How do I know I have four readers?

I recently asked the maintainers of if
they kept access stats on my blog; I was curious if anyone actually read it. 
They sent me to a web page with a ton of stats and charts; on one of those, it says
that over the past month, my RSS feed has had 6151 “views”, and 2995 “visits”. 
I’m not sure what the difference is, but lets be pessimistic and take the smaller
number; about three thousand.

Now, I figure my readers, being high-tech folks, have their aggregators set up to
poll every hour.  That means each one polls about 25 times a day, or 750 times
over the past thirty days.  I remember enough math to know that 3000 divided
by 750 equals four; the number of readers I have.

Comments (20)
  1. Rory says:

    For what it’s worth, I read your blog, and the machine from which I read it is only on for a couple hours a day (if even that).

    I used to do math kind of like what you’ve described above, but learned that it doesn’t really work – Just take a look at the number of unique IPs in your logs (if you have access to them (sounds like you probably don’t)) – It’ll change your mind pretty quickly. Even with super-freaky-dynamic IPs, you’d be hard pressed to attribute all the IPs to four readers.

    Then, check out the number of different countries from which you’re getting hits – I can almost assure you that the number of countries will greatly outnumber the number of readers you think you have (four).

    There are also readers who only come along every few days – I get these. They’ll occasionally send me an email saying something like "Nice post! I love your stuff!" about three weeks after something’s gone up. They may only come infrequently, but they come, and each one of them counts.

    You’re taking a realisitic approach, though πŸ™‚ I have to give you that much. Plan for the worst and all.

  2. Bruce says:

    I figured my psuedo-science would force a response from someone! <grin>

  3. Bruce says:

    In all seriousness, and in contrast to my last reply, I have to say that as a neophyte blogger I really, really crave feedback on what I write. Rory, thank you for your thoughtful and well-written response – I truly appreciate it.

  4. Y says:

    Apparently, I’m one of your four readers. As you predicted, I read your blog through an aggregator that checks your RSS feed once an hour. I feel that these credentials qualify me to make the following points:

    1. I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.
    2. Where do I sign up for this newfangled 25-hour day? Wait… is this Avalon? It is, isn’t it. Avalon is really Microsoft’s new productivity suite, one feature of which is an extra hour in each day! I need to buy MS stock!
    3. If this is not the case, and your day only has 24 hours (pathetic!), then I must be the fractional reader you carelessly rounded off and discarded. I’m crushed. I take back what I said about enjoying your blog. I’m going to go read Scoble now.
  5. Depending on your stats, and how they’ve worked BlogX on this server, the hits maybe real – eg when you change someting. I check all my blogs every hour, but I dont download all my feeds every hour – My aggregator only checks to see if the feed has changed and then downloads it.
    You’ve probably got more readers than you think πŸ˜‰

    Oh, your blog is great. Your non-testing related posts are cool, and then you post ruddy great testing ones which rock my non-testing world πŸ™‚

  6. Vazz says:

    For the record I am the fourth reader. πŸ™‚

  7. Andreas HΓ€ber says:

    Guess I’m the fifth-reader Bruce doesn’t think exists. Is it okay if I continue to read your blog Bruce?

    Especially the posts about testing is very interesting πŸ™‚

  8. Jonathan Hardwick says:

    I read through the "Blogs@GotDotNet.Com Unofficial Feed", i.e. someone else is doing the aggregating for lots of readers – which explains how I’m number 6 πŸ™‚

  9. Bruce says:

    Looks like Rory is right – trying to make sense of web stats is a fools game. Thanks for the comments; that makes my day!

  10. Visits are unique visitors
    Views are how many pages are viewed – visitors often view multiple pages

    I’m responsible for one of the GDN Unofficial feeds. I’d give you some updated stats, but I accidentally nuked my stats with a bad perl command last night. The most I can say is I get thousands of hits on the feed everyday.

  11. Rory says:

    You know, Bruce – I’m not the kind of guy who sits around watching the comments grow in a post, waiting for the moment when it’s just perfect to say "I told you so."


    …I told you so!

    There’s a bunch of us… And we’re just the ones who’ve commented. Most readers don’t interact. It’s like those mailing lists we’re all on – 79,321 subscribers, and it always seems like the same 12 people who’re posting.

    Yup! I told you so.

    But, it’s a good kind of "I told you so."

    Also, I think "The Galactic Patrol" is an awesome name for a blog. I got kind of mad when I saw it because I realized that I hadn’t thought of it.

    Keep it up, mister…

  12. Bruce says:

    Thanks again! Especially for the "Galactic Patrol" comment – a lot of folks might not get the reference, but those books have stuck with me ever since I first read them; this is my way of paying homage to them.

  13. DonXML says:

    The total number of readers doesn’t matter because the only 2 people that count are Bill Gates and Rory, and since Rory replied, you are at least half way to goal.


  14. antoine says:

    Well…actually I am reading your blog, too, which makes one more on your counter.

    At least you have one regular visitor from Switzerland ; ) CHeers!

  15. Rory says:


    I still believe that Bill Gates is reading our blogs…

    He must. It’s totally out of one of those fairy tales where the prince puts on the clothes of the pauper and goes out into the world…

    Except that Bill wouldn’t have to change his clothes.

    In fact, he could just get online naked like the rest of us.

    You’re all naked, right?


  16. steven says:

    Rory, you’re beginning to freak me out here, man πŸ™‚

  17. Add another reader.
    I’m reading from New Zealand.

    I tend to read from the GDN Unofficial feeds and don’t get around to reading every post, but try to pick up interesting subjects.

  18. Bruce says:

    Welcome! I hope you find this blog interesting; pay no attention to that naked guy who runs through the room occasionally.

  19. Stuart says:

    Holy crap! If the rumors I’ve heard about me are true, this means that both Rory and Bill Gates (a.k.a. yours truly) read your weblog.


  20. ajay says:

    Bruce!! cheer up …..all maths is wrong, then how will someone intelligent like you can get so low score…dont worry…..probs 3000/750 <> 4 (forget the floating error in pentium machines).

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