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RSS users worldwide at 275 million? Ubiquitous RSS is almost upon us

Alex Barnett, International Program Manager for MSDN and TechNet at Microsoft, takes a look at the recent survey information on the use of RSS and concludes that ubiquitous RSS is almost upon us.

…[T]he number of RSS users in the UK and US is now at a staggering 72.8 million…worldwide this is 275 million.

More interesting is Alex’s analysis of Yahoo’s RSS study, just released last week. The report found only 4% have knowingly used RSS but that 27% of Internet users consume RSS syndicated content on personalized start pages (e.g., My Yahoo!, My MSN) without knowing that RSS is the enabling technology.

This usage number (total of 31%) is around three times the highest RSS use data I’ve seen from other reports.  The average of three major studies puts RSS usage at around 8.5%, but these were users who say they were aware they were using RSS.  The jump (from 8.5% to 31%!) comes from sourcing new data – RSS usage by users who are unaware that they are using RSS. 

Here’s Alex’s graph depicting the data.


When I read Yahoo’s survey I was struck by the same figure, that being that 27% of all Internet users were using RSS without knowing it. Thinking it was too high I concluded that it was just 27% of the 6 to 10% of net users I understood to be using RSS. But I’m not sure how you ask someone how they use RSS if they do not know what it is. Make any sense? Maybe Alex is on to something.

Follow up: ZDNet is supporting Alex’s interpretation that 27% of Internet users are using RSS.

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