How do people arrive at The Noisy Channel?

Like most bloggers, I diligently analyze my logs to see how readers are responding to my rambling. I use the Clicky, which I’ve found quite nice even if it isn’t free (but it does provide real-time updates).

Here are the stats for the past month:

  • 48%: directly or through bookmarks
  • 25%: links from other sites
  • 15%: RSS readers and social media
  • 12%: (non-paid) search results

Note that I don’t find out who is reading the blog through RSS readers; I only see log entries for people who click through the readers, e.g., to read or post comments.

The searches are certainly the most entertaining  bits in the log. Here are a few I found particularly amusing:

  • channel for inspired people
  • english sex channel
  • how to make pipe quick
  • “keep yourself on the gravy train for life”
  • psychology of noisy people

I would be curious to know more about who is reading the blog through RSS readers. Anyone here have advice on how or whether it is feasible to do so?

Note: my asserting that my eulogies for privacy nothwithstanding, I respect the anonymity of my readers and will only disclose log data in forms like the above, which do not disclose any even remotely personally identifying information.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

6 replies on “How do people arrive at The Noisy Channel?”

Your server access logs have some information about feed readers. Specifically, the user agents will contain some information. I’m fond of how Google’s Feedfetcher reports how many subscribers you have using Google Reader.


Daniel, if you modify your feed and include a tracking pixel, I believe you will be able to find out more about the people who read your posts through feed readers. I did something like that a while back with Simpy ( ) while experimenting with including ads in feeds.

I’d love to know what you find out.


Well, Google Reader tells me I have 64 subscribers (it’s been saying that for too long for me to believe the number is constant) and FeedBurner says I have 40. I find it plausible that ~100 people read my blog primarily through RSS readers.

I’ve thought about adding a tracking pixel to find out. But will that play well with all of the caching done by Google etc.? Or even with the caching I’ve implemented server-side, using a WP plug-in? As much as I’d love to have more accurate readership stats, I don’t want to do so at the expense of user experience.


Perhaps if you had an explicit RSS link on your blog you would have more subscribers. Thanks for the informative blog and Faceted Search: The Book. Both are excellent reads.


Sally, thanks for the suggestion! I removed the link when I was cleaning up after a spam link injection attack, but I’ve now installed a plug-in so all posts end with a link to subscribe to the RSS feed.


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