Feedburner has launched a new service that tracks both site traffic and RSS subscribers in one place. While many publishers use one service (such as Site Meter) to track on-site page views and another to track RSS subscribers, this is the first time a comprehensive service has been offered that allows publishers to get a bird's eye view of all site visitors in one place.
Publishing 2.0 is forward-looking enough to posit a future where we can finally drop the vocabulary that often confuses conversations about how "popular" a site is and move to "a new metric called 'content views,' which is agnostic to where or how content is viewed."
Achieving a standard definition of measuring how many people view a website would have profound repercussions for online media companies. Conversations between publishers and advertisers would be vastly simplified, for one. A new wave of services that rank sites according to content views could also then potentially emerge to compete with and perhaps surpass the likes of Alexa's traffic rankings.
While most people seem to respect Alexa's rankings, no one really likes them or agrees that they're anywhere near accurate. This uncertainty can affect things such as site valuation, funding, business development deals, advertising, and so on. A quick Google News search brought up this anguished plea: "Alexa.com's indexing of website popularity is fatally flawed. All you need to do to verify this is compare your own internal website analytics with the tracking provided by Alexa."
A common definition of site traffic coupled with a standard way to measure all of the ways that people view Internet content – and Feedburner is in the best position to do this for the time being – may open the door to a better way to rank Internet traffic.