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What the what has been going on with subscription numbers in stats?

  1. Hey, all.

    We've been seeing a lot of requests and forum threads come in about the number in your stats for the people subscribed to your site. We had to make another change to that overnight which will affect your numbers back in the other direction and we wanted to make sure we clarified things as much as possible. If new threads are created on it here, please point them to this thread for the answer.

    When the numbers went up:

    We made a change to Subscriptions to count the number of people who subscribed to your site using just WordPress.com and not email. You didn't have these people in your subscribers list before, so now you have both more detailed stats and a higher number.

    For some people, the number jumped WAY up and didn't match the CSV export you can pull from your subscribers. I'll explain why this is in just a minute.

    When the numbers went back down (but not all the way):

    Numbers for almost everyone would have gone back down today. The reason for this is that we discovered that your counts were including people who had clicked on the subscribe button but had not confirmed their email address in response to the "are you sure you want to subscribe" challenge email. That's why the numbers and the subscribers didn't match properly.

    We keep counts on these people in the system so we know when they have verified their subscription. They're only added to your list (and are supposed to be added to your counts) when they agree to receive the subscription emails.

    Sorry about the confusion! We wanted to make sure you could see the WordPress.com users who were looking at what you were writing, and ended up getting our math on the numbers wrong. Everything should be accurate now; if it's not, please send us a support request with the details and we'll take a look for you.

    The blog I need help with is ryanmarkel.com.

  2. I posted this a touch too early; we're still working on making this perfect and I'll post here again when we're done.

    Sorry for the confusion!

  3. Also—and I want to stress this—no subscriptions are being lost as part of this process; it's a calculation issue only.

  4. OK; the list of your subscribers and the total number of your subscribers are now correct. In the interim, some of the email addresses who had pending subscriptions (meaning they hadn't verified them) were showing up in your list of subscribers even though they shouldn't have.

    It's all fixed now and should be accurate. If you believe it's not, make that support request and send us details and we'll look at it for you.

  5. How long has this counting of unconfirmed email subscribers been going on?

    My list of email subscribers has been increasing steadily for quite some time and overnight was more than halved. And the numbers and subscribers did match, I checked them recently.

    Are you sure about this? And how are we supposed to check if the count is accurate now when we no longer have those email addresses to check against?

  6. What the heck happened to my subscribers? My list of subscribers completely disappeared and I can't find it at all. It used to be at the bottom of my blogs stats page and now there's absolutely nothing there. More than a little disconcerting since I have been working very hard to build up my followers! Please tell me where I can find it now.... I can't seem to find it under the subscriptions tag either. That all about my subscriptions - not my subscribers.

    I apprecaite any help in this matter.

  7. How long has this counting of unconfirmed email subscribers been going on?

    For a couple of days; since we added the WordPress.com subscribers to your list.

    My list of email subscribers has been increasing steadily for quite some time and overnight was more than halved. And the numbers and subscribers did match, I checked them recently.

    The count you have now is accurate. We double-checked this morning.

    Are you sure about this? And how are we supposed to check if the count is accurate now when we no longer have those email addresses to check against?

    As sure as we can be.

    Pending subscription email addresses aren't supposed to be displayed to you because the user/subscriber hasn't completely assented to receiving your updates. We've checked and re-checked to make sure—no subscriptions have been removed from your sites, it's just the display of information that was incorrect and has been fixed.

    What the heck happened to my subscribers?

    What's your WordPress.com site URL? Your profile is linked to a non-WordPress.com site.

  8. The developer who was working on these changes reminded me that your email subs may have been reduced since these changes were made, as some of them are now instead counted under your WordPress.com subscriptions (if they are WordPress.com users).

    Any you've "lost" because of that from email subs will now appear in your WordPress.com subscriber numbers.

  9. boschpackagingpharmana
    Member

    I had my number double, then go back to where it was within about 48 hours. Am I to understand that the difference was pending subscriptions who did not complete the subscription? If so, how do I get that list again?

  10. This still doesn't make sense to me.

    If, as you say, the counting of unconfirmed emails has only been going on "For a couple of days; since we added the WordPress.com subscribers to your list." how do you explain the numbers.

    Before you added WP.com subscribers to my list my email subscribers were 'around' 65. When you added WP.com subscribers the total went up to 'around' 166, 101 WP.com and 65 email subs. Then overnight the total went down to 132, 101 WP.com and 31 email subs. Only the email subs changed.

    Are you now saying the 35 now 'lost' from my email subs were in fact WP.com subs, and not unconfirmed email subs? (because before you started counting unconfirmed email subs, a couple days ago, my number of email subs was 65)

    And you go on to say : "The developer who was working on these changes reminded me that your email subs may have been reduced since these changes were made, as some of them are now instead counted under your WordPress.com subscriptions (if they are WordPress.com users).

