Feedburner Buys Blogbeat.net

July 17, 2006

Feedburner announced their acquisition of Blogbeat, my favorite blog measurement service.

I have been wanting to review Blogbeat for some time now, but instead, I have been sending email to Jeff Turner, formerly their CEO and now lead engineer at FeedBurner. My first email subject line, last April, included a laundry list of things I wanted him to fix or improve. “Soon I will be reviewing you in my web analytics blog,” I wrote, “but I would like you to fix all sorts of problems first…” He got right back to me with a note of appreciation, and I wrote,

You are so great to work with. I work with [fill in a big analytics company name here] where the software costs $50,000, they take a week to answer my questions, and they don’t answer in full.

So that’s one of the reasons that I love Blogbeat. The other reason is, it provides just the level of functionality I need for my niche blog.

I do run MeasureMap and GA on my blog, but I almost never look at them. MeasureMap doesn’t let me drill down to the user level. As user-friendly as Google is, it’s just too big for a small blog where the questions are primarily:

  • How did people come to me: referral, search, direct? (This info comproses the Blogbeat overview)
  • What were the referrals, what were the searches?
  • Who came to me and what did they look at? What did they want to know? Did they look at more than one post?
  • Did they subscribe?

In other words, I want to know, what kind of buzz is my blog generating and what do my readers care about? I also want to know if they converted.

I would never work at this level for a lead generation website. That’s because I want to know things like how much revenue was generated by marketing source (so, “people who clicked on a specific banner ad converted into a lead x% of the time, the cost per lead is $85, and a lead is only worth $45, let’s fix this.”) But most blogs – especially small blogs – are different. Conversion may be, how many pages did they look at? Conversion may be, did they click through to the rest of my site, or did they subscribe to the feed, or did they click on the AdSense? Blogbeat addresses all those onclick events in their Links section.

Certainly you can argue, it would be nice to be able to tie together more of the data in Blogbeat. So if Blogbeat already knows which IP address came in via which method and what they searched for and which pages they looked at, can’t they tie that to onclick events so we can see what causes a conversion? That’s one of the things I am looking to Feedburner to do.

Although the Blogbeat city cloud feature is lovely, I primarily look at the detail by visitor. It enables me to look at an IP address and see this (although I have deleted the actual IP):

Notice that I get all sorts of information here. I see that this is someone who lives in Coldwater, Michigan, they found my blog by searching for “causation vs. correlation” on Google, they landed on a post that I know will do a good job of answering their question, this is their first visit and they only looked at one page. (And if I cared, I would notice their technographics, IE6 and Windows XP.) If they had looked at more than one page I would have clicked on the “more…” to see all the pages they viewed.

Since my audience is not as big as John Battelle’s is, I have the luxury of scrolling through those visitor pages every day. Reports that show averages and medians are great, but this is the online equivalent of getting out and meeting the people.

So once again: Congratulations, Feedburner. You made a great choice. However, I’ll be sending you my punch list of improvements just as soon as the noise dies down.

Robbin Steif

ps Need more information on the acquisition and what it means to subscribers?