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Some Widgets Work – Why I Show My Feed Count

A coaching client asked me yesterday why if I am so against cluttering up blogs with widgets do I show my FeedBurner count and Technorati button on my blog?

Before I answer check out this from Wired about an eBay study …

After 470 auctions, Resnick found that the Swansons’ main account, with its high customer rating, earned an average of 8.1 percent more per transaction than the fakes. It was the first hard proof that a feedback score —” a number generated by a collection of unrelated people —” carries quantifiable real-world value. “What we’re seeing here is a new kind of trust,” Resnick says. “It’s a kind of impersonal trust geared to situations with lots of interactions among strangers.”

Human beings are wired to look for tiny danger signals. “Bad” things make us feel on edge. At the same time we look for signs that we can trust. In interpersonal exchanges these will be non-verbal signals, often that say “I am just like you” or “I am popular and trusted by others”.

E-commerce customers especially look for “Trust Marks”; is the site secure, are there testimonials, who does their card processing, are there contact details …

We put an enormous weight on the opinion of others. That is why testimonials and reviews work so well, and why the eBay trader rating scheme was such an inspired idea. It is though possible to infer trust from something as small as a FeedBurner count, an SOB award or even an ad from a prominent and respected company.

What do you think to yourself when you see buttons such as these?

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Comments

  1. i think:
    i wish i could figure out how to get my rss to work in the first place
    lol

  2. i think:
    i wish i could figure out how to get my rss to work in the first place
    lol

  3. Yeah, I see that. It’s a bit off topic to this discussion so I will email you

  4. Yeah, I see that. It’s a bit off topic to this discussion so I will email you

  5. I always glance at the Feedburner stats if a blog is displaying them. I think one of three things:

    1. The stat widget shows a high number of subscribers so this blog’s content must be worth reading.
    2. The widget shows a low number of subscribers so either this blog is new or it’s not worth reading. If it’s new, will the blogger keep it flowing with new content? If it’s a blog with lots of posts and no subscribers it’s unlikely I’ll be sticking around.
    3. No stats are shown. I’ll read the post I visited the blog for and make my own mind up!

    Showing your subscriber stats is only a good idea once you have at least 200 subscribers.

  6. I always glance at the Feedburner stats if a blog is displaying them. I think one of three things:

    1. The stat widget shows a high number of subscribers so this blog’s content must be worth reading.
    2. The widget shows a low number of subscribers so either this blog is new or it’s not worth reading. If it’s new, will the blogger keep it flowing with new content? If it’s a blog with lots of posts and no subscribers it’s unlikely I’ll be sticking around.
    3. No stats are shown. I’ll read the post I visited the blog for and make my own mind up!

    Showing your subscriber stats is only a good idea once you have at least 200 subscribers.

  7. Yup while your count is low you are better off keeping it to yourself. While there is nothing wrong with a low count, everyone starts somewhere, it might send the wrong signal.

  8. Yup while your count is low you are better off keeping it to yourself. While there is nothing wrong with a low count, everyone starts somewhere, it might send the wrong signal.

  9. Sometimes the feedburner count changes my perception — positively or negatively — of a blog’s readership. I was sure that you had 12,000,000 readers, Chris. 😛

    Subscriber counts work for me exactly like finding out someone’s salary. I hadn’t really thought consciously about where the number of subscribers would be, but once I know, the person somehow is pegged at that level and I become interested in how that number changes.

    Occasionally I’ll use Technorati to check a blogger’s connections. That happens most often when the blogger in question seems to be talking down to readers or self-promoting in a loud and uncomfortable way.

    Those factors come forward as price/value indicators when I thnk about the potential of a sale. Then other variables enter the pool of “value” as well — focus/quantity of content, earnings of the blog, how closely the blog is tied to the blogger, and so on — so that the weight of the original numbers is only part of a whole.

    In the end, the numbers and seals of approval serve to let me know that other folks are listening too. Knowing how blogs change and how individuals collect, they validate my choice, perhaps, but they have little to power as an incentive or disincentive. They are a nice thing — no more, no less.

  10. Sometimes the feedburner count changes my perception — positively or negatively — of a blog’s readership. I was sure that you had 12,000,000 readers, Chris. 😛

    Subscriber counts work for me exactly like finding out someone’s salary. I hadn’t really thought consciously about where the number of subscribers would be, but once I know, the person somehow is pegged at that level and I become interested in how that number changes.

    Occasionally I’ll use Technorati to check a blogger’s connections. That happens most often when the blogger in question seems to be talking down to readers or self-promoting in a loud and uncomfortable way.

    Those factors come forward as price/value indicators when I thnk about the potential of a sale. Then other variables enter the pool of “value” as well — focus/quantity of content, earnings of the blog, how closely the blog is tied to the blogger, and so on — so that the weight of the original numbers is only part of a whole.

    In the end, the numbers and seals of approval serve to let me know that other folks are listening too. Knowing how blogs change and how individuals collect, they validate my choice, perhaps, but they have little to power as an incentive or disincentive. They are a nice thing — no more, no less.

  11. I was sure I had 12mil readers too, where have they all gone? 😉

    It’s a funny thing, I try to avoid the whole blogtrumps thing of comparing technorati/feedburner high scores. Even back when hit counters were all the rage I never liked those either. With this though I feel it helps provide a scent of validity.

    With all of this stuff I am always open to listen others’ opinions.

