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Why Do We Use FeedBurner and What Alternatives Are Available for Feed Management?
Yesterday we wrote about some of the issues that Google has been facing with their FeedBurner product. I’ve heard from many bloggers who are either moving their feed back to their own domain or are contemplating the move. Let’s take a look at what FeedBurner offers in terms of services and why a move might not be as easy as one might think.
At the basic level, Feedburner provides two services: feed management and advertising injection.
Feed management offers the ability to track your subscribers and insight into how your readers are using your feed. I believe the tracking can be tied into Google Analytics but I haven’t explored this so I can’t comment. There are a variety of “feedflare” items which help you promote your feed via social sites and other services. The feedflare items can live within the feed and/or on the source website. There are other feed management options including: summary feed, geotagging feeds, format converters, etc. In the two years I’ve used FB, I haven’t spent much time investigating these options.
There’s also a feed email management tool which allows readers to receive a daily email of content from a blog. I have found that many of the CN readers like this option. You can also setup a rotating headline animator which seemed to be popular in 2007 but I don’t see many people using it today.
From a monetization perspective, the ad program now runs through Google AdSense. You setup feed ads in your AdSense profile and ads begin to serve in the feed. To be honest, the monetization has been absolutely disappointing especially when compared to the high cpm and top advertisers the FB sales team were able to put in my feed. Some have reported that the ad targeting is also pretty off-base but it appears to be a bit better today.
When it comes to options, there really aren’t many out there. Pheedo is one option that offers basically the exact same services as FB does with a strong support team. Pheedo has a dedicated sales team similar to the old FB sales team and the earnings were much stronger than AdSense for Feeds. My only real issue with Pheedo is that I could never get the feed to update quickly or in near real-time.
What other services are there that could replace what FeedBurner offers? Please leave links in the comments and I will add them to the post. I am also interested in knowing if you serve ads in your feed.
One of the issues with moving your feed from FeedBurner is that it will take some time for the feed address to update if it does update at all. Unlike an email list where you can move providers with no worries because you have control over the list, it’s not exactly the same with a RSS feed. I spoke with a few people over the past month about this and basically what happens is that you “tell” FeedBurner to update your rss to a new address. Then when a reader attempts to retrieve the feed, FeedBurner redirects the feed to the new address. But I hear it doesn’t always work.
For the large bloggers with defaults all over the web and millions of subscribers, the redirect issue could hit them bigtime. Defaults are where a service like Google Reader basically gives x blog a listing so that all new subscribers (or some who pick a package) receive a blog or set of blogs. I am not convinced that non-subscribing defaults will forward to the new address appropriately.
I have to believe that Google values the FeedBurner product because of the content, their Google Reader application and the Google AdSense advertising injection. With all of the public talk over the past days about the issues with FeedBurner, it’s interesting that no statement regarding fixing the issues and what’s coming next for the service has been made. There have also been no updates on the Google Feeds for Adsense blog. But there are plenty of posts on the FB Google Group asking for help.