Is FeedBurner going down in flames?
As Internet Broadcasters, one of the most important aspects that we must concentrate on is our Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed, that little item gets us listed in the various podcast directories such as iTunes, Zune, and Blackberry. Some argue that using a third party RSS service is paramount to handing over the keys of your house to a complete stranger. However, there is some reasoning behind using a service that centralizes all aspects of your feed, providing you with the flexibility to make subtle or massive changes without interrupting what the podcast directories see.
One such service is FeedBurner founded in 2004. FeedBurner has been characterized as a service that provides custom RSS feeds and management tools for bloggers and podcasters. Yes, FeedBurner isn’t just for podcasting RSS feeds. It can be used to aggregate multiple RSS feeds into a centralized location, making it easier to find the information you’re looking for in the blogs and podcasts that you subscribe to. FeedBurner is considered a Web 2.0 service as it provides an Application Programming Interface (API) to allow other software to use it. Unfortunately, the Feedburner APIs are now scheduled to shut down on October 20, 2012, thus breaking many applications that were designed to use the API to interact with FeedBurner.
Google bought FeedBurner in 2007 and completed the migration into its catalog of services in 2008. However, Google never really did much to improve the service. The Google Adsense for Feeds blog announced it was shutting down in July of this year due to a lack of content. Originally, advertising in an RSS feed was a foreign concept that wasn’t initially embraced. However, more than two-thirds of FeedBurner’s feeds have advertisements inserted in them today. Is the shuttering of the Adsense for Feeds blog yet another indicator that the future of FeedBurner is in doubt? Another possible indication is the @FeedBurner Twitter account being shut down recently.
At this point and time, the closing of FeedBurner is pure speculation, based on several posts across the net as well as a post that I read from Chris Brogan on G+ this morning. Google has not made an official statement thus far. If you currently use FeedBurner to manage your podcasting feeds, you should probably be prepared for the worst case scenario. I can’t think of anything worse than suddenly finding that your shows aren’t being updated in the various podcast directories because they all relied on FeedBurner feeds.
I personally use a mixture of FeedBurner feeds and WordPress feeds powered by the PowerPress plugin. There’s something to be said for owning your own feed and that’s what you’ll get if you use your WP feed when submitting to the podcast directories. At this point I am seriously considering changing all of my FeedBurner feeds back to Wordpress, which may not be difficult, but possibly tedious.
According to Google, when you delete a FeedBurner feed, they provide a 30-day redirection service. During days 1-15, your subscriber requests will be redirected to your original source feed. On days 16-30, the FeedBurner feed will only have one content item that reads “This feed is no longer active. A new feed is located at” followed by the URL of your original feed. After 30 days, your FeedBurner feed will be permanently deleted and will return an HTTP 404 message.
So what does all of this mean for Internet Broadcasters? It comes down to either they are going to completely kill off the service, leaving many podcasters scrambling to redirect their feeds, or they are going to incorporate the service into one of their other products such as Adsense or Analytics. Either way, I’m starting to change my mind on relying so heavily on 3rd parties such as FeedBurner to control my feed.
What are your thoughts on using FeedBurner, knowing there is a possibility that it will be shut down in the near future?