Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?

By Daniel Scocco

Around three years ago getting RSS subscribers was one of the main goals for any content-based website, blogs included. The reason? Most web visitors (most tech savvy ones at least) would use RSS readers to keep updated with the latest news and to decide what websites they would visit.

Over time, however, some people stopped using RSS readers and subscribing to sites via RSS, to the point that news outlets proclaimed the death of RSS.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that RSS is dead or dying, because I think a lot of people still use it, and even if RSS readers are not that popular anymore RSS can be used for many other cool things.

That being said, I do agree that fewer and fewer people are using RSS readers, and RSS is losing some of its important for content-based sites. I wanted to get some numbers to back this up, though, so I decided to run a poll.

The question is: Do you still subscribe to sites via RSS and use an RSS reader to keep updated with your favorite sites and news sources? Cast your vote and leave a comment if you want to expand your thoughts.



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57 Responses to “Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?”

  • doug_eike

    Perhaps I’m showing my ignorance here, but until I learn of a better way to know automatically when new subject matter is posted on a blog or website, I will continue to use my RSS reader.

  • Amy Oline

    I read far too many blogs to be able to keep up without an RSS reader. Unless there’s some other way that I, like Doug, am unaware of.

  • Ted Kolovos

    I only use an iPhone RSS reader for my favorite top 6 or 7 blogs.

    I think subscribing to blog updates via e-mail will always be more popular. The world wants simplicity and e-mail is simple. Plus it is an existing channel that people are extremely familiar with.

  • Million Mile Secrets

    I still use RSS because it is very convenient to be able to read all the blogs which I follow in one place.

  • Antone Roundy

    My feed reader is one of 3 tabs that’s always open in my browser, and it’s where a large portion of my daily work is done.

    I use my feed reader to:

    * track the blogs I read
    * watch news, Twitter, and blog searches
    * track my Twitter stream (I had to create a List and put the people I follow into it in order to get a feed that didn’t require OAuth authentication — Twitter used to support Basic authentication, but I guess they like to make things hard for people!)
    * track items in my support forum and helpdesk
    * curate content, blog, blog riff, tweet (if my feed reader couldn’t do these, I’d be a lot less central to my work, but still important)

  • Brandon Freund

    Looks like the pro-RSS side is winning by quite a bit. I for one couldn’t live without my RSS reader both on my computer and my phone. It gives me a chance to quickly catch up with all the sites I subscribe to. It’s less intrusive than e-mail and doesn’t clutter up my inbox. I like to keep that free for more important communications.

  • The Dame

    Is there any other way to keep up with a number of blogs!? I subscribe to many blogs and I couldnt do it without Google Reader!

  • The Dame

    ps: I use my reader to track blogs, share information on my facebook fan page and tumblr, and bookmark links to share on my main website. My Google reader is always open in my browser, it lives at the first tab.

  • Karen Lewis

    I suppose the fact that I have 254 Google Reader subscriptions speaks for itself. 🙂

    There is no other way I am aware of that I can keep track of my favourite blogs and websites updates. Thankfully, they don’t all post at once.

    So I’m sticking to RSS feeds and reader for the forseeable future, at least.

  • Jeremy Myers

    I agree with Doug. There is no better way to keep track of all the blogs I read.

    I think the News sites that were reporting this were noticing a drop in THEIR readers using RSS feeds to read the news.

    And that, I think, is true. I don’t get my news through an RSS feed. Mainly because they post about 100 items a day, which gets very tiresome.

    But using an RSS feed is the best way to track blogs.

  • J.J. Lancer

    Like Antone, my Google RSS Reader is one of my permanently pinned tabs in my browser. I’m currently subscribed to dozens of blogs and I check on my reader multiple times throughout the day.

    I find that it’s much more convenient than signing up for email newsletters. The convenience comes from the fact that RSS readers are more organized and specialized than simple emails, I think.

  • Jamie Northrup

    I use it now more than ever, and as the pool shows above, I’m pretty sure most bloggers use it, I would say the average person doesn’t even know what it means, but pretty much all bloggers do, it’s a smart way to keep track of many things, and a great place to find ideas, and find networking opportunities.

    Like Antone it’s one of the tabs I always have open. I’m currently subscribed to almost 100 feeds, including my blogging buddies, hockey news, blackberry info, new tv show episodes, ebay items and more, it’s quick and easy to stay informed… information is power, apparently lol

  • Tony J. Alicea

    I read this post via RSS so…

  • jawad sajwani

    I wonder how can someone follow all the information and tons of websites he or she likes. And as “The Dame” said, “Is there any other way to keep up with a number of blogs!?”

    So give me another way to do so and then you can say RSS is dying.

    take care
    jawad

  • Irfan

    OMG so many response you got here 😛 .. I usually never subscribe for RSS feed instead i search for its FB page to get in touch with those sites.

