Feedburner on the Rocks?

On July 26th of this year, Feedburner had made a decision to shut down its Twitter account, an account that it had not posted to in over a year. That same day, they also announced that they were shutting down their AdSense For Feeds blog, a blog that they hadn’t posted anything to since October 2010. —  via Feedburner – Is The Sky Really Falling?

Feedblitz Flap

But perhaps the most important aspect of FeedBurner’s services is subscriber statistics: How many readers you have on your feed (and Feedburner-powered email list), and how they’re accessing your feed. A feed’s circulation (equivalent to an email list’s size) and its reach (the RSS equivalent to a mailing’s open rate) are vital to many bloggers. … So consider this tweet from Danny Brown, who made the switch from FeedBurner to FeedBlitz a couple of weeks ago:

“Feedburner had missed over 8,000 RSS subscribers in my case. Feedblitz offers superior counts and analytics”

via FeedBurner Shut Down: The Facts – and Tales from the Front Line

Feedburner’s Future?

Looking ahead, the Feedburner API is due to shut down a little more than a month from now — October 20, 2012. Google actually announced that change 16 months ago, in late May 2011. via Google Loses Feedburner.jp Domain (The Latest Sign That Feedburner Is Dying)

Contingency Planning

Nowhere, however, has Google stated that they are closing down the service. And the closure of an API doesn’t mean that the service will stop working. What it does mean is that if you are importing your RSS feed into other services via the Feedburner URL you should use your WordPress RSS URL instead. via How to Export the List of Email Subscribers from Feedburner

Discussion

WordPress.com provides a free email subscription service. Feedburner is a free service. Feedblitz is a paid service. Without a feed delivery service, you won’t know who has subscribed to your RSS feed and where they came from, not to mention you’re unable to support subscription by email.  Which service are you using to provide email updates of your posts?

Related posts:
RSS in Plain English and Feedburner for Email Updates
WordPress and BlogSpot: Subscribe to a RSS Category Feed

26 thoughts on “Feedburner on the Rocks?

  1. Hi Mark,
    As I began using Feedburner so many years ago and did not cotton to the idea of moving my subscribers to a new service, I’ve never used WordPress.com email subscriptions.

  2. The WordPress.com email subscription service, available also through Jetpack, is actually pretty good. Mailchimp also offers RSS-to-email options which are free below a certain number of monthly mailings (I want to say 10,000, but I forget).

      • Feedblitz also has a free version, you know (or maybe it discontinued that and I just got grandfathered in) but it’s ad-supported and the ads can be pretty garish.

        Very useful comment thread! One thing I want to add is that not all these services interpret HTML the same way in all email systems. Mailchimp, for example, doesn’t tend to put spaces between paragraphs, and I seem to recall that Feedburner had trouble with that back when i was using it three years ago. Feedblitz has always put in spaces in every email I’ve seen. And WordPress.com emails are correctly formatted now too; they weren’t originally. They don’t all handle photo captions the same way, either.

        • Just to clarify: the free version of Mailchimp does NOT currently have ads, which to me is a major point in its favor. But neither of course does WordPress.com. Also, MailChimp’s feedblender utitlty is kind of clunky, for those looking for a way to combine two feeds in one mailing, e.g. for a weekly RSS newsletter. The feed it generates does not continue to work, so you have to generate a brand new one each week even if it’s always the same feeds you’re blending. Yahoo Pipes is a better option as long as you don’t care about videos showing up in the feed. (Mailchimp supports that, Pipes does not. One of my sites is a video blog, so I use Mailchimp.)

          Overall, I think WordPress.com via Jetpack is the best and simplest option for RSS-by-email subscriptions now. I particularly like the way they give subscribers a choice of how often they want to receive emails. And the only ad is the tasteful one at the bottom for WordPress.com.

        • Hi Dave,
          You have provided such great information that I regret I didn’t think of interviewing you on email subscription options or asking your to write a guest post. Thank you so much for the valuable comments.

    • Hi Evan,
      I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to reply immediately. Hopefully your stats have now rectified. My husband has been away and there’s so much to do when it comes to running the business and getting my contracted work done on my own. I simply lacked the time to respond to these comments.

  3. Hi TT,
    I followed up on this and registered for Feedblitz’s free migration guide.

    Then I got an email from Feedblitz, and I am copying the opening couple of paragraphs here.