    Any you've "lost" because of that from email subs will now appear in your WordPress.com subscriber numbers."

    And again, if any I've 'lost' is because of a conversion from email subs to WP.com subs why has the number of WP.com subs not changed to reflect this?

    As it has been stated doesn't make sense to me.

  11. @onbeingmark:

    Here's how the numbers worked out over time.

    Before we made any changes you had just over 70 subscribers. Two days ago we started counting both WordPress.com subscribers and email subscribers which took your total up to approximately 166.

    The WordPress.com subscriber number has always been correct since the moment you first saw it: 101.

    However, the first email number you saw was 65, because that mistakenly included people who had not confirmed their email subscription. This morning we removed those people bringing your email subscriber total to 32.

    However, some of the original 70 or so email subscribers were WordPress.com users. Since we know more about WordPress.com users than email users (and can show you details) we've transfered those subscriptions into the WordPress.com subscriber list. The other WordPress.com subscribers (of the 101) added their subscription when logged in to WordPress.com through the subscribe menu in the admin bar.

    To sum up, you have 133 subscribers, 101 WordPress.com subscribers (including those transfered from the email list ~38 or so) and 32 email subscribers who are not WordPress.com users.

  12. I had my number double, then go back to where it was within about 48 hours. Am I to understand that the difference was pending subscriptions who did not complete the subscription? If so, how do I get that list again?

    The list of pending subscribers is not available as they haven't completed the opt-in process for email updates.

    The difference in your number may also include users who were once in your email sub list and are now in your WordPress.com sub list (if they are WordPress.com users).

  13. There is still a problem in that because the specific date of someone starting to subscribe is no longer given in the display, it is no longer easy to see how many people are subscribing in a given week/month or whatever - I used to be able to see easily how many people had subscribed in, say, December compard to November and now I can't. Any comparisons are mae doubly difficult by dividing the subscribers into WordPress and email subscribers. Does anyone care how their subscribers subscribe? I think not. Please can we be given the choice of again seeing (1) all subscribers listed togwether and (2) the specific dates subscribers began subscribing.

  14. @apeatling

    Your presentation is still open to interpretation and I have to wonder why, if you have access to actual figures. But it's not important enough to me to pursue it further.

    *

    One thing I would ask though is, if there is no way for me to check the accuracy of the changes, don't suggest that I can.

    As @markel has written in the OP above : "Everything should be accurate now; if it's not, please send us a support request with the details and we'll take a look for you."

    I did this and received back from Support a copy 'n paste of the OP above with one change to indicate it came from Support, to the same last sentence - "Everything should be accurate now; if it's not, please give us specific examples and we'll be happy to look at it further for you."

    How am I supposed to check the accuracy of your changes, ie "send a Support request with the details" or "give us specific examples and we'll be happy to look at it further for you", if I no longer have access to the necessary information, the email addresses you have deleted from my list.

    The word 'Pythonesque' comes to mind.

  15. Is it possible for you guys to create a tab of pending email subscribers?

  16. I went from 523 email subscribers to 929 in a day...then back down to 612 a day later.

    I give up...this whole process is simply 'above my pay grade'. :-)

    I put my faith in the 'big wigs' of WP.com that it'll all smooth out eventually.

  17. Your presentation is still open to interpretation and I have to wonder why, if you have access to actual figures. But it's not important enough to me to pursue it further.

    I went through the database by hand yesterday and verified the exact figures, they are definitely correct.

    The numbers are accurate for all bloggers now, and should not see any further changes by us.

  18. Ryan, Andy,

    My head hurts.

    So previously, before all these changes, the original "Subscribers" stats tab showed email subscribers, both confirmed and unconfirmed, WP.com and non-WP.com?

    Now the email Subscribers tab shows only confirmed, non-WP.COM email subscribers and the WordPress.com subscribers tab shows subscribers by both email and Subscription Reader?

    Still hurts, but clearer.

  19. And about those pending email subscribers, do we have any mechanism to send out a gentle reminder like, "Hola! A while ago you signed up to receive updates from X, but never confirmed your subscription. Maybe you'd like to check out their site and see what they've been up to lately."

    Just a thought.

  20. Are e-mail subscriptions to my blog included in my stats? Friends who have subscribed to my blog said they just read it in my e-mail and don't click anything to get to my blog. If subscriptions are not included in my stats then I need to remove the subscription button and tell them to go directly to my site so I can drive my stats up.

  21. By the way, since the subscriber stat "split" we no longer have the ability to remove a subscriber if they are hosted/reading on WordPress.com. Unfortunately, now looking at my WordPress.com subscriber stats, it appears that I may have a few splog-type subscribers. What can I do about those?

