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Problems with Feedburner, all subscriber levels down to zero – September 2012




Feedburner is a system that allows blog owners to manage their feeds, both RSS and email. This was an excellent independent service that was free, and then was bought by Google as part of their strategy to have more control over areas where content is involved (similar to what they did when they bought Blogger). However, people who have been on Feedburner after that have not seen any real gains, and in fact, after that, have been seeing some small parts of the system being shut down.
But who would have thought that something like what happened on the 18th/19th of September would occur ? People who had subscribers going through the Feedburner system suddenly saw all their reader numbers going down to zero. Getting subscribers (whether through RSS or through email) is critical for bloggers, especially those who treat their blogs as a business. The free nature of Feedburner was critical, but having subscribers was even more critical, and there has now been a steady number of people who have jumped from Feedburner to other such systems that are alternatives, even if they are paid. People don’t know whether this is a defect in display of numbers or whether their subscribers have been lost.
Feedburner recognized that this outage happened, but the acknowledgment was late, and the worrisome part is that the outage still has not been resolved. Even 4 days after the outage, there is no timeline about when things will be okay again, and that is the worst part of this problem. What does Google say ? There is a post (link) that has just this much to say “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.” Nothing more, no update even a day later, no apologies; looks like since this is a free service, the level of support is not anything to write home about. So what can you do ? You can do what I am evaluating, should I move to an alternative. Even if things get fine soon, will this problem come again ?
Well, there are other alternatives that you can use, such as FeedBlitz. Feedblitz is a paid service that is trying to capitalize on this downtime of FeedBurner (refer this post).
Some other alternatives to FeedBurner are:
1. http://www.feedmyinbox.com/: More from the subscriber end rather than from the publisher end. Charges you based on the number of feeds you have opted in for.
2. http://www.rapidfeeds.com/: Provides tools such as Feed Manager and a utility for converting RSS Feeds to HTML. Charges based on number of subscribers.
3. http://www.nouri.sh/: Converting RSS to email.
4. http://www.aweber.com/: Aweber is a site used by many professionals. It allows webmasters to customize their lists to a high degree, and charged based on number of subscribers.
5. http://www.feedcat.net/: Provides a feed button similar to Feedburner, and allows readers to share from that button. Feed submissions are free. The site also serves as a catalog of feeds.
6. http://feedity.com/: This is a service to create RSS feeds for sites that don’t offer native RSS feeds, so less important for those who want to manage their subscribers.
7. Mint: Analyse your readers through various methods. From the site: “Visits, referrers, popular pages and searches can all be taken in at a glance on Mint’s flexible dashboard.”

There would be more such sites, but these seem to the one that people are using. Then there are plugins that work inside Adsense, and other tools, including with Google Analytics.




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