreen:

  31. Congratulations John, U have a very diff. concept about blogging.

  32. SEO Vibe says:

    Hey John, you realise you’re within range of having more rss readers than the adsense blog? You’re less than 3000 off, I smell buzz possibilities, don’t you? Get your 😈 on!

  33. Raymond says:

    Well, at least I know that there’s at least a way to exploit the feedburner. 😀

  34. girly says:

    hmmm…… is very-very high traffic john. What you sharing with me john ??

  35. Am I the only one sick of seeing posts about the contest all the time? It’s great and all but the contest is over.

  36. iamned says:

    Blog traffic does indeed follow a power law or log normal distribution.

  37. Keep raking in those pesos

  38. Congrats on the 14,000 John….and I thought I was cooking with the 43 readers I hit last week!! hehe!

  39. bloggernoob says:

    amazing john. i have like 14, your 14000 makes me shame

  40. wow tell me the secrets,

  41. John, if you feel you’re winning you write a lot about… when you feel you’re losing then you on’t write even a short comment… that’ts really evil 🙂
    You said several times you don’t care about google but you write a lot about it… i’m not sure you are honest… just evil… and that’s not enough

  42. Ross says:

    So true about subscribers being to lazy to unsubscribe. I ren a monthly gift card giveaway on my blog where i give away a few $5.00 gift cards to subscribers. So ppl subscribe hoping to get a card, then they don’t unsubscribe.

    I don’t have a terribly high traffic blog, but in the month i’ve been doing this i got 150 more subscribers, from the 25 i had before. It’s growing every day

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