The Google Reader recently started displaying the number of feed readers per feed in their reader interface. This count is of the number of people that read your blogs’ feed through various Google systems and NOT the total count of feed readers for your blog (as might be available through the Feedburner chicklet). You can log into Google Reader and type the feeds’ name into the “Add Subscription” form which essentially does a search for the feed name and provides you with the results. There has been some coverage of bloggers who have been looking at this “new” feature with rose colored glasses while others have been extremely critical of the numbers themselves and of Google displaying these numbers and the blogosphere seems to be somewhere in the middle.
I am all in favor of stats. I know it is somewhat self serving and narcissistic even. But stats keep us energized. It is true that these stats can be inflated by artificial means and Mashable’s Cashmore thinks that their numbers really mean nothing because of how “easily” they can be inflated but are stats all that bad? If the numbers help a blogger stay on top of his or her work and helps them stay motivated and attract more readers and as long as the numbers are not completely made up, I say they are worth the money we pay for them (which is free if you are wondering). I am not sure how the feed stats revealed by Google will help people subscribe to a feed, but they are a step in the right direction. If you are a blogger with just a few subscribers and are looking for more (I have a couple of nascent blogs), and are looking to attract more readers, try harder to write better content and participate in the conversation inside and outside of your blog.