- WEB STARTUPS
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- ALL TOPICS
Over the past few weeks I’ve been keeping track of the different ways each Google service handles login procedures. I would have thought that once I am “cookied” by a Google service that all services would authenticate my session in the same manner — this is not the case. Below are some of the Google services and what happens when I attempt to load the service assuming that I am already cookied.
- Gmail – takes me right into my mailbox with no login screen
- Google Checkout – forces me to enter my password each time but displays my username
- Feedburner – takes me directly into the my main list of managed feeds
- Google AdSense – displays a login page but the login box is missing and a “waiting” note and then I am taken directly into my account
- Google AdWords – takes me directly to my management screen
- Google Webmaster – displays a similar screen to Google AdSense but I am forced to click the login button but am never prompted for a password
- iGoogle – takes me directly to my customized home page
- YouTube - clicking upload takes me directly to the upload screen
- Google Reader – takes me directly to my RSS feeds
- Orkut - takes me directly to my account management page
- Google Groups – takes me to my groups management page
- Google Docs – takes me directly to my documents management page
- Google Calendar – takes me directly to my calendar
- Blogger – forces me to login using my Google account information
At first I was thinking that it’s great that Google forces me to enter my password when I want to process orders for my startup in Google Checkout. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t Google AdSense follow the same authentication pattern? What about Google Docs and Calendar – documents in both of those services could be just as sensitive as financial information in Google Checkout/AdSense or AdWords.
Continue reading “Why Doesn’t Google Consolidate Login Procedures?” »
Blog publisher search engine Lijit announced yesterday the launch of Lijit Content Networks. Lijit evangelist Micah Baldwin tells me that Feedburner has recently shut down their content networks program. This was news to me and a bit disappointing. The idea of the content networks program, both on the former Feedburner and now with Lijit, is to combine multiple RSS feeds around a topic. If I remember, CN was a part of 2 or 3 content networks that FB ran.
With Lijit’s version, they have added some additional functionality. In a blog post Lijit explains, "Lijit will host the main site, aggregate all the RSS feeds from the individual bloggers, and allow your readers to search through the entire network of experts. Additionally, we give you the ability to monetize your network through display and search advertising." You can also grab a widget that highlights the latest content from the network on your site or blog.
So I could take the feeds for RWW, Mash, Drama 2.0, WinExtra, GigaOm and StartupMeme and then slap ads around the combined feed that I profit from while the actual content creators get nothing? I sure hope that isn’t the case otherwise the S word might appear.
I liked the content networks on Feedburner and it looks like the content networks on Lijit will be even more powerful. Check out Louis Gray’s recap from a trip to the Lijit HQ last week.
Last week we documented a variety of issues with the Google FeedBurner service. Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore was able to grab some time with FeedBurner co-founder and now Google product manager Steve Olechowski. The interview is worth a read if you are a FeedBurner user.
Steve talks about feed monetization, rss subscriber count accuracy, stats integration with Google Analytics, email tracking, speed of feed updates, feed flare updates, size of FeedBurner team, ad formats and Steve’s feed predictions for 2009.
In the interview Steve notes that most publishers are earning more with the new AdSense for Feeds product. I would strongly disagree both from my own sites and from other publishers I’ve spoken with. When I met with the FB team, they said that their ad team was good at selling tech ads. I would agree with that statement because they had top of the line advertisers paying good rates. Also remember that the FeedBurner ad program was mostly (or exclusively I forget) a CPM model; the AdSense model is CPC which makes a difference in total earnings.
It’s also interesting that Steve notes that the team they have working on FeedBurner come in and out at "various times". As for the pinging and updates, again, I’ve been able to get the CN feed to update instantly with no issues.
I look forward to seeing how Steve and his team can get FeedBurner moving towards progress as both a service and a publisher monetization option in early 2009.
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.
As many of you know, I was very disappointed when FeedBurner was acquired by Google. The FeedBurner service had so much potential, both from the user- and publisher-side. Not to mention a great team which I had the chance to spend the day with in Chicago. Most (if not all) of the FB crew are gone from Google.
You can read all of my FeedBurner posts over the past two years.
Let’s fast forward to more recent times. Late last year FeedBurner began to move publishers over to the Google hosting architecture. CN was in the first batch of sites that were moved and our feed url changed to a Google domain. However over the past week or so, the url is back to a feedburner.com domain. We’ve heard reports that Google has been pushing everyone to switch over to the Google hosting architecture this month. Of course Google might have just moved the domain over so I am not too worried about this domain name return.
I’ve also noticed a big drop in the subscriber count listed in the administration panel of my account. Several others have contacted me with the same issue and it’s starting to spread on Twitter. While you know I believe that the overall subscriber counts are just as valid as "hits" were in 1995, the more important issue is that each of our subscribers are receiving the proper feed.
There’s been a lot of chatter lately that FB isn’t updating feeds quick enough. After using Gabe Rivera’s trick, I find my feed always updates instantly. If your RSS numbers are down, please leave a comment. You don’t need to share the numbers, just if there is a drop in the overall count.
Last week Google decided to close a number of services and many wondered if FB was next to close. My hope is actually the opposite. I’d like to see Google invest more time and resources into FB because it’s important to both users and publishers. And both of those groups are important to Google’s advertisers and investors.
Update: LiveCrunch has a similar post from today as well.
Last week we were switched from FeedBurner’s ad and feed delivery system to the new, more robust Google servers and the AdSense ad program.
I’ve always been loyal to FeedBurner, even capitalizing the B when most don’t. Yet, as I predicted, the move to Google’s ad program has been very disappointing. I can only hope that the program will get better over time. Immediately after Google acquired FeedBurner I was nervous that FeedBurner would ditch their awesome advertising network for Google’s low paying, text ad AdSense program. Sadly I was right.
Here are some of my additional thoughts in video:
Adam Ostrow wonders what type of ad matching Google is doing based on the ads that he has seen in the Mashable feed.
We have been relatively successful in selling our own RSS ads. Perhaps there is room for a new RSS ad player to take the slot that FeedBurner’s ad program occupied. We are testing the Pheedo feed advertising service and I will provide a side-by-side comparison in about a month.
I’ve written several times about my thoughts on FeedBurner dropping their awesome, high-paying RSS feed ad network for the Google AdSense program. Nik noted last weekend that FeedBurner is moving feeds over to Google hosting (we were moved today) and that now feeds will use Google’s strong server farms to handle feed processing.
Tonight we were also added to the Google AdSense program for RSS feeds. Setting up ads in the feed is simple – same process as setting up an ad unit in the traditional AdSense program.
The options are:
- Name – the feed name
- Size – this is automatically set by Google
- Ad Type – text, text/image or image only
- Frequency – how often do you want ads to appear – I’ve selected every 3rd item
- Post length – how long of a post do you want ads to appear in
- Position – where in the feed do you want the ads to appear – options are bottom or top
- Channels – same channel system as with the traditional Google AdSense program
While I won’t be able to share many details on how the system performs, I will share as much as I can and also compare it to the other feed advertising programs I’ve tested. I still believe that my feed for a buck proposal is the best way to go.