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How do you mesure the number of people who read a weblog in the age of RSS? One of the methods, I guess, is to only do RSS headlines or RSS abstracts. Blogger, for example, gives its users an option of only showing 255 words or so, instead of the full post, in their Atom RSS feed. That, however, defeats some of the purpose of the RSS, which is to allow quick content delivery and, possibly disconnected, consumption of it.
I am not sure what the right answer is. All actions on the Internet are a balance between anonymity and leaving tracks all over the place. Perhaps RSS readers, such as FeedDemon, could ping the publishing sites whenever an RSS feed was downloaded. Perhaps this is something an updated variant of RSS standard could specify in the feed header. Perhaps it could even be enforced by a contract, (i.e. a publisher could specify which clients can download RSS, and those clients would have to be compliant with this new standard? Obviously, this limitations would not be hard to overcome, but most people would not want to cheat, or know how to cheat, or bother to cheat, etc. and would thus accomodate most weblog publishers most of the time...
Or maybe the solution is to just not care? I really do not know.