This is part of the changes that started happening earlier last year following Googleâ€™s acquisition of FeedBurner in 2007.
But all is definitely not well with Google/FeedBurner.
Last weekend, I noticed a considerable and sudden drop in subscriber numbers, from 2,380 on January 16 to 1,563 on January 17. Thatâ€™s a drop of 817 in a 24-hour period as you can see in this chart (the green line) which Iâ€™ve highlighted in red.
A drop in subscriber numbers over a weekend isnâ€™t unusual, reflecting the fact that most people arenâ€™t at work and so RSS requests for content drop commensurately. Drops tend to be minor, though, and things usually pick up again at the start of the following week.
Yet thereâ€™s nothing I can find anywhere online that offers a clue or any kind of information about what happened this week other than a one-line reference of sorts in the Google Groupsâ€™ FeedBurner Help Group.
Iâ€™m not the only one who went through this â€“ others I know also experienced a drop. Friend Dan York sums up a lot of peopleâ€™s feelings in wishing Google could explain what is going on with FeedBurner subscriptions.
And by no means is this the first time something like this has happened.
VentureBeatâ€™s post includes an interesting view from Jason Shellen, the man who did the due diligence for Google before it bought FeedBurner, who has a credible view on what may be going on at Google concerning FeedBurner:
[â€¦] what â€œhappened behind the scenes is that the sales team can sells ads [in FeedBurner feeds] if it wants to, but with so many other products, managing feeds is fairly low on the list.â€ So supporting FeedBurner isnâ€™t getting the sort of resources â€” engineers, servers, etc. â€” that it needs because its not making enough money. Itâ€™s hard to think of what the other reasons might be; the original Feedburner team is comprised of talented entrepreneurs who, on their own, built a product that was becoming ubiquitous on the web before Google came along. But after all, ads in feeds donâ€™t make much money [â€¦].
Its sounds plausible.
I really hope FeedBurner isnâ€™t suffering a fate similar to that which befell Twitter competitor Jaiku, ie, following acquisition by Google it literally languished on a back burner for over a year before Google announced what they were planning to do with it. In the meantime, people drifted away to alternatives.
The trouble is, from a publisherâ€™s point of view (which is potentially anyone who publishes a blog or website, whether youâ€™re an individual or a company) I donâ€™t know of any credible alternative to FeedBurner for the depth and breadth of service in effectively managing your RSS feeds.
Is there one?