RSS Continued

This is a followup post from yesterday's one on RSS. Two things I want to add.

There is now an RSS feed just for MBA Mondays. It is available in the AVC RSS page. But for all of you who want to separately subscribe to MBA Mondays, here is the MBA Mondays feed. There's your MBA Mondays book everyone 😉

There were a bunch of requests to see the full refer logs for AVC. People wanted to see if engagement differed measurably by source of traffic (with most of the interest in people who click thru from RSS readers). Here are the refer logs for the top 25 referring sites over the past 30 days. If you want to see it larger, click on the image.

Avc referring domains

There are clearly differences but I don't really see any evidence that RSS subscribers are more engaged. The most engaged readers seem to come from TechCrunch! Go figure.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Techcrunch readers are most engaged? Or just slowest readers?

    1. fredwilson

      1.57 pages per visit

      1. LIAD

        TC links to the AVC homepage when mentioning you in their posts. Their visitors hit the homepage and then have a little nose around. Different kind of traffic and usage behaviour to other sites who link to a specific post.

        1. fredwilson

          aha. do they always do that?

          1. LIAD

            not sure always, but definitely the last couple of times when they mentioned the new fund – may account for december’s avg p/v’s

          2. Larry M

            Was this month/last few weeks an anomaly due to the fund announcement?

          3. ShanaC

            You would need to see m/m avaerages

      2. Harry DeMott

        Not sure that is necessarily the best measure of engagement.The way I figure it, visitors coming from Techcrunch are more likely people who have never read AVC before – and this nose about a bit – this doesn’t make them more engaged – just new – or judging from the quality of comments on Techcrunch, perhaps they are just lost.I figure the most engaged folks are those who show up at the party every day – and then read through the comments – occasionally comment etc…If I were looking at engagement, I think I would go to Disqus and look at the top 100 commenters or something like that – then figure out what systems they use – then you probably have a good cross section of your most engaged users.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Agreed. The most engaged folks (I prefer the term “readers”) are those that comment…and those that copy & paste the snippets of insight written within the posts. I spend a lot of time thinking about this in my day job, and I can’t think of a higher level of engagement than commenting and copy/paste sharing.

        2. Larry M

          RSS readers may have read the post and then clicked thru to comment. That’s my MO.So I spend less time and have less page views on avc.comI agree with Harry that commenters source would be the beset measure of engagement.

        3. Tereza

          FWIW — when I initially (for a long time) read and lurked on AVC, via RSS, it was delivered later in the day… So it felt like most of the comments had come and gone, so why bother. It’s not very rewarding to be late to the party.Maybe this was just a setting on my RSS reader or I needed to pay for an upgrade or something….but I didn’t bother thinking about it that much or trying to solve it.Quickest/easiest way to participate in the convo in a timely manner was to go in direct.So it became a morning habit.

          1. Harry DeMott

            True – when I get it on RSS there are generally a few comments already on the site – so its not like skiing fresh powder – however, I happen to like coming late to the party and seeing what people have written. I think part of the value is the commentary – so if you come in a little late (let’s say fashionably late!) – you can still contribute (not all of the angles have been explored yet) and you get some food for thought.Of course – this conversation just serves to prove the point that the people who are likely to be the most engaged come at the site in different ways using different systems.Me, I tend to use a Mac (although not at work – damn you Bloomberg!) and read AVC on Google Reader in Firefox – and if I like the article – I then click through to comment – and then generally leave the window open – refreshing the comments from time to time to see what gets added.So I’m pretty engaged.My guess is that your setup is completely different.At the end of the day – RSS is a delivery mechanism – and my post office happens to be Google Reader. Occasionally, I go direct to the store itself – but many times I just hang at home.

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            I agree that being late can be good because you can read more, but it can also be overwhelming. When I comment early I receive the next comments on my Blackberry and read them in batches when I have a couple of free idle minutes. But when I arrive late I have to put much more time to catch up and sometimes I simply can’t (altough I try to skip through them to at least read some comments).

          3. Tereza

            Yeah I pitch out a comment on DISQUS to basically trigger the convo over to email and then track it on the go during the day if it’s an interesting one to me.It’s a decision whether for that day I should be a driver or a responder or lurker in the day’s discussion, depending on the topic and my sched and whereabouts.Usually if I come late it’s a scan of what’s been said, a flash of marketing brilliance on my part (or a vagina monologue) and then a few potshots at my friends.

