I like to think that I stay pretty on top of what’s happening online, but I admit – I was completely caught off guard last week when I noticed that my subscriber numbers were down to 0. I figured it was a glitch and that my numbers would be back up soon.
Honestly, Feedburner has been a nightmare since the beginning, and I’ve never really trusted their numbers since I moved to WordPress in 2009. Sadly, it seemed that everyone using Feedburner was effected, and though the subscribers did reappear a few days later, the word on the street is that it’s time to find an alternative.
Feedburner…never quite right
Yesterday, I downloaded the complete history of subscribers on Better in Bulk (just the stats) and found this: I signed up for Feedburner on December 15, 2008, just a little over a year after I started blogging, and about the time I decided to take my blog seriously. My subscribers grew from 1 (probably me) on that first day to 1096 a year later in December 2009. But December 2009 was when I decided to purchase my own domain, and in the process of transferring everything from my old blogspot address to BetterinBulk.net, most of my subscribers were lost. In fact, on December 9, 2009, my numbers dropped from almost 1100 to 102. And I never recovered them.
In the nearly 3 years since that day, I have built my blog considerably, turning this site from a hobby to a full time job for me. I have worked with major brands, covered events across the country, and increased my traffic ten-fold. I still consider myself a fairly small operation, but I’ve improved and I’m pretty happy with where I am today….except that in 3 years, while increasing and improving everything else, my Feedburner numbers moved slowly to the point of becoming stagnant. Before last week’s fall, my Feedburner number was holding on at 470 subscribers. I always felt like something was wrong with my Feedburner account, but I decided to focus my efforts on traffic and content and other things I could control a little more. Feedburner was never quite right, but not “broken” enough to warrant my full attention.
So what changed? What’s happening with Feedburner?
What is Feedburner and where is it going?
FeedBurner is a web feed management provider – basically, they are a service that sends a website’s feed to users via RSS (Rich Site Summary) or via email. Feedburner was created in 2004, purchased by Google back in 2007, and has become the #1 RSS and email subscriber service provider. Without a doubt, Feedburner’s popularity is due to the fact that their feed syndication and email service has remained 100% free. I know I’m guilty of not switching to another provider simply because I was not willing to pay for something I could get for free.
Earlier this summer, Feedburner shut down their blog and their twitter accounts and announced that they were shutting down the Feedburner API. Just last week, Google announced that they were retiring AdSense for Feeds this week. While they haven’t made an official statement that Feedburner is going away for good, the outlook does not look very promising.
Why I decided to move from Feedburner to Feedblitz
To tell you the truth, deciding to make the move from Feedburner to Feedblitz was not an easy one. I dedicated an entire work day to figuring out if I really needed to drop Feedburner, and then researching the different options. I was not crazy about being forced to pay to have a feed service, but it looked as if paying was my only reliable solution.
Why even worry about Feedburner or Feedblitz or any of the other services? Simple. Companies who want to potentially work with me want to know about my readers, and subscriber numbers are a common statistic requested.
I had heard from several other blogging friends who had switched to Feedblitz, but I didn’t want to jump into anything blindly. I started off by downloading a file of my current email subscribers from Feedburner. I felt safer having that information in my hands before I began my search or made any changes. Here’s what I found:
Feedblitz was not the prettiest nor the cheapest Feedburner alternative, but they caught my attention because they were prepared for people like me. Feedblitz has made making the switch from Feedburner as easy as possible, with a step-by-step Feedburner Migration Guide to assist even the most inexperienced blogger in transferring their feed and setting up emails.
My transfer to Feedblitz was relatively smooth, but my subscriber numbers are even lower than before. I was expecting to lose some subscribers in the migration, but I’m hopeful that they will return (and maybe even grow) quickly. I’m sure there will be some kinks to work out as I get to know the new system, but so far I’m happy.
I have to be honest – I am considering switching my email subscription service to Mad Mimi at some point because I like the way it looks and functions, and the prices are excellent. However, I wasn’t confident enough and decided to take the easy route for now. And if, in the meantime, a new free service becomes available…I’m all over it.
Have you made the switch yet? What did you chose, and how has it been working for you?
And, of course, I would be silly if I didn’t mention that I would love for you to subscribe – again or for the first time!
© 2012, Lolli. All rights reserved.