Techcrunch RSS Subscriber Payola?

Maybe I should enter these lyrics into the SEO Lyrics contest

Payola makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Payola makes the world go around
It makes the world go ’round.

All I have replaced is the word “money” with the word “payola” because not all forms of payola are monetary or immediately obvious, but it certainly can have huge value.

Feed readers and Ajax desktops get a huge amount of coverage on many popular tech blogs, probably a lot more so than any other online service. Every minor update to a major RSS platform gets coverage, and hell, I am not immune to this either.

There is a huge benefit in people creating accounts on multiple feedreaders, only to discard them at a later date. The feeds are still being pulled for your account, even if you haven’t logged into it for the last 6 months, and those subscriber numbers are still being reported to Feedburner.

But major blogs there is some additional payola that almost guarantees additional coverage

Default Subscriber Packages

Yes, I am jealous…

Not every feed reader service provides “suggested reading” and default packages, but many do, and it certainly has an effect on subscriber numbers for the major blogs.

Does something like this have an effect on coverage?

AOL Techcrunch

I wonder what percentage of subscriptions come from such default subscription packages…

Google Reader currently has a huge market share, and doesn’t provide default subscription options. A lot of those subscribers are created by extensive coverage on Tech blogs, converting people over to Google Reader, or at least encouraging people to test out other services.

There seems to be a huge disparity between subscriber growth rate for those included in such default packages, and those who are not.


This is a fun concept…

Tech sites frequently discuss market share for feed readers. They frequently compare numbers of their own subscribers by providing screenshots of their subscriber numbers.

Obviously it is important to figure as prominently as possible on such a list, so it makes huge financial sense to include the most prominent tech blogs within the default subscriber packages, even if more of your users would most likely be interested in a knitting blog or parenting.

Surely this should be something disclosed when talking about RSS applications?

Techcrunch via Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim (who has a disclosure policy)

p.s. Don’t forget to add me to your Bloglines account, even if you use Google Reader, Pageflakes or Netvibes

Update: I need to make a small correction

There is payola with Google Reader too!
Techcrunch on Google Reader

I would like to thank Mike for pointing this out in the comments.

Update2: I used Google Reader’s search function for blogs related to marketing. It is a terrible search feature and there are countless marketing blogs of high quality that are totally missing from the results.

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  1. says

    FYI. Google Reader does have some default subscription options. If you click on the browse link next to the add subscription on on the left sidebar, there are several generic categories, click on the more bundles. TechCrunch is in the Technology one.

  2. says

    Thanks. It would be interesting to see what happens to the subscriber base when put into one of those little subscriber packs.

  3. says

    I tend to look at feed subscribers with skepticism. Techcrunch boasts almost 500k subscribers, but usually only has around 500 concurrent readers. This is a colossal discrepancy of 10^3.

  4. says

    I strongly suspect that nearly everyone who subscribes to the feed of my knitting blog actually reads the feed! :)

  5. says

    Wow, way to lay it on the line for a layperson to understand.

    You just got a new subscriber.

    I like your hacked plugins too.

  6. says

    Probably of no consequense, but i wonder if one would see an alexa rank improvement from subscribing to as many feed services as possible.