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            It would be great if in DISQUS could send all comments in a blog even before commenting something. It should be opt-in and you should be careful because in certain sites that could mean too much emails, but that would be a user’s problem. If the first comment appeared like a reply to the post (with all the text there) it would be amazing.

          5. Tereza

            I agree!

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Haha! In the early days, when all of this was new to me, I used to get the Feedburner emails around 2:00 a.m. and so for the longest time thought Fred was posting at 5:00 a.m. which is 2:00 a.m. my time. So, the AVC email was my signal that I’d been up too late and I’d read it before turning in.It wasn’t until I began commenting and noting the time of the other comments that I figured it out. Oy! But I can blame it on reading in the wee hours with what I had left of a brain.The funny thing is that I was right about the time Fred was posting, except a day late.Now, when RichardF starts commenting, that’s my signal that I’m working too late.

        4. Josh Fleishmann

          Stats from, and even Business Insider seem to back that up. New vs. Returning visitors would probably answer that for sure.

      3. Sebastian Wain has 1.91 pages/visit and more avg time on site.

        1. fredwilson

          Yup saw thatThey are not regularly in my refer logs though

          1. Tereza

            Must’ve been the “Charlie Crystle Bump” on Monday.

  2. William Mougayar

    This is slightly misleading if RSS is the factor being compared. A reader could be reading Techcrunch via RSS (on Reader or via aggregator that uses RSS), so that doesn’t mean RSS is not in play. RSS is everywhere and invisible.Second point is a clarification. Is the VC & Technology supposed to be All posts minus MBA posts? As is, it’s not. So, if one subscribes to VC & Technology only, they will miss some posts. It’s not clear how you sliced off VC & Technology.

    1. fredwilson

      it is the category VC & Techi categorize all MBA Mondays with the MBA Mondays category

  3. andyswan

    At mytrade we always measure engagement by time spent and actions taken. Pageviews….ehhh…that’s sometimes a result of bad linking habits by the source, and is almost always a reverse incentive to user experience. Think 8-page articles LOL.Anyway….I would think that people that type in everyday in their browser would be the second-most engaged, trumped by those with a disqus profile….at least that’s what I “hope” is happening with disqus!!!

    1. fredwilson

      On blogs anything more than 1pv per visit most likely means the visitor wentinto the comments

    2. LIAD

      8 page articles? – you haven’t been on business insider lately – more like 50!

      1. andyswan

        You’re right….I haven’t been to business insider lately. Coincidence?

  4. kirklove

    GothamGal cracking the top 20. 😉

    1. fredwilson

      yupthat made my day

      1. Tereza

        That’s not engagement. That’s marriage!

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Oh my.. lol

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Oh, you are quick.I think that if we were in the same room — which I hope happens sooner rather than later — my head will be swimming the entire time!

  5. William Mougayar

    And there has been additional ongoing blog posts on the RSS topic, heavily in favor of RSS- from The Atlantic, Business Insider, GigaOM, Newsome, Scripting News, etc.

  6. palbi

    I was expecting Twitter referrals to have metrics somewhat closer to StumbleUpon’s but, quite on the contrary, this show they stay on the site enough time to read through the post of the day.That’s pretty cool

  7. Dan Goldin

    Another factor relevant to this discussion may be that your posts also appear on the SAI feed. If someone sees your post on the SAI feed first they will not read the one from AVC.

    1. fredwilson

      yup and a bunch of other syndicators as well

  8. ShanaC

    I’m semi-surprised with facebook. The reason is that for some reason this blog has time delays there, and you have to click through twice (the article, and then to here) It still cracked the top ten – which means people are using it as a RSS light. Maybe that should be fixed

    1. fredwilson

      facebook is the most trafficked site on the web. sheer volume is why it is top ten

  9. Chris Waldron

    Most interesting point for me was when I looked at the traffic sources I “felt” a part of the community of direct traffic. I wake up every morning and type a…. into my browser to read this blog before I do anything else. That to me is an indication of the quality posts that Fred does consistently and the great comments from the #FredWilsonteam.

  10. Guest

    I type in the URL directly. It’s short and easy to remember, and definitely less clicks than opening up a feed reader. I only visit 4 or 5 blogs on a regular basis and have them pretty much memorized.

    1. Tereza

      Me deux.But I also have their icons on my iPhone and iPad for one-click entry when i’m standing around/waiting in car/train/etc.So it reads like direct web but it doesn’t feel that way to me exactly. Feels like an app.I don’t bother reading many blogs….just focus on a tiny number and tunnel straight into the comments.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I don’t do the icons thing yet the but I will if I upgrade to iPhone 4 with easy groupings. It’ll make media consumption much easier, and then I can mentally separate doing “work” on my work computer vs. skimming and perhaps commenting while on other devices.