    If anything is likely to put me off changing to Feedblitz, this is. (I may still change to them if that is all that is on offer at some point in the future, but not if I can avoid it….)

    Hi there:

    Let’s talk nitty gritty. FeedBurner is a free Google service, and FeedBlitz charges a modest fee.

    Free is pretty cool, but then again … if you’re here then perhaps free is getting frustrating. Not worth the price, you might say.

    You’re not alone. At FeedBurner there’s no support, minimal branding, nobody there who cares about you, your audience or your business.

    Features are worse than stagnant; they’re taking them away. The Twitter socialize feature has been hidden from people who weren’t already using it. The APIs are formally deprecated. Does that sound like a service that Google’s committed to? Does the complete lack of interaction from Google on the FeedBurner forums, despite years of pleas and constant customer frustration, give you any confidence at all?

    Ask yourself: Is FeedBurner a service with a future? Is it what you want to rely on for managing, tracking and distributing your content to your subscribers? What do Google’s actions and indifference say to you?

      • This is an extract from the intro to List Building For Bloggers (written by Phil Hollows of Feedblitz)

        FeedBlitz certainly wouldn’t have gotten the start it did without the support of – and early partnership with – FeedBurner. My thanks especially to Dick Costolo (@dickc – then FeedBurner’s CEO and now CEO of Twitter), who showed the world that you can run a fast growing company and still be both nice and funny; and to Eric Lunt (@Elunt), FeedBurner’s CTO, ditto. It was a pleasure working with you guys; maybe next time.

        It makes me wonder whether perhaps there is something going on behind the scenes between Feedblitz and Feedburner that we don’t know about?

  4. This is concerning. I used Feedburner. Thanks for letting us know! I still haven’t been able to figure out how to read Feedburner Stats. Whether the number on my feeds homepage is for the RSS feed alone or both RSS and email. Or whether the number that says total subscribers on the email subscription page under publicize is the total number of email subscribers. It’s really confusing.

    I don’t have a back up plan and going back to WordPress subscription service via JetPack doesn’t make sense since it appears to me there’s no way to download your subscriber emails. Looking forward to hearing more about how you deal with this.

    • Hi Sandra,
      I felt concerned too when I heard the news but my concern has been allayed since I published this post. I agree about the confusion re: Feedburner stats. I’ve never been able to fathom mine fully. If you ever do find the key to clarity then please share it with me.

    • Hi Varun,
      Verbose – you must be kidding. If I had been verbose I would have gone on about how I have always used Feedburner for both blogs and how unsettled I feel about this news. :)

      P.S. My back is feeling much better and the migraines I have been enduring are fewer in number now.

  5. Feedburner is reporting that there is a problem with stats. This was posted on the feedburner status blog today:

    Issue: We have been encountering difficulties with our stats production pipeline for data representing Sept 19th and 20th, 2012. We are currently working to resolve the issue.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for letting us know about the technical issues at Feedburner. What’s your take on the situation over the long term? Do your think Feedburner will be eliminated any time soon? Do you have a contingency plan if it does become history? Do you think I need one?

      • Google has dropped a lot of services during its history, so it is possible it might drop Feedburner, but I can’t see why it would. I don’t have a contingency plan…

  6. Hi TT, My Feedburner stats were last updated on the 17TH. This morning, I noticed that my feeds were being reported as zero. Looks like it’s time to make a change.

    • It took a while, but I’ve migrated my feeds to Feedblitz. This latest Feedburner scare pushed me over the edge. Hopefully all went well. I’ll find out when I publish my next post.

      • Good morning Ray,
        I’m reluctant to become a paying member of Feedblitz. Many years ago I did have a free account there but I rarely used it after I deleted the blog I used it for. I use Feedburner for both my blogs and have not been using WordPress.com subscriptions. Please do let me know how you made out with Feedblitz because I have to make a contingency plan too.

        • Hi TT, I’ve published a few posts since the transition and all looks to have gone well. My Email list is much smaller than my RSS subscriber list, so the cost, for now, will be minimal. In addition to the regular metrics one would expect, they have a few cool ones like “Email Opens by subscriber” and “Clicks by subscriber”. The interface is user friendly and their support staff is responsive. I’ve experienced an overnight response to an Email and my tweet to the owner received a reply within minutes. Hope this helps with your contingency plan.

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