Why, there have been countless blog posts about it, and an endless myriad of comments following those blog posts. And all throughout, many people have questioned why Google would be so willing to pay such a vast amount of money for the Chicago-based startup.
Well, for starters, just take a look at FeedBurner's growth rate. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, FeedBurner is growing even faster than MySpace and Digg, with a traffic growth of around 385%. Now that's something to write home about!
And so are FeedBurner's other stats. I contacted my friend Traci at FeedBurner for the latest statistics and she shared with me that FeedBurner currently delivers - and get this - over 67 million feed subscriptions each day. Pretty darn impressive!
Latest FeedBurner Stats
Total feeds: 736,494
Number of publishers: 431,171
Number of podcast and videocast feeds: 112,998
Percent of FeedBurner employees using Macs: 39%, PCs: 58%, Other: 3%.
Traci also sent me the most recent growth charts covering all FeedBurner-managed feeds. These growth charts detail FeedBurner's massive, continual growth from way back in Q1 2004 all the way forward to Q1 2007. As you can see, the growth rate is quite impressive - especially in Q1 2007.
But in addition to such stellar growth rates, Google's purchase of FeedBurner was smart simply because FeedBurner itself is a subscription service - and by owning FeedBurner, Google will be able to get a better handle on which blogs are legitimate blogs and which blogs are not (i.e., spam blogs).
But What About Us?
Of course, there's also the AdWords/AdSense angle. According to Google's official blog post six days ago:
"As you know, we're constantly looking for ways to identify and offer new tools for content creators and website publishers. Likewise, we constantly aim to give AdWords advertisers broader distribution to an even wider audience of users. For these reasons, we're very pleased to tell you that we've just acquired FeedBurner."
So, will we see AdWords/AdSense in FeedBurner feeds sometime soon? Well, as the saying goes...Only time will tell. But the technology for it is definitely there - and it's actually already been tested by Google. See, I did some digging for you recently, and according to an April 2005 post on the FeedBurner blog:
“Google has launched a trial program enabling AdSense in RSS, and FeedBurner has implemented support for this capability. Google is currently testing this program with just a few publishers, but as the program becomes more widely available, and your Google AdSense id is approved for use with RSS ads, FeedBurner will take care of the rest as part of our suite of services."
This RSS feed monetization would allow Google to compete with Text Link Ads, which already allows you to monetize your site feeds via their successful Text Link Ads Feedvertising program. And having AdSense in a site feed could certainly be welcomed news for many bloggers - especially those whose readers read mostly via the site feed.
For example, TechCrunch currently has over 432,000 feed subscribers - and only a small portion of them actually visit the TechCrunch site regularly. The ability to monetize a feed like this could be a potential goldmine for them. And at the very least, a fair bit of extra pocket change.
But in addition to such things as RSS feed monetization, Google's ownership of FeedBurner could also allow us to have just one single source for the metrics that give us feedback on the value of our content as well as its impact on our sites and businesses.
The combination of FeedBurner's feed metrics and Google's site and marketing analytics can give us a very comprehensive, 360-degree view of our audience. This type of in depth view is invaluable and can lead to previously undiscovered insights and opportunities.
And As FeedBurner States
"The measurement of awareness advertising is evolving from unique impressions to audience engagement. By providing our hundreds of thousands of publishers with Google's world-class advertising marketplace and metrics, we can provide far more value to publishers and begin to deliver this next step in ROI measurement to advertisers."
Bottom line: This feed is not cloudy, with no chance of showers late. :P