I’ve just installed Chris Fink’s Feed Statistics Plugin to test it out here after finding yet another group of RSS screen scrapers stealing the content of another blog of mine.
OK, I realize that for many of my readers I probably skipped a whole bunch of technical steps and background info there, so let me fill in.
As many of you know, RSS Feeds are a kind of machine readable version of your blog. The fact that they’re machine readable means that folks can subscribe to them in an RSS reader, like Bloglines or Google Reader for example.
Here’s a video that breaks it down if all this is greek to you so far.
Most blogging systems have a feed you can subscribe to like this. Your ActiveRain blog has one for example. (Scroll down and look for little links on the bottom right that say “RSS” or “Atom” — those are links to two flavors of RSS feed for your ActiveRain blog).
OK, well now fast forward. If people who read blogs are gradually learning how to do this, eventually people who write blogs going to want to find out how many subscribers they have, and how many times people click through to their site. Enter Feedburner.com, a free site that will “burn” a new feed — which means it’ll take your original feed that doesn’t have support for statistics and turn it into a new feed that DOES have support for statistics. Now you can find out that your article about Possum Gulch Luxury Homes was hugely successful, and bask in the sheer glory of it while writing more articles about that.
So far so good. You have your feed on Feedburner, and you’re finding out what a Possum Gulch superstar you are. All’s well and good. But what if you don’t want your feed hosted on a third party web site? For example, what if (like me) you find out that someone has taken your feed and published all your content somewhere else, but because your feed is now on Feedburner, there’s no good technical way to shut them down. (Of course, there are legal solutions because clearly it’s a copyright violation, but it’d be nice if you could shut them down another way — which you could do if the feed were hosted on your own site, but how you do that is a whole different story, with the short answer being: “ask a nerd”).
Bottom line, because of some disreputable criminals, I have to jump through hoops.
Isn’t the Internet great?