  • Antone Roundy

    J.J. hit it on the nose — feed readers are much better specialized for handling things like blog subscriptions than email readers.

    With email, the assumption is that once you’ve read an email, you’ll decide what to do with it — leave it in your in box, file it, or delete it.

    With a feed reader, the assumption is that once you’ve seen an item, unless you flag it, you don’t want to see it again. You don’t have to click “delete” to get rid of it — just move on to the next item, and it’s gone.

    That may sound like a small difference, but if, like Jamie, you’re subscribed to anything in the neighborhood of 100 feeds, or if any of the feeds you subscribe to are very active, then it adds up to a LOT of extra clicks, and the process becomes very cumbersome.

  • Rachel

    Like may people have already mentioned, my Google RSS Reader is always open in a web browser.

    I don’t want to receive an email every time each of the blogs I subscribe to, puts up a new post as I can’t drop what I’m doing to read it right away. Using an RSS reader allows me to read all the new posts in one central location, when it is most convenient for me.

  • Peter Richards

    I use RSS feeds still but only via my Firefox browser. I find that the way Firefox handles the feeds by allowing them to be accessed from the visible toolbar most convenient.

    Chrome & IE handle your feeds more like you would bookmarks or your browsing history. Being able to review feeds for new posts with a single click keeps me very happy with RSS.

  • Amy Schmittauer

    I LOVE RSS! I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the news I want in as organized of fashion if I didn’t have my Google Reader. I only subscribe to people by e-mail if they are absolute top priority reads. But I want WAY more information than that. If I didn’t have RSS, I would be able to suffice with Twitter, but RSS has to be one of the reasons why I am so productive on a daily basis. It truly is.

  • Jon

    Like Jamie above, I have upwards of a hundred feeds that I follow. Mine are categorised and prioritised in various ways through Google Reader, so that I can find important sources more easily. (From “Must Must Read”, down to “Read if there’s time”, and an overlapping cross-section of subject-specific groupings, tracked searches and the like.)

    I just wish there were some way for a ‘smarter’ newsreader to recognise when a post is essentially someone saying “look at this (great) content that you’ve seen elsewhere”, and hide it.

  • Healme Omare

    I just think RSS and RSS readers are here to stay for many years to come unless something new is invented to replace them..

    My Google Desktop RSS reader has been sitting on my desktop for as a long as I can remember. What other technology that can show you updates from all blogs that I subscribe to with just a glance to the side of the screen? Let me know if I miss some new aps here.

    I am way too happy using it for now 🙂

  • techkhan

    I don’t think there’s anything better than RSS to follow a blog or a website.

  • ruz

    “Over time, however, some people stopped using RSS readers and subscribing to sites via RSS, to the point that news outlets proclaimed the death of RSS.”

    Who says? How many are they? WHY did they stop? They got fed up with blogs they followed?

    This doesn’t make sense.

  • Ricardo Nuñez

    This blog is probably read by more advanced users. Right now the stats are showing that. 92% using rss. I use it and I don’t think email is as good. I also receive some emails, but I prefer rss.

  • rakesh

    I voted over the poll and according to the poll most of the user still use RSS to get in touch with their favorite blogs. It’s not dying anyhow.

  • herman dailybits

    RSS is indeed still valuable and I track multiple blogs using the rrs-feedreader in my outlook.

    Perfect to have a quick look during my working day or read them when I’m offline working.

  • Harrison Li

    I never use a RSS reader, I like to read directly from the site instead 😀

  • Rohan Mehta

    So, then what else do people use? Bookmarks or twitter?

  • Shlomo

    I never heard that RSS was going out of style. Personally, I love it for easily keeping track of the blogs that I follow.
    Shlomo

  • sokun

    Interesting article, i still subscribe via rss. I think it is a bit outdated though and facebook and things like that are more interesting but great post anyway.

  • James

    I subscribe via RSS and use a RSS reader it is very convenient, efficient and so much easier than going to each site; I just don’t have the time to visit the sites I follow each day. I love the fact I can catch up on content of interest quickly in one place.

  • Jeremy

    My blog reading happens almost exclusively in google reader. I’m a sucker for polls though; that’s how yo got me to the site today. I’m sure that with this blogs readership, you’ll find RSS use much more prevalent than on the web in general.

  • Josh Surber

    RSS lets me read everything in one place, using one interface. Twitter makes you go to each site, wait for them to load (even on a fast computer and Chrome, too many social widgets still slow stuff down) Until Readability makes a proxy filter that causes every site to be readable (good idea, maybe I should make that) I will stick with Google Reader.

  • xan

    i use google reader.
    rss, and especially full rss feeds, are much better than twitter for updates!

  • Competitive Dialogue

    I only discovered RSS and RSS readers 6 months ago and its a great way to keep a track of my favourite blogs. I have Google reader installed on my Google homepage so I can see any new feeds every time I search.

  • Michelle, Easy Designer Websites

    I now only subscribe to blogs that have an email option.

