Is Feedburner Next For The Axe?

Worrying signs are that Feedburner could be next for the axe – campaign to save it. A week ago Google announced it was winding down another batch of products, bringing the total to nearly 60 since they started ‘spring’ cleaning last Fall.

Feedburner Future In Doubt? FeedBurner is a free Google service that provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers and website owners – we use it here at TechLogon to create our RSS feeds and send out daily emails to subscribers who want to be notified of our latest content.

Last week Google announced that Adsense for Feeds was closing – this feature was supposed to help publishers (and Google) earn revenue from their content by placing ads on their RSS feeds. Like many, we never used it as we found the ads too intrusive and likely to annoy subscribers – it was probably dropped because of this lack of adoption by publishers.

However, that now leaves Feedburner as a free service – with no way of making Google money… Many believe it could therefore be dropped completely in the near future. The omens are not good – Feedburner no longer has any official Twitter account, blog or Google+ account.

The Feedburner API is also shutting down on October 20th and TechCrunch report that “Google even let its FeedBurner domain name for Japan expire” – the vultures would appear to be circling.

A crowd-sourced campaign to save Feedburner is up and running – visitors can tweet their support using the hashtag #pleasedontkillfeedburner and a few suggested tweets are offered – the funniest one being: “Google, keep Feedburner alive and I’ll even start using Google+”

Any bloggers or website publishers willing to lend their support, please take a few seconds to pass the message on and show Google there is still a significant and worthwhile market for the Feedburner service. Of course, it is not just publishers who should be keen to save the service – any users of RSS feeds or subscribers to daily emails from Feedburner are customers of this service too!

Go on, show you care, #pleasedontkillfeedburner

Alternatives To Feedburner – The only realistic alternative I know of which offers similar features, easy migration from Feedburner and (claimed) no loss of subscribers is Feedblitz. It is no coincidence that the number of visitors to Feedblitz spiked hugely at the end of September as publishers put 2 and 2 together, heard the death knell of Feedburner and searched for an alternative:

Recent Feedblitz web traffic – via Alexa

Whilst reviews of Feedblitz are generally very good, it is not a free service and costs start at $1.49 per month – this covers any number of RSS feed subscribers (they don’t affect the price no matter how many you have) but only up to 9 email subscribers.

It is the number of email subscribers which drives the price – 100 email subscribers raises the cost to $9.98 per month whilst 10,000 bumps it up to $109.99 per month etc.

The ratio between RSS and email subscribers will vary by site but, here at TechLogon, our email subscribers make up about 65% of the total. That’s potentially an expensive headache for web publishers who wish to retain their email subscribers if Feedburner closes.

Perhaps Google are missing a trick here – I don’t want to put the idea in their head but, instead of abandoning Feedburner due to lack of monetization, I do wonder if they plan to start charging for the service instead? If they undercut Feedblitz by 50% I would guess that many publishers would opt to keep the cheaper status quo and not jump ship.

However, the campaign to save Feedburner is still worthwhile if it avoids total closure – even at the expense of, well, additional expense.