As the ironic gods of synchronicity would have it, my recent inflammatory post didn’t actually trigger a mass-exodus of subscribers. What really happened was either FeedBurner under-reported my subscriber count or Google had some issues starting January 17th through January 22nd. The entry for “Google Feedfetcher” disappeared from the “Feed Readers and Aggregators” list, which accounted for a significant portion of my subscriber count–almost half of it.
FeedBurner’s description of Google Feedfetcher reads as follows:
Feedfetcher is how Google grabs RSS or Atom feeds when users subscribe to them in Google Reader or iGoogle. Subscriber counts include Google Reader and the iGoogle. Feedfetcher collects and periodically refreshes these user-initiated feeds, but does not index them in Blog Search or Google’s other search services.
So, I don’t know if Google’s Feedfetcher didn’t poll my feed for those days, or if FeedBurner simply failed to account for them. Either way, my subscriber count appears to be back to normal.