Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is Feedburner Really Shutting Down?

If you're reading this post via email subscription it most likely looks different that posts used to look. That's because I've switched subscription services from Google Feedburner to Feedblitz, due, in part to freaking out over last week's frenzy of speculation that Feedburner is shutting down after a glitch showed all follower counts to be at zero, and in part out of curiosity about Feedblitz. There has been a recent rash of people switching from Feedburner to Feedblitz, fueled by either Feedburner suddenly not working or uncertainty about Feedburner's future after they closed down the Feedburner Twitter account and announced that the Feedburner API was officially deprecated as of May and will be shut down on October 20, 2012.

For people whose blogs are a source of revenue or business, losing thousands of subscribers is a huge deal and it's probably worth it to pay to use a more robust service, not to mention a service that actually responds to customers--Google has yet to comment one way or another on all this speculation about whether or not it's going away. But for someone like me, who blogs because I enjoy writing and that's about it, and whose blog is not a source of revenue and who also has only a few hundred subscribers, switching to a paid service is not a fact it may be just plain stupid/vanity. Regardless, I was curious and, admittedly, freaked out by all the chatter about Feedburner disappearing, so I'm doing the 30 day trial of Feedblitz. 

I have to say that, with all the doomsday speculations about Feedburner just disappearing on October 20, I'm skeptical that Feedburner feeds will just all stop working. I think it's important to realize that Google just says that the API will be shut down on October 20, not the service is disappearing on that day. This apparently does not mean that your RSS feeds won't work anymore after October 20. There is a difference between a feed and the API of the feed (read the comments on that post). So all this the-sky-is-falling-and-you-better-switch-to-Feedblitz-today drama is probably unwarranted. Says the girl who just switched to Feedblitz, I know...which is partially why I'm writing this post. I succumbed to the mass freakout and now am paying for something out of my own pocket that I used to get for free, with no apparent benefit for me. Am I hoping that by the time the 30-day trial period is up I've had an epiphany and realized some great benefit to paying for Feedblitz? Of course. Am I confident that will happen? No.

I will say this--the main benefit of Feedblitz, as I understand it, is the email marketing feature. I have to say, Feedblitz's website is the MOST confusing website I've ever seen. Honestly--I defy you to try to figure out what the service costs and what features are included. It says "prices starting at $1.49 a month," which apparently only applies to email subscribers. It talks about custom features like branded email campaigns--but I swear I've clicked every link on the back end of my account and can't for the life of me find where to customize any email anything. It could definitely be that I am supremely stupid, but I'd like to believe it's not that. I sort of see where you can create a custom newsletter, but don't see any way to test it without sending to all subscribers, so I'm passing on that experiment.

There's definitely a lot of hysteria going around about Feedburner disappearing, but if you stop to pick through it all, it appears that Feedburner isn't actually going anywhere. So, if I had to put money on it, I'd have to say that October 20 will probably come and go and Feedburner will still be working on October 21. 

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