Reader Survey Results: Part Two
Here’s the long-promised, long-delayed second part of the results of The Map Room’s reader survey. You may recall that the survey took place in early April, and it took me approximately forever to get around to tabulating the results. The first part, dealing with who you were and what you were interested in, was posted earlier this month. This time, I’m looking at how you read The Map Room. The executive summary: RSS and Yahoo!
Do you subscribe to The Map Room using an RSS newsreader or news service?
As I mentioned before, a full two-thirds of respondents said that they used RSS. Either that represents some serious selection bias, or you’re a bunch of heavy RSS users.
If you subscribe to The Map Room via RSS, which newsreaders and/or services do you use?
Other online aggregator
My Yahoo! turns out to be the surprise favourite in online aggregators. More recent stats suggest that NetNewsWire, which is only available on OS X, is by far the most popular desktop newsreader.
The Map Room’s RSS feed only has an excerpt of each entry. Would you prefer a full-text RSS feed?
|Would prefer a full-text feed|
Would use either feed
Would keep using excerpts feed
If a full-text RSS feed was offered, would you be willing to put up with advertising in the feed?
|In limited amounts; don’t overdo it|
Hell no, you money-grubbing bastard
In the end I decided not to put ads on the full-text feed, based in part on the fact that some of the strongest comments — other than those objecting to the colour scheme (which I addressed with a redesign last month that most of you liked) — were about the possibility of ads in the RSS feed:
I don’t think you’re a money-grubbing bastard. It’s just that RSS feeds foster an expectation of simple text-based ad-free navigation. I can’t think if any of my four dozen or so feeds which DO serve ads. So I’m afraid if you did you would stick out like a sore thumb. It’s that more than there being anything inherently evil about seeing ads.
I really, really don’t like the idea of ad’s on the RSS summaries. On the site itself, OK. It’s kind of like ads on the front page of a newspaper or on the cover of a magazine. It’s just not done. It’s also, likely as not, self defeating, i.e. you’ve got to get them inside first, then you can annoy them.
I wouldn’t object to the idea to the extent of calling you a “money-grabbing bastard”, but if they really happen, they would no doubt annoy me. But I also understand that maintaining a standard of quality in writing online (and make your writing freely accessible) involves a certain “cost”, be it your time, energy, or whatever. So this is quite a difficult question to me.
Since then, RSS ads have become much more prevalent. Andrew Sullivan, Boing Boing and the Weblogs Inc. Network blogs have them, and Google’s AdSense program now has a beta for ads in RSS. But they’re still controversial, and I still suspect that Matt’s argument is valid.
How did you first discover The Map Room?
|Linked to on another blog|
Google or other search engine
Linked to on a web site or mailing list about maps
Recommendation from friend or colleague
Yahoo, which came in second, was a write-in response. Very interesting, especially when compared with the large numbers of you reading the feed via My Yahoo! — there’s a bunch of heavy Yahoo! users in my audience, apparently.
How long have you been reading The Map Room?
|Less than three months|
Three to six months
Six to nine months
Nine months to a year
More than one year
Note that these stats are four months old. They don’t do much except to correlate with the rise in traffic that began in September 2004.
How often do you visit The Map Room?
|Once a day or more|
Several times each week
Once a week
A few times each month
Occasionally or rarely
Uses RSS, visits when something new posted
Nearly a quarter of you rely on RSS to let you know when to visit; most of the rest of you are relatively frequent visitors, checking in at least once a week. This may well have changed since then, since I’m posting a lot more often nowadays.