Does RSS hurt content site traffic?

A reader asked a good question in the comments section yesterday.

“Has anyone done any research on what this does for the traffic of the news Web sites that are RSS’d?”
I’m still looking for research, but here’s what RSS guru, Dave Winer, had to say about it this morning.
The one place where you may lose a little flow is the home page of each publication, since the feeds basically reproduce the content on the home page. But I think this is more than offset by the gains in flow achieved through the feeds.
The bigger issue, of course, is not who gains or loses, but that this is where the whole business of news dissemination is headed. As Dave mentions, we’re in our infancy with this technology, and as demand increases, so will the ability for content providers to cash in. I recommend to all of my clients that they syndicate their material, and most are paying attention. I just don’t want to be left behind, because I’m trying to figure out whether it’s a “safe” thing to do. For crying out loud, take a leap!


  1. It’s more than “a little flow,” especially if your readers are tech-savvy.

    That’s my experience at Lost Remote, where RSS traffic continues to skyrocket. Traditional home page traffic, meanwhile, is growing slowly.

    That means I need to serve up more than straight headlines on RSS. So coming soon, I’ll integrate ads into the RSS feed.

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