I use NetVibes as my online, synchronized news reader. A little bit ago, I went through an exercise to find a better online RSS reader and eventually settled on NetVibes. That was before I found out about PageFlakes (which is a NetVibes clone) and Google Reader received its upgrade. Having tried out Google Reader after it’s Gmail-esque upgrade, it is a lot better; but doesn’t offer enough to make it worthwhile to switch. And really, Google’s competiting product is more iGoogle than the reader.
However, I am not in the majority because Google Reader/iGoogle is the most popular feed reader on the net. I don’t have any unbiased sources to cite, but am basing my conclusions on my FeedBurner statistics. In the last 3 months since FeedBurner started tracking Google subscribers, my feed subscriber count for Free iTunes Downloads has absolutely exploded by doubling to almost 4 thousand readers. You can see when FeedBurner added the Google numbers in by the sudden jump in February in the graph below. Google subscribers, either through Google Reader or iGoogle now account for almost half of my subscribers, easily leapfrogging #2 Bloglines at ~500 and #3 Netvibes at ~250.
I’m currently in the middle of another jump (barely visible on the graphic), having for reasons unknown added ~800 subscribers over the weekend. I’ve been looking around the web to see if I’ve been featured anywhere prominent lately, but have been drawing blanks. One possibility is that iGoogle might be getting a influx of new users since it’s no longer in Beta, and fortunate for me, FiD ranks #1 and #7 in iGoogle content related to iTunes. Being ranked twice in the list is actually a funny story. I’d much rather consolidate my lock on #1, but there’s no way for me, a site owner, to combine two identical feeds (with different URLs) on iGoogle.
While my traffic has been going up, my advertisement revenue has not followed the same growth curve. In fact, it is worse than stagnant as I’m making less money than I did during Christmas time. That is one drawback to having a large number of Google users; they’re too net-savvy to pay attention to ads. I’d much prefer visitors from the common-people demographic who received new iPods or Macs for Christmas.