Is there an alternative to FeedBurner?

feedburnerlogo In mid December, the RSS feeds for all my blogs including this one that have been managed by FeedBurner since 2004were auto-migrated over to Google.

This is part of the changes that started happening earlier last year following Google’s acquisition of FeedBurner in 2007.

As I wrote last month, the migration was a smooth process although not everyone has had such a good experience during the past year.

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. That’s a drop of 817 in a 24-hour period as you can see in this chart (the green line) which I’ve highlighted in red.

feedburnerdrop

A drop in subscriber numbers over a weekend isn’t unusual, reflecting the fact that most people aren’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.

Not this week. The loss I experienced persisted until yesterday when, suddenly, the numbers fell away to zero and then jumped back up again.

Yet there’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 Groups’ FeedBurner Help Group.

feedburnerhelpgroup

I’m not the only one who went through this – others I know also experienced a drop. Friend Dan York sums up a lot of people’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.

The issue has now been strongly highlighted by influential commentators such as TechCrunch and VentureBeat along with Todd Cochrane and his tongue in cheek “I told you so!” message.

VentureBeat’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:

[…] what “happened 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.” So supporting FeedBurner isn’t getting the sort of resources — engineers, servers, etc. — that it needs because its not making enough money. It’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 don’t make much money […].

Its sounds plausible.

I really hope FeedBurner isn’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 publisher’s point of view (which is potentially anyone who publishes a blog or website, whether you’re an individual or a company) I don’t know of any credible alternative to FeedBurner for the depth and breadth of service in effectively managing your RSS feeds.

Is there one?

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.