If you haven’t heard, bloggers are getting fed up with their feeds. Well, not really with their feeds but with FeedBurner, the once beloved, must-have RSS feed analytics tool. The long and short of it — since the Google acquisition, support has waned, communication has been cut-off, and the service itself has stagnated or even possibly regressed.
Some of the most recent complaints surround FeedBurner not picking up changes to feeds quickly enough and changing their ping address without notifying anyone. While not critical to the average blogger, large blogs need to beat each other (up) to breaking stories and have been frustrated with the lag. Ironically, since they are all using FeedBurner, they’d all be affected and hence not truly be harmed. But that’s not really the point.
Historically, the major concern with FeedBurner was outsourcing the management of a vital part of a blog — the RSS feed — to a third-party. While it seemed that FeedBurner had the best intentions, ultimately, it’s hard to argue that these fears weren’t valid.
Today, FeedBurner appears to be dying. If blog publishers want to leave the service, they are left with no useful way to export their historical data and a lousy 30 day re-direct to a different feed, where half of that time – days 16-30 – there is a simple note to update the feed subscription to a new address.
What’s worse still, is that bloggers and other publishers are not aware of alternatives to FeedBurner — because there really are none. At least not in a FeedBurner-type existence.
Why is there no competition? There’s little incentive for innovation or new entrants in the feed management space as it currently exists. FeedBurner owned feed management and bloggers were happy with it during the pre-Google days. Since becoming part of Google, FeedBurner now offers all of its services for free. It also just so happens to be backed by the largest company on the Web. In addition to all of that, any new company would have to fight to regain the trust of bloggers, who appear to be disillusioned by this failing service.
The writing is on the wall. Bloggers are going to start leaving FeedBurner. There is going to be a mass exodus of the service unless the old FeedBurner returns to the scene. While FeedBurner publishers will need to leave their stats behind, the benefits are clear –the security of “owning” a feed, including its statistics, update speed, branding, and more.
Of course, there will need to be viable alternatives to FeedBurner. The good news is there is hope…