  12. I was sure I had 12mil readers too, where have they all gone? 😉

    It’s a funny thing, I try to avoid the whole blogtrumps thing of comparing technorati/feedburner high scores. Even back when hit counters were all the rage I never liked those either. With this though I feel it helps provide a scent of validity.

    With all of this stuff I am always open to listen others’ opinions.

  13. If the blog has over 1000 RSS Readers, then I would definetely stick around and see if the contents are good. It actually saves my time. 😀 If the feed count is low, then I will move out and as you said everyone starts somewhere. If the blog is good, then it will attract more readers after a while, then perhaps I will look around.

    Regarding other badges like “SOB”, Alexa rank, Technorati Profile (instead an About me be there) makes the blog look ‘cheap’ to me. After all in the end of the day, I dont blog for Technorati or Alexa rank.

  14. If the blog has over 1000 RSS Readers, then I would definetely stick around and see if the contents are good. It actually saves my time. 😀 If the feed count is low, then I will move out and as you said everyone starts somewhere. If the blog is good, then it will attract more readers after a while, then perhaps I will look around.

    Regarding other badges like “SOB”, Alexa rank, Technorati Profile (instead an About me be there) makes the blog look ‘cheap’ to me. After all in the end of the day, I dont blog for Technorati or Alexa rank.

  15. Too many badges could (and probably do) cheapen a blog but done discretely I think they show a little bit of social reinforcement. It’s not that easy to be called a SOB … I think it involves buying cake 😉

  16. Too many badges could (and probably do) cheapen a blog but done discretely I think they show a little bit of social reinforcement. It’s not that easy to be called a SOB … I think it involves buying cake 😉

  17. @ Chris I found those 12 Million readers. They’re standing outside my window begging to get a name tag for SOBCon. BTW, we changed the cake rule, now you have to know the answer to the “Three Things Question” from the Monty Python Movie AND you have to participate in one of my 8,000,0000 comment discussions on my blog. 😉

    @ Ashwin the one exception to the above SOB badge rule is that we like folks who have strong opinions and who stand for quality. You’re is ready when you want. 😉

  18. @ Chris I found those 12 Million readers. They’re standing outside my window begging to get a name tag for SOBCon. BTW, we changed the cake rule, now you have to know the answer to the “Three Things Question” from the Monty Python Movie AND you have to participate in one of my 8,000,0000 comment discussions on my blog. 😉

    @ Ashwin the one exception to the above SOB badge rule is that we like folks who have strong opinions and who stand for quality. You’re is ready when you want. 😉

  19. Ashwin and Chris sorry about the typo I’m off to clean my glasses now. . . .

  20. Ashwin and Chris sorry about the typo I’m off to clean my glasses now. . . .

  21. @ Liz,
    Not that I don’t want my blog to be SOB, but the widget on the sidebar itself doesn’t look good. Just my personal opinion.

  22. @ Liz,
    Not that I don’t want my blog to be SOB, but the widget on the sidebar itself doesn’t look good. Just my personal opinion.

  23. In radio, we used to build station promos with people’s voices on them for one reason: research shows that most people like to have their product choices validated by others. I’m sure it’s the same for websites as it is for stations.

    Here’s my question: *when* do I add the FeedBurner counter to a new site? At 100 readers? 200? 500?

    Whatcha think?

  24. In radio, we used to build station promos with people’s voices on them for one reason: research shows that most people like to have their product choices validated by others. I’m sure it’s the same for websites as it is for stations.

    Here’s my question: *when* do I add the FeedBurner counter to a new site? At 100 readers? 200? 500?

    Whatcha think?

  25. Good question. I think 100 would be a good starting point? Someone help me here 🙂

  26. Good question. I think 100 would be a good starting point? Someone help me here 🙂

  27. I’m not sure when would be a good time. I was planning to hold out until I hit 1,000. After reading this I think putting it up sooner could help me get there faster.

    Great topic by the way. I’d been wondering about this for a while. I always take notice of feed counts as a measuring stick.

  28. I’m not sure when would be a good time. I was planning to hold out until I hit 1,000. After reading this I think putting it up sooner could help me get there faster.

    Great topic by the way. I’d been wondering about this for a while. I always take notice of feed counts as a measuring stick.

  29. I think John has a point about sooner than later. Success breeds success. But I’ll be interested to see what people think the non-cheesy threshold is.

    By the way, we all know our counts drop on the weekend because of FeedBurner’s methodology. So I thinking we’ll want to be up over whatever our minimum count is by at least 20% before adding a counter.

  30. I think John has a point about sooner than later. Success breeds success. But I’ll be interested to see what people think the non-cheesy threshold is.

    By the way, we all know our counts drop on the weekend because of FeedBurner’s methodology. So I thinking we’ll want to be up over whatever our minimum count is by at least 20% before adding a counter.

  31. I’m busy reading your post using google reader mobile on my phone. Anyway, the last line of your post says:

    what do you think to yourself when you see buttons such as these.

    And the link to the next post, by Seth Godin is:

    Money, popularity, quality

    😉

  32. I’m busy reading your post using google reader mobile on my phone. Anyway, the last line of your post says:

    what do you think to yourself when you see buttons such as these.

    And the link to the next post, by Seth Godin is:

    Money, popularity, quality

    😉

  33. Nice 🙂

  34. Nice 🙂