Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feedburner: Techcrunch and transferring my feeds

This post is about:
  • the transfer of your Feedburner feeds to your Google account before they shut down at the end of February
  • criticisms of the Feedburner service by Michael Arrington at TechCrunch
Last one first!

Techcrunch lambasts Google and Feedburner

Google acquired Feedburner on June 1, 2007 for $100M in Cash. Last Thursday, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch made some very serious criticisms of Feedburner - see Feedburner Needs To Get It Together. In 2008, Arrington was identified by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world so it pays to listen to what he has to say!

In essence his criticism is that Google is treating Feedburner as a vehicle for distributing its ads and is just not demonstrating any interest in proving a decent service for all the various web 2.0 activities which rely on feeds. He says:
  • complaints about Feedburner continue
  • the service is becoming unreliable
  • Feedburner problems plague website owners far more than they should
  • Google has taken far too long since acquisition to absorb Feedburner and sort it out
  • Distribution of blog content has slowed down - a killer in the 'breaking news' business
  • Google are far more focused on providing a blog for their AdSense ads than they are in providing a blog which supports Feedburner and addressing questions of performance. The "Burning Questions" Feedburner blog was closed down on 23rd December 2008. (If Michael had looked a little harder he would have noticed a 7 month gap with no posts at all!)
they have to focus on the quality of the service, too, or the ecosystem won’t work. The message they’re sending to everyone is that the service doesn’t deserve a blog, just the advertising they bolt onto it. Imagine if they did the same thing with search.
Feedburner Needs To Get It Together
Now I'd take that as a sign that competition can only be just around the corner. Of course he could just have been really upset that his Feedburner stats figure for TechCrunch read zero rather than 1.7 million.

Transfer of Feedburner Feeds

Google started transferring the feed files recently and having sorted most of the people with adsense accounts they're now moving on to the likes of me (and you!).

Note we all MUST transfer by the end of February. The most important bit of this message is you don't have an option. You need to get your feedburner feeds transferred to a Google account before the end of February.

I transferred mine yesterday - and the transfer of feeds for multiple blogs took about 30 seconds.

There was a warning that your subscriber numbers can go a little bit haywire to start with. My subscriber numbers are fine - but my reach numbers have bombed and gone to zero. However like a lot of other people I did watch my subscriber numbers go haywire temporarily last week on the old feedburner site!

Note that you lose your the stats for site items - you will therefore now need Google Analytics for that. (see Making A Mark Guide - Installing Google Analytics on your Blog which is listed on the website page for Making A Mark Publications.)
You will no longer be able to sign in to From now on, you may now view and manage your feeds by visiting:
Your old FeedBurner feeds (at will automatically redirect traffic to their new addresses on the domain. All of your feeds have been moved into your Google Account, along with your traffic stats. If you see “0” for the most recent day, don’t panic! It may take up to a week for a feed’s full dose of stats to appear in your Google Account.
You can also find the link to Feedburner in your Google Account "My Account" page. If you have any questions, please visit their Transfer FAQ.

When you've got your feeds transferred and start wondering about the new chart it pays to read Los colores bonitos, or how I learned to stop worrying and compare multiple feed metrics from the new blog which explains what the green and blue lines are in the chart.

UPDATE (after comments) If you find feeds confusing try reading my Subscriptions 101 guide and see if that helps


  1. I've implemented Feedburner on several blogs that I administer because their e-mail subscriber service does not require the subscriber to have a special account (unlike Feedblitz for example).

    I've tried to commence transfer on some of the blogs that I administer but Feedburner is not ready for me to do this yet. I hope they get ready soon as their arbitrary and generally underpromoted deadline is looming fast. (The little message that appears at the top of the Feedburner account screen does not indicate the compulsory nature of the transfer nor the timing.)

    I've also just checked Blogger help pages and they don't mention ANYTHING about this, despite being part of the happy Google family.

    Really, this transition could be handled much better. Thanks for the heads-up Catherine.

  2. I've been meaning to write something myself about this - transferred about a week ago and am unimpressed. Not only do you loose the visitors (and a fairly recent continuous update of these, which you e.g. don't get with google analytics), you also loose live hits, it takes a long time for them to provide the stats and the tracking of individual days is now handled on a scroll down menu and is no longer clickable in the graph... Hm... unconvincing. And it seems that the AdSense rationale has indeed moved firmly to the foreground, which for my blog and most blogs I care for, makes it a bit... hm... pointless....?

  3. While I accept there will always be teething problems when any systems update is implemented, I absolutely agree with Michael Arrington that the main problem is that the issue of overall performance has not been adequately tackled by Google since the acquisition

    Feedburner used to work

    The most obvious problem is the globalisation of Google and its cannibalisation of all serious independent ventures which provide competition.

    Anybody know of any serious competition for Feedburner?

    The problem is with hundreds of people already signed up to Feedburner it's not easy to do a switch.

  4. Feedburner is telling me Moving Feeds isn't available at present. Probably just as well because I have no idea what I'm doing. I seem to have three different feeds set up in Feedburner for my blog each showing a different number of people. Told you I didn't know what I was doing!

    I've also lost all the emails of blogs (including Making a Mark) since I have started using Google Reader. I think I'm having a technology meltdown.

  5. I think I maybe should have remembered to reference my guide - see A Making A Mark Guide: Subscriptions 101 (Feedburner) !

  6. I spent hours last week trying to get my feedburner to work - with no luck whatsoever. I do consider myself reasonably technically savvy but it just would not work at all. I ended up removing it. I will read the 101 and see about trying again.
    Thank you Katherine for this very timely post!

  7. I wonder how they're choosing who gets to go next after the adsense people?

    Obviously not everybody has yet had the call. However IMO they're cutting it very fine if they want everybody transferred by the end of February

  8. Thanks Katherine for this post. I have not done it yet and will read up on your suggested links first. We will see what happens.

  9. I did this update as well and noticed a bit of wild fluctuation, but, overall, things are working - I think! I am considering looking at other ways to get it out there. I am looking at learning a bit more about FeedBlitz.

    Thanks for the link to your subscriptions info... I am definitely going to learn more about it.

  10. Hello Katherine. This past week Feedburner has redelivered an old post (from December) of mine to my subscribers three times! I quit bothering to look at their stats months ago (never up to date and always wrong) and now rely on Statcounter for that. I am not optimistic there will be any improvement after I transfer to Google, but at present there really doesn't seem to be another option. BTW, thanks very much for the two mentions in your other post today!

  11. Katherine I was successful in my switch and one thing I thought of and did was get the new code for subscriptions for email. You might want to check on that.


  12. Good point Toni - I'd forgotten that bit. I just use the link code for Blogger and there is a very minor change to the code. It's a straight copy and replace job.

  13. My stats are "normal" now (ie the major dip in the reach stats seems to have corrected.

    However it's now the 26th January here in London and I'm reading a chart which only gives me stats up to the 24th January. I guess that means it's on Google time (ie Pacific) and stats are only produced as and when Mountain View gets to the next day