  11. Mike Hart

    Any surprises to you in this list?

    1. fredwilson

      not reallyit looks about the same as it has for years

  12. Dale Allyn

    Just as a data point: AVC is listed in my RSS reader (so I’ll show in a referrer list as such), and I occasionally read it there, but most mornings I just navigate directly to the site via browser. In my case, just typing the letter “a” loads the url, so it’s most direct for me.Somedays I’ll return via my RSS reader (since it’s usually open) as I check comments that came in after my visit.This type of stuff is what skews such data analysis.(edit typos)

    1. ShanaC

      I’m like you that way

      1. Dale Allyn

        Shana, I may also show up via my laptop by way of RSS feed or direct entry in browser, rather than my normal desktop/workstation. I guess if Fred sees any of my IP addresses he should just delete them from the lists. 😉

  13. Vinay Pai

    I use the RSS reader in Thunderbird, which lets me deal with my RSS feeds in the same ways as I deal with e-mail. Anything unread is marked unread in the “inbox”, anything I still want to keep stays in there after I read it, and once I’m done with it I hit “A” to archive it. The only time I do click through to something is when I want to comment or something or think an article might have an interesting discussion with it.I honestly don’t understand the obsession people have with declaring things “dead”. The PC isn’t dead, smartphones aren’t dead (barely 35% of cellphone subscribers in the US have smartphones). RSS isn’t dead or dying, it’s a useful, easy, widely present on every platform and is pretty unintrusive on pages.

  14. Vasudev Ram

    Hi Fred,I don’t know much about SEO so sorry if this is an obvious question:What is the difference between google / organic and / referral?Thanks,Vasudev

    1. Vasudev Ram

      I mean, in the refer log image in your post.

    2. fredwilson

      organic is searchreferral is reader and other google products

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Got it, thanks.

  15. paramendra

    Wait, I thought we were competing with TechCrunch! 😉

  16. paramendra

    If you did not get the email 🙂 ………… Fred, How About Some Money?

    1. fredwilson

      i got iti will reply

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Unique approach. Online pitch. Good luck!

  17. Donna Brewington White

    For me, AVC shows up as a most viewed icon on Chrome and Opera Mini (BlackBerry) — so like Tereza, it’s become an app for me. Many days, I visit multiple times to read additional comments.What I want to know is how many comments are made by people who come over from TechCrunch! (No need to explain my curiosity on this one, right?)Funny thing is that much of the time that I click onto TechCrunch, it’s from here, another blog or Twitter — but I’m not the typical TechCrunch reader, or the typical AVC reader for that matter. But people are nice to me here.Uh…wait a minute — the MBA Mondays RSS feed is our much discussed BOOK!?!?! Surely, you jest.And the film version will be shown on YouTube, right?

  18. smilbandit

    I’ve heard that the utm_source querystring overwrites the referrer in google analytics. I checked on the link you created and used on twitter and it does show utm_source as being feedburner. Your stats might be heavy towards feedburner because of this. I don’t have many contacts that I could use to run this down but maybe you do. I’ll also post on quora.

  19. iamronen

    Surely there need to be (and can be) better measures for engagement … even if something more qualitative (=less quantitative?) … it saddens me that 117 second is even considered an indicator of “engagement” … and surely is a website where engagement does actually occur and could be explored. – I sometimes read your posts more then once … how about measuring how long you’ve got focus in a browser window? – I sometimes spend an hour writing a comment … check those Javascript mouse events – I sometimes revisit a page numerous times to see new comments – I sometimes spend 3 days on and off writing a comment (sometimes without submitting it in the end)

  20. Speachericka


  21. Guest

    this is good to do some back of envelope calcuations. Stumbleupon is referring nearly the same amount of traffic as facebook. Google is only referring about 15 percent of overall traffic. Bing is pretty low.

  22. Riaz Kanani

    hmmm – I am not convinced you can come to your conclusion just using Google Analytics – that is not tracking the amount of time I spend reading each one of your posts – just the time spent visiting your site. I only do that when I have a specific action in mind – ie to comment. I only browse to another page rarely.What I find interesting also is the approx 25% of new visits under the feedburner stats. That seems high unless you are getting a lot of subscribes off site?

  23. allubarbosa

    I read it, and when I’m done with it I hit the “archive it. The only time when I click on something when I want to comment on or something, or think of an article could be an interesting discussion with it.Motorcycle Parts