Why the sudden resurgence of interest in Xeeber?

Am I missing something here. Back in August I wrote about Xeeber, a service which allowed you to see if users of the Yahoo Messenger client were online even though they had their status set to invisible.

As far as I can tell the actual Xeeber (link does not work) service has been unavailable for a least a month now, the post I wrote is receiving ever increasing amounts of traffic over the past few days? There were 49 views of that particular post yesterday and we’re only half ways through today and approaching the 60+ mark and all resulted from searches for the term "Xeeber".

Searches of the web fail to return any pertinent reason as to why the sudden increase in interest about what appears to be a defunct service.

What am I missing here?

Fake it to make it

There’s been a number of posts going around in the past few weeks about the supposed benefits of faking the number of subscribers you have to your blog in order to increase popularity.

Faking your FeedCount may help you increase your RSS readers as some people prefer to subscribe to a blog only after they find that it is already being read by many people.

The concept here is that people are like sheep. They flock together and if it appears that a large number of people are reading your blog then the "me too" syndrome kicks in and people subscribe.

Now, we all know that it’s really easy to fake your Feedburner numbers just by saving an image of the counter and spending a few minutes in Photoshop. Then putting the new image back up and linking it to your feed. You can instantly make it appear as if you  have 1000 or 20000 readers!

The problem with the Photoshop approach is that smart readers may notice that your feed count never changes until you finally reach the 1000 goal and replace the fake count with a real one.

A smarter cheater may be to opt to edit the code of the counter itself in order to fake it.

This is the Feedburner code for the feed counter:

<a href=http://feeds.feedburner.com/YOURFEEDNAME>

<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/FEEDYOUWANTTOBE?
bg=99CCFF&amp;fg=444444&amp;anim=0&amp;label=listeners"
height="26" width="88" style="border:0" alt="" />

</a>

Now this is the feed address for Problogger which has over 37,000 readers:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney

If I wanted to have Problogger’s numbers and an updating counter I’d  replace the "FEEDYOUWANTTOBE" with "ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney"  from the Problogger feed address.

See how easy that is? You can see it working on the top right of this post.

If you only have 50 readers and wanted to implement this approach you might be safer using the numbers from a blog with 500 to a 1000 readers as your readers will notice a lack of comment activity.

But why would you want to lie to your readers and do this?

Well the obvious answer is to gain more readers. But for me this is a very dishonest way of going about things.

If you start out by lying to your readers you’re starting down the wrong road and likely to continue doing dishonest things in order to promote your blog.

Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

- Master Yoda

Not to mention the fact that if someone discovers your deception and outs you, your real readers will most likely loose faith in you and unsubscribe leaving you back at square one.

I really believe that you should never engage in this kind of trickery simply to get a few more readers. Instead of focusing your energy on manipulating the numbers you should focus on your existing audience and growing it naturally. If your putting out great content and engaging your readers they will keep coming back for more and others will follow.

I’m not going to get into how to do that as there has been a billion post written by countless other bloggers on building an audience and engaging your readers.

If you’re really embarrassed by your reader count simply don’t display it.