Recently, I had a chance to look at some blogs that were part of a newer blog network, and give my opinions on them. One thing I noticed was that the RSS subscribers were all the same. They faked their subscriber count in order to look like an important, highly subscribed to resource. While I can understand their reasonings for doing this, I quickly told them that they shouldn’t trick their users.
The biggest issue is really a potential public relations nightmare if users ever figure out what they are doing. It can have the opposite effect, with users ditching the site in droves, to avoid cheaters, scammers, and liars.
Nothing can hurt your business more than not being trusted, especially online.
So my message today is to not fake or falsely inflate your RSS subscriber count, it could lead to more problems then it is worth. You are better off not showing your currently subscriber rates until they get above fifty or so, and then put the actual graphic on your site.
If you are wondering if a site is faking their Feedburner subscriber count, check out my previous tutorial on how to view their Feedburner count, and you will quickly be able to tell.