Feedly dominating the post-Reader world, and other web-publishing insights from Parse.ly

Parse.ly, the web-publishing analytics startup that launched in early 2012, has released the first edition of what’s expected to be a monthly look into the top sources driving traffic to publishers’ sites. The first edition of the Authority Report, as Parse.ly has dubbed it, covers July 2013 and shows — among other insights — Feedly crushing other RSS readers in the first month sans Google Reader.
Parse.ly also announced on Monday that it has raised a $5 million Series A venture capital round. Grotech Ventures led the round with participation from Blumberg Capital, ff Venture Capital, and FundersClub. I happen to think the report is the interesting part, but the fact that Parse.ly is able to raise money — and to do it so late after launching — underscores the value of its data. Its customer base isn’t indicative of the entirety of the web, but it does generate a whole lot of page views across a whole lot of coverage areas.
Parse.ly draws its report data from a veritable who’s who list of web-publisher customers that includes Atlantic Media, Ars Technica, Mashable, Meredith Publishing, Spin Media, Talking Points Memo, The Next Web and Reuters, among others. When I first spoke with Parse.ly CEO Sachin Kamdar in February 2012, the company was processing about 700 million page views per month for its users; today that number is up to 5 billion page views a month across about 160 million unique readers (a somewhat conservative estimate, Kamdar said in a call this morning). Its revenue has also grown 500 percent in the past year.

A screenshot of how Parse.ly breaks down traffic by topics.

A screenshot of how Parse.ly breaks down traffic by topics.

Here are some of the things its report shows:

  • Feedly is crushing everyone else trying to filling the gaping void left after Google killed its Reader product. It’s also becoming a signficant driver of traffic overall, ranking No. 14 in Parse.ly’s top 30 list and producing more than 7 million page views.


  • News sites drive a lot of traffic to other news sites. Parse.ly actually breaks its rankings down into “Parse.ly sites” and other “news sites,” but notes the two combined for nearly 60 million page views last month and, combined, would be the third largest source of traffic.
  • Google was No. 1 with some off-the-chart number (more than 300 million views), while Facebook was No. 2. with just more than 73 million views.
  • Outbrain’s content-recommendation service was responsible for more than 50 million page views, while MSN and the Drudge Report (at about 16 million and 14 million views, respectively) were both responsible for more traffic than Reddit and Digg combined.

parsely1Kamdar said Parse.ly is planning to do some deeper dives into the various segments of traffic (e.g., aggregators) for further reports, and also hopes its reports spur some demand for custom reports by its customers interested in how their traffic stacks up against the competition. “There are so many ways you could squeeze this data to glean insights,” he said, “that internally we haven’t even thought of them all.”
One interesting footnote for the infrastructure geeks out there is that Parse.ly’s rapid growth means it’s no longer a cloud-only operation. The company’s Dash service used to run entirely on Amazon (s AMZN) Web Services, but AWS now handles only minimal workload. Parse.ly hosts its metadata analysis with Rackspace(s RAX), and hosts its customer-facing analytics tools on its own servers that are “jacked up” with memory to provide a fast user experience.