I display my FeedBurner subscribers count because I don’t have a choice…
Maki left out this question, but I think it’s a valid one. I choose to use FeedBurner for my RSS feeds because of the following things it gives me (for free):
- Recognized metric that is sometimes used to evaluate “blog worth” (like Technorati).
- Browser friendly page when someone clicks on the RSS link (instead of an XML file).
- In depth stats package that tells me who is reading my feed, where they are from and which RSS application and web browser they are using.
- Click tracking to know which links people click on in my feed.
- FeedFlares that let me put a footer on each RSS post with the number of commenters, Technorati links, and Digg/del.icio.us/Stumbles.
- Ability to change the title and description of my feed.
- Ability to offer email subscriptions.
- Subscriber count chicklet.
- Animated image of recent posts.
- Switching to FeedBurner can reduce your server load by as much as 50% (not an issue for me).
- I can change the source FeedBurner is using — this let me do hacks like display asides only on my blog and not in my feed (that I’ve since stopped doing).
All the options that could ever appeal to a geek like me.
Why Display FeedBurner Subscriber Count?
The short answer is because I don’t have a choice if I want people to subscribe to it. I’m a special case because I choose to be hosted on the WordPress.com multi-user platform. Unlike regular WordPress this means I don’t have the ability to add/modify themes or plug-ins — that includes changing my default feed to my FeedBurner feed . Clicking on that chicklet is the only way people subscribe to my FeedBurner feed, everyone who uses auto-discover gets the WordPress.com feed instead.
I’d love to have the ability to switch to my FeedBurner feed as a wp.com feature.
The FeedBurner subscriber count is also a badge of reliability. I agree with Andy Beard that displaying is a form of social proof — it shows that you have an audience and that may increase your credibility the same way as displaying your Technorati rank.
For some people blogging can be a numbers game  (*whistles innocently*), and the number of readers is the only metric that makes any sense. The FeedBurner subscriber count is one of the few trustworthy metrics bloggers have available. Other ones like Technorati rank, Alexa traffic and MyBlogLog community members are all either hopelessly flawed or continually gamed .
FeedBurner is one of the few modern web companies that has a truly great product for content producers, and I’m proud to use them.
 And yes, I know I can switch hosting providers if it is that much of an issue for me. :)
 I am a number junkie and I spend a ridiculous amount of time tracking stats.
 Yes, FeedBurner has been gamed before but that has been quickly resolved.
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