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What Happened to My FeedBurner Subscribers?

feedburner-logoLike it or not, numbers matter to professional bloggers. So when FeedBurner messes up our numbers this much, well, we have a problem!

I am not a slave to my stats. In fact, I often ignore them until I need my most recent numbers for a proposal or to update my media kit.

So while I am not in checking my stats, including my rss reader numbers, every day, I do check them quite consistently.

But this weekend, Susan and I had a horrible shock.

Susan went in to get our most recent count of Feedburner rss subscribers and the number was approximately 4000+ LESS than it had been for the last few months. Our numbers steadily grow every time we check in, so we have never given a second thought to their accuracy.

Susan logged into our account for a deeper look.

Since June, our numbers have fluctuated SO radically – even day to day – jumping from 6000+ to 4000+ less than we have averaged for the last year. This morning, our subscribers are showing at more that 6000+ below what they have been all year!

Now I don’t know about you, but when my reports are 6000+ lower than they usually are, I am a little concerned!

I thought this problem was isolated to us, but I happened to notice Amy from MomSpark mention on Twitter that her FeedBurner stats had fallen recently by 1000…

I then started to ask around — it was an epidemic! Most of my fellow bloggers are reporting huge losses and discrepancies in their numbers this past week.

Yes, FeedBurner’s RSS subsribers will fluctuate due to user activity levels — we expect some fluctuations. But the extreme losses I hear from other bloggers this week cannot be due to normal influences.

However, searching online has turned up no recent answers or references from Feedburner about this issue.

The most recent information I could find on erratic FeedBurner subscriber counts was in May 2010.

Google FeedFetcher subscriber counts erratic

Thursday, May 20, 2010 | 4:47 AM

Labels: Known Issue

Issue: Subscriber counts may appear lower than normal in publisher reports because of missing Google FeedFetcher reports. All subscribers are still receiving the feed, this only effects the reporting number in the publisher dashboard and the awareness API. There are no issues with feed delivery for text feeds or podcasts.

Status: Currently, we rely on the Google FeedFetcher user-agent to report to us the number of subscribers for a feed. This number is calculated from a mix of Google properties including Google Reader and iGoogle. We will be changing our method of calculating subscribers to use internal Google APIs between FeedBurner and the processes that run Google FeedFetcher so this number is more accurate in the future. This post will be updated when that is running in production.

Update (11:00am PST 9-Jul): Today we rolled out a new subscriber count reporting fix that seeks first and foremost to address the issues surrounding Google FeedFetcher reporting. We will be monitoring counts closely to gauge success.

– FeedBurner Status Blog

Fellow bloggers assure me that my subscribers haven’t been lost. They are still there. FeedBurner just isn’t showing them.

But this is little consolation to me when my media kits for the past two years have said one range of numbers and this week they are saying something quite different!

Have YOU experienced any recent problems with FeedBurner? If so, have you had huge losses to your subscriber numbers in the past week or month?

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