  22. lifeinpicturesinaction
    Member

    Something springs to mind in all this... the way in which non-Wordpress visitors subscribe needs to be made easier! We all saw a jump in our listings yesterday - because unconfirmed subscribers were included. I know for a fact that an awful lot of my 'followers/would-be subscribers' are very new to the Internet itself (let alone in subscribing to blogs), and they obviously made an effort to subscribe yet they didn't manage to follow it all the way through. THAT should tell you something... subscribing to a wordpress blog is NOT as easy and as streamlined as it should be. You really need to take notice of this! Today I was going to set myself the task of comparing the CSV to the list of e-mail subscribers showing in my stats - there was a difference of 39 yesterday - with the intention of politely mailing the failed subscribers. Today, there's no difference in the list and the addresses are no longer available to me. So, I am disappointed to think t that a number of interested parties have now slipped through the net!

  23. @justjennifer: No, you've never been able to see pending email subscribers. That was a mistake.

    Before you only had confirmed email subscribers. Now you have WordPress.com users who have subscribed, as well as email subscribers who have confirmed their subscription.

    All in all you get to see more information about users who have subscribed to your blog.

  24. So, I take this to mean that if a person is a WordPress.com Subscriber, who has either confirmed their email subscription or is reading via the Subscription Reader, they'll show up in the WordPress.com Subscribers tab? (The reason I'm asking is that the majority of my old email subscribers now show up in the WordPress.com Subscribers tab.)

    Regardless still no way to give a WordPress.com Subscriber the boot if the look to be a splog subscriber?

  25. giftofglutenfree
    Member

    I agree, subscribing needs to be easier. Why can't "yes" mean yes? Why is it necessary for people to confirm their subscription? After all, they are just subscribing to a blog. This shouldn't be rocket science. People do not want multiple steps to have to go through. If people are still going to have to confirm subscriptions, then I agree a couple of days after they subscribe they should receive a reminder email. This should be an automated step.

  26. Regardless still no way to give a WordPress.com Subscriber the boot if the look to be a splog subscriber?

    Can you give us an example of what one of these might be?

    There is really not much of a point to giving control to remove subscribers from the list, as they can simply resubscribe again. If you have someone who is subscribing to your site and you think they are a splogger, please report them.

    THAT should tell you something... subscribing to a wordpress blog is NOT as easy and as streamlined as it should be.

    In order for the subscription process to be "double opt-in" for non-WordPress.com users, we have a verification link in the subscription confirmation email. The process is as easy as it can be.

    At least we're not making people fill out a captcha. :)

  27. Basic overview of how the subscription process works:

    I'm a WordPress.com user

    1. I go to your site.
    2. I like it and click the subscribe button in the admin bar (reader access only) or in your sidebar (automatic bump to email sub).
    3. Since only I can be logged in as me, and because my email address is already verified by WordPress.com, I go into the WordPress.com subscribers pile immediately, regardless of subscription type.
    4. I either check my reader or I check my email for your next exciting update.

    I'm reading and don't have a WordPress.com account

    1. I read your site.
    2. I like what I see and enter my email address into the subscription form, then click subscribe.
    3. My email address is recorded behind-the-scenes as "pending" because there's no proof that it was me that clicked the button, or that my email address is valid.
    4. I get the confirmation email and click on the verification link in there.
    5. I'm moved out of "pending" and appear in your active email subscribers.
    6. My email inbox is a more cheerful place each day as I read your latest posts.
  28. lifeinpicturesinaction
    Member

    @markel: Sorry, unconvinced, I still think it should be easier to subscribe. Can I ask what a hopeful subscriber actually sees when they have entered their e-mail address in the box provided on my site, i.e. after they have clicked the 'Sign Me Up' button? Are they clearly told to expect a confirmation e-mail? If so, maybe it is too wordy or hidden amongst a pile of other stuff that they are simply not reading? With so many would-be subscribers missing out as opposed to opting out, there really should be something you can do to remedy this? I teach basic e-mail to senior citizens mostly (in the local community), and I've seen first-hand the amount of trash they can amass in their mailboxes - if they're not told clearly enough to look out for a confirmation e-mail, it's little wonder a confirmation e-mail can get buried or be inadvertantly trashed.

  29. This still does not answer if the subscriptions are included in my stats. If they aren't, I'm removing the subscriber block from my blog and have my readers type in my site directly so it can count in my stats.

  30. debfictionista
    Member

    Seriously, a lot of people think they have actually subscribed to my blog because they entered their email address!! Turns out that they have not confirmed it because they may have overlooked the email and accidentally deleted it....subscribing should be easier! :-)

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