Web Design & Development Guide
RSS Tracking is a methodology for tracking
RSS feeds have
been around since 1999 as a form of internet marketing, however unlike other
forms of publishing information on the internet, it is difficult to track the
usage of RSS feeds.
Feed tracking methods have been growing in popularity
There are currently many methods of tracking
RSS feeds, all with
their own problems in terms of accuracy.
Transparent 1x1 pixel images - These images can be embedded within the
content of the RSS
feed by linking to the image which should be held on the web server. The number
of requests made can be measured by using the web server log files. This will
give a rough estimate as to how many times the RSS feed has been viewed.
The problem with this method is that not all RSS feed aggregators will
display images and parse HTML.
3rd Party services - There are services available on the internet that will
syndicate your RSS feed and then track all requests made to their syndication of
your RSS feed. These services come free and paid forms.
The problem with this method is that all analytical data about the feeds are
controlled by the service provider and so not easily accessible or transferable.
Unique URL per feed - This method requires heavy web server programming to
auto generate a different RSS feed URL for each visitor to the website. The
visitor's RSS feed activity can then be tracked accurately using standard web
The problem with this method is that if the feed is syndicated by a search
engine for instance then this will defeat the purpose of the unique URLs as many
people could potentially view the RSS feed via a single URL.