April 10, 2012

Are You Missing Blog Readers?

Where are you? Empty shoes on an empty beach

Now that the dust has settled from the disappearance of Google Friend Connect (GFC) from all non-Blogger blogs, I thought I’d post a followup examining how much the discontinuation affected people.

Those of us who never had the GFC widget on our blogs weren’t affected at all.  Same goes for those who have Blogger blogs and still have GFC (for the moment).

But many bloggers had used the GFC widget.  At the very least, we might have fewer readers now.  Or our newsletter subscribers might be gone.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I fell at the low end of GFC integration.  I had the GFC widget on my blog, but I never promoted it for more followers.  Regardless of that fact, the loss of GFC affected me.  Did it affect you the same way?  Let’s take a look.

No Google Friend Connect = Fewer Feed Readers?

I use Feedburner for my RSS feed, and I’d assumed Feedburner reflected only those readers who had subscribed to my blog via RSS.  Wrong.  Both GFC and Feedburner are Google products, so of course they’d been integrated beyond what I knew.

What this means is that people who had signed in to my GFC widget also counted toward my Feedburner subscriber total.  Most of those users didn’t see the blogs they signed into via GFC in their Google Reader, but the GFC/Blogger Dashboard has a mini-feedreader built in.

I didn’t know my Feedburner numbers also included GFC followers and wasn’t just RSS subscribers.  Silly me.  While two-thirds of my GFC followers had also subscribed to my RSS feed, about one-third had not.  How do I know?

Here’s the graphic for my all-time Feedburner stats:

The green line shows my subscriber number increasing—until the blue arrow points out March 1st, the date GFC disappeared for all non-Blogger blogs.  That dip represents the number of people who had followed me via GFC but not RSS subscription.

Luckily, I don’t care about numbers, or else the sudden disappearance of a bunch of “readers” would have depressed me.  *smile*  I know the reality is many people joined sites via GFC and then never visited again.

My only concern about the missing one-third of GFC followers is that some of them were reading my blog in their Blogger Dashboard.  All of a sudden, my blog disappeared from their “Blogs I’m Following” list (from what I can tell), and I don’t expect any of them were devoted enough to my blog to notice it isn’t there anymore.  (Heck, I wouldn’t notice if Twitter accidentally unfollowed one of my BFFs.)  We don’t notice things that are missing.  We just don’t.

Those who wanted to follow my blog might eventually find their way back through a Twitter link or something.  And maybe they’ll realize they haven’t seen my recent posts in their Dashboard.  And maybe they’ll figure it out and subscribe to my RSS feed.  Or maybe they won’t.

Life is too short to worry about such things, but from a curiosity perspective, I wondered if I was the only one who saw this dip in feed readers.  So let’s compare notes.

  • If you had followed me via GFC, do you still see my blog in your Blogger Dashboard list, or has it disappeared?
  • If you had GFC on your blog (and no longer do), have you noticed an ongoing traffic decrease as of March 1st?
  • If you had GFC and Feedburner, do your all-time stats show a dip like in my graphic above?
  • Have you noticed any other effects from the GFC disappearance?

We can’t do anything to fix the situation, but maybe by comparing notes, we can help each other feel better about those “missing” readers.  *smile*

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Comments — What do you think?

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Laura Pauling

Having wordpress, I never even realized that GFC was like a feedburner for blogger bloggers. (No wonder I thought it was kinda stupid.) I followed people to be nice but it meant nothing to me other than a show of I support you. Only the blogs I followed by RSS did I read.

I think blog reading, blog posting and commenting has been down overall though because most of the writers I know are buckling down and writing more. So I’m sure I had a dip too but at the same time I dropped from posting 3 days to 2 days and stopped posting about the publishing industry and more about my brand. So my blog was in transition anyway.

In other words, I’m not really sure how it affected me b/c it was just one piece of the puzzle. I can say I was psyched to get rid of the GFC badge and had planned on doing it anyway.

Jill Kemerer

Wow, Jami, thanks for sharing this. Since my blog is through Blogger, I forgot GNC disappeared from many WP blogs. Your blog isn’t showing up in my Google Reader anymore, and I always like your blog, but I didn’t even realize it was missing until this post. (I subscribe to 100’s of blogs and assume many bloggers just aren’t posting when their URL’s don’t pop up.)

My numbers always drop when I spend less time reading other blogs. My numbers also drop when I spend less time on Twitter. But, like Laura said, writing comes first for me, and my life is pretty crammed. If my numbers drop, they drop! I’d rather have a finished book!


Word. From the comments on not realizing GFC dropped non-Blogger blogs b/c mine’s on Blogger, to a preference for having a novel completed over high blog numbers.

Patti Mallett
Patti Mallett

Thanks to Jill’s tweet I dropped in for a visit. It’s a non-writing day so I’m cruising for a few minutes with the tea that is supposed to wake me up. Anyway, I like your attitude Jami, and Jill’s as well. I very much enjoy reading blogs but must be careful not to give it too much time. Book-writing can tend to get lost when not done regularly. You’ve given me things to think about, Jami, as I wonder whether blogging is something I want to start doing. Thanks!! (I mostly only follow the blogs that send me emails. I just added mine at the top….) ; )

Juli Page Morgan

Yes, all non-blogger blogs disappeared from my dashboard on 1 March, but I had to go look to see since I never use dashboard anyway. The blogs I regularly read are all listed on my blogroll on the right-hand side of my blog, and when one of them updates, it moves to the top of the list automatically so I know there’s new content.


Strange…no blogs dropped from my dashboard when GFC disappeared from non-Blogger blogs. Perhaps because I used the “Add” feature when watching other blogs instead of following through Google Friend Connect, so it subscribed to a completely different feed, probably. At least two non-Blogger blogs on my list lost GFC and they were still on my watchlist when they announced what happened.

Still, I hadn’t realized the real impact until now.

PW Creighton

I didn’t see that much of a change but I replaced the GFC widget with one for my FB page. I didn’t see that much of a change in traffic but I have see a significant change in commenting. 😛

Sonia Lal

I am on wordpress, so I never had it to begin with. LOL I’ve always wondered how much more traffic I would get if I did have it. I use the google reader to follow blogs.

Lacey Devlin

Well. I’m out of the loop. I noticed some of my subscribers vanished and I swore at wordpress the other day because it wouldn’t let me add someone to my blogspot reader. I just thought it was a glitch 🙁 You’re still showing up in my reader 🙂 so yay!

On the other hand, boo, because I have a system. I like my system. Now, where the heck am I going to keep everyone? 😉

Nancy S. Thompson

To be honest, I don’t follow my own stats very closely. As for your blog, I keep it both on my iPhone home screen & on my blog roll, so if you post, I won’t miss it. Except now the A to Z challenge is sucking my time dry, & what’s left of it, my publisher expects me to spend tweeting. I feel like im missing a lot this month. OY!


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