It is interesting to see how readers will just fake stats/numbers to get some traffic or subscribers. A blog that has trackbacked to me, gets a free unique visit from me. Why? I want to see what they wrote about my blog, content, or about me. I was curios. So I went to the blog and looked at the post. (I usually always visit blogs that track back to me) In the bottom right hand corner of my Firefox browser Alexa showed me a website ranking of 'no data'. If you do not know what I am talking about here are 2 screen shots of Alexa's new Sparky Plugin:
When I looked at his webpage's Alexa rankings with 'no data' and saw he has 226 RSS subscribers. I was saying to my self "NO WAY!" How is he getting that much RSS subscribers with no traffic, poor layout structure (I am a web designer), short posts, useless content/videos, etc! I as a person and marketer wanted to find out so I simply 'right click' and chose view source. I thought he might of Photoshop the image somehow. To my attention the blogger was using someone else's stats! The stats are from another country as well! (I visited the RSS link, and saw it was in another language)
I thought to myself why would someone want to just false their stats to look like they are important? Marketers/Bloggers/Authors like me will be come curious and will research! This will definitely kill your brand. After I saw the false information, I just left the site.
How Users are Adjusting their Feed Stats
It is pretty simple. They simply change the image source to someone else's' feedburner's feed address. For example my FeedBurner's Feed Address is failurestosuccess (http://feeds.www.ianfernando.com/failurestosuccess). If I wanted to show off someone else's feed status I would just take their feed address and replace it with mine in the image source.
Here is how the image source code looks like:
style="margin: 35px auto 0pt 0px;"
alt="" height="26" width="88">
Where it says, REPLACE FEED is where you would replace your feed address with someone elses feedburner's address with high feed count.
BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS!
I do not know why anyone would do this; this is telling your readers you are not doing it for the fact of providing good quality content but for the mere show off. So I say the bloggers that are faking the numbers of readers are trying to just gain more, but just trickery.
The only reason I see this happening is if beginners want to gain a buzz right away, by simply showing off a high number of readers which would make others think to do the same.
The Net Business Blog says you can easily copy TechCrunch RSS subscribers, by simply changing the code stated above.
Showing a larger subscriber count than what your blog has naturally makes your site seem more popular which unfortunately makes new visitors more likely to stick. Just as having a blog with â€œNo Commentsâ€ written all over it, showing a FeedBurner chiclet with no subscribers can be just as bad. It turns people away in many cases.
On top of that itâ€™s a great way to stroke your own ego.
AskShane.com did an experiment on this issue to see if more readers would join his feed if he faked his feed count. His conclusion:
What I found really surprised me. Over the next few days, my traffic was consistent with the days before it, but so was the subscription rate. Advertising a huge subscriber base apparently had absolutely zero effect on how likely new visitors were to subscribe.
Since Shane did this experiment and found no changes I do not think it is a good idea to adjust your feed burner count. I was actually surprise that someone would do this, I have read from prior blogs that this is a good way to attract, but I just simply turned my head. I do not want to be labeled as a fake on the internet.
Reason Why NOT to FAKE your Feedburner Count
- You look like a fool if someone finds out, as I have did with this particular blog.
- You lose credibility if someone does find out and exposes you.
- It just looks odd if you do not have good content and no stats
- It will not attract readers if you content is trash
- Do not let your blog/website be a numbers game (to an extent)
There maybe more reasons if there is let us all know below. I do not think this is a healthy way to attract more readers and more subscribers. Once they find out your content is not of high quality then they will simply unsubscribe. So to me this short term use, if it is, is really pointless.
I do not recommend on doing this at all, you will just loose your credibility later on.