  • Jon Thore

    No, I prefer to visit of my favorites blogs and bookmark their great posts.

  • ES

    I subscribe to sites using RSS reader, but don’t use it. That category is not there in the polls!

  • Paul Salmon

    I still subscribe to blogs in my RSS reader, but I tend to read more posts from Twitter than from my reader. I don’t think I ever really took full advantage of my RSS reader, so I haven’t subscribed to too many blogs.

  • Daquan Wright

    I use RSS by e-mail, I don’t really like readers to be honest.

    Living without it, I could not. RSS keeps me updated on the latest happenings and it’s quick to access.

  • Guduru Pradeep Kumar

    Its true rss reader is better than rss via email. Thanks for sharing nice information

  • Marya | Writing Happiness

    Only email subscriptions for me, for no particular reason. Email is just something I prefer.

  • Adam Haider

    I have been using Google Reader for several years now and it is the first thing that automatically launches and stays open when I start the computer each day.

    An RSS reader allows me to keep tabs on dozens of my favourite websites, group and tag them, notifying me of new articles and allowing me to read them offline in my own time on my phone. (I also use RSS to be alerted on specific keywords in Google, YouTube and similar sites)

    – The rise in web applications –

    If it is true that there is a decline in RSS usage (for mainstream sites) then it could indicate the increased usage of web apps consumed on tablets or browser extensions, add-ons and apps that allow a user to read articles within the browser, not needing to “subscribe” to the RSS feed itself.

  • Techgru

    My favorite desktop app for RSS is Feedreader (3.14 version now) for get latest news from different blog sources. For me, it’s great way to use RSS reader because it still work well when my net connection’s speed is’nt so good.
    Mail subscriber is another good way, but the main issue that i always have to login in email account & i ca’nt view the full article in inbox, in contrast, RSS reader enables me to do that.

  • Wynn Currie

    I have RSS subscription feeds…, somewhere. Truthfully, I never understood how it works. Where are the subscriptions updates supposed to go? My email? I’ve never seen one to my knowledge.

  • Umesh

    I still think RSS is being used. I am counting increase number of users registering for RSS feed everyday. 😛

  • Andrei

    I hate to subscribe by e-mail and I put some RSS feeds that are mostly interesting and feed up my time when I surf the Internet in Google Reader. I believe that RSS feeds are still important for every website in the world.

  • Michael Trent

    For the summer, I did not read the many feeds that I have subscribed to. I have been reading other things. Also, I find myself subscribing by email a lot, which gets more of my attention than going to my reader. There’s a lot of good crap out there. LOL

  • Eric C

    I came here through an RSS feed.

  • Dexter | Techathand

    I still do subscribe to RSS, well actually I found this post through my Google Reader

  • Mike Panic

    I’ll go one step further. I remember 6+ years ago when the most important thing on a website was the, “Bookmark us” javascript that would add a site to the viewer’s bookmark bar on their browser. Then it was Subscribe to RSS, then Follow me on Twitter, then Fan me on Facebook, then Add me to a circle on Google+.

    As content creators, we often add far too much of our readers. That said, I absolutely still utilize google.com/ig as my homepage, subscribe to RSS feeds. I don’t follow many websites on Twitter because they do it wrong, no interaction and just a simple RSS > Twitter add-on. Same with Facebook, I’ll only fan a site if I want more interaction than the comments will allow.

  • Ricky Cadden

    I absolutely still use RSS – Google Reader is easily one of my most often-used websites (even over Google itself).

    I have over 200 subscriptions that I keep up with – I can’t fathom trying to keep up with that many sites by manually going to them each day, or even trying to keep up via Twitter.

    Email updates would also be ridiculous to try to keep up with.

  • June Harris

    I don’t use RSS now; I go to my favourite blogs directly. Also, I use alerts for keywords of my interest, including brands/people for online reputation.

  • Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

    Yes, I still offer RSS feeds to my readers to accomodate the many who still use them. It’s still an wasy way to organize!

  • Dr. Bob Clarke

    I’m kind of surprised by your results. While I have subscribed to RSS for some blogs, the really important ones I want to read immediately, I have subscribed by email and don’t use Google reader.

    Every once in a while I go to my Reader and check out other blogs, but honestly not very often.

  • Alan Mater @ Work From Home

    Looks like I’m part of the minority, but I prefer to subscribe via Email, rather than using an RSS Reader. Granted, an email isn’t as “instant” as having an RSS reader immediately updated, but for me it’s just more convenient.

    However, I offer both RSS and email notifications for my readers.

  • Noelle

    I still use RSS and Google reader. I did an experiment last year in which I stopped using reader for a while, and tried to keep up with blogs using twitter. The experiment failed miserably, because I missed so much. Tweets tend to get buried way back in the timeline so that you’ll never find them again, but with RSS it’s usually always there, even though it might take a bit of extra reading to catch up.

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