Be counted, be read
There's been some questions posed as to "how do you know who's subscribing to your web site's RSS feed?" Count the number of accesses to your index.xml file? Perhaps unique accesses by IP? Dave offered a solution for this, but Tim doesn't think it's quite what he's looking for (I don't think it is either).
Tim's suggestion was to use the
"Referer" [sic] field of newsreaders to provide some kind of unique value on an individual level. Tim went on to describe how the newsreader would ask the user for their e-mail address and use that as the basis for a 64-bit hashcode (which would translate your email address into something that looks like this: 3a892d0a81224ff4). That hashcode value would be added to the referring URL when requesting the RSS feed.
It's a simple and elegant solution to the problem. I hope all the newsreaders out there hop on it and make it a feature. The only problem with it is that you can't expect it to give you an accurate count. Because some people won't supply their email address for such a thing. Tim's followup post on this topic includes comments from a very privacy-conscious individual (even though the hashcode could not be used to recover the original e-mail address -- he just doesn't want to be tracked/counted in any form or fashion). And there will also be newsreaders out there that may never implement this in the first place.
Please raise your hand
So in lieu of this being available in the newsreaders, let me try an old fashioned approach and just ask frankly: How many of you are reading out there? Please post a reply if you are: your name, e-mail address if you don't mind (it won't be displayed on this site), a web site address if you have one. And include your RSS feed link too -- I figure if you're taking the time to read my site, maybe I should be reading yours.