Sunday, May 16, 2021

What next for Feedburner email subscriptions?

On April 14, 2021, Google announced that Feedburner would be losing its email subscription service. Which means that my regular email to those who have subscribed with the latest blog post title and the first 200 characters of the blog post will be no more....

If you’d like to continue using email subscriptions after the June transition, we recommend downloading email subscriber data so that you can migrate your subscribers to a new email subscription service. This data will also be available for download after the transition.

I'm absolutely sure I'm not the only regular Blogger and Feedburner user wondering what to do about a replacement.

[Note: Apparently Google intends to remove all non-core functionality and make it maintenance only - which conflicts with what they're saying re. the removal of the email subscriptions - because that's the only reason I used it - that and the fact it's free!]

Feedburner email subscriptions stop in July 2021

Switching to an alternative for Feedburner email subscriptions

What I want to do is migrate to a Feedburner alternative which

  • Provides me with a free service (like Feedburner)
  • Allows me to import all existing validated emails from Feedburner
  • Allows a subscription for RSS Feed to email subscription option (i.e. replace what I've got at present)
  • Works with all existing RSS services (like Feedburner) - for those who like to read blogs in Feedreaders (like Blogger's Reading List)
  • Gives me some basic statistics. (I have other services which provide me with in-depth stats. All Feedburner tells me is how many subscribers opened the emails).

I'm still trying to work out what to do about the imminent (in July) demise of the Feedburner email to all those who have subscrived to date. 

I've actually got so many subscribers that it very definitely makes some alternatives rather expensive - and I'm running a blog NOT a business!

Some Issues

 

Email marketing is targeting ecommerce not blogger

Most of the email subscription marketing options are set up to provide an "occasional newsletter / marketing via email" facility for those who have websites and want to communicate with their followers from time to time

i.e. they're set up for ecommerce operations and not for bloggers

You know when you're dealing with one of these when:

  • EITHER there's a limit on 
    • the number of subscribers
    • the number of feeds
    • the number of emails you can send in a month
  • OR you have to pay a charge - - which can mount up - to enable you to carry on as at present.

Another thing - not everybody opens their email

Why should I pay for people who do not open their emails?

As we well know, people are apt to sign up for email subscriptions - and then don't bother validating them and/or reading the emails. I certainly do NOT want to pay for a service which is charging me for those who have subscribed but do not bother to open their emails.

For me this is all the more reason to find a good quality basic service - or a very cheap one.

One more thing - migrate or sign up again?

I could migrate all current subscribers - BUT..... there's a bit of me which would quite like to get people to sign up all over again. That way I will know what the number of 'real subscribers" are.

Or maybe I should just use Twitter more to signal new posts

I already announce everyone via my FB Page....

 

Possible contenders

Below I tell you about my favourite option(s) to date 

There's also a summary of some Feedburner Email Subscription Alternatives - plus a link to a post which includes a very useful tabulation to help you decide.


Follow.it is my favourite to date


Hot favourite is currently Follow.it - which has three levels - because:
  • I can switch an unlimited number of existing followers for free
  • the basic level of subscription is 100% free for both emails and RSS readers “and allows unlimited followers & emails and has a number of features
  • the next level up with optional extras is incredibly reasonable compared to competitors
  • it's a mature operation and not a start-up trying to snaffle accounts
  • it claims solid subscription tracking
  • it takes GDPR seriously - which is something not all do
  • it offers choice to the follower re what their preference is for how they want to follow

Delivery via all channels

Publish a new post and have your followers updated automatically by newspaper, single emails, news page or RSS. See an example

  • they have developments in the works to allow even more options for how to follow
  • it has documentation about how to switch from Feedburner to follow.it
  • Current subscribers don't need to do a thing!!
  • The next level up from Basic costs $9 for my c.2000 subscribers - which is an acceptable price
  • OVERALL: It looks like a good free solution for both my email subscriptions and those who read via an RSS feed

For others who are interested I recommend you check out Feedburner stops email services – switch to follow.it now - which is their explanation as to why they are the best alternative. I ticked an awful lot of their reasons.

Here's a list of articles which also recommend follow.it

Another possible option is Substack

The other thing I'm looking at is possibly switching away from Blogger and using Substack (a Patreon for writers) for an optional paid subscription service i.e. free for most with some paid posts or scope for people to pay if they value the service. But that sort of goes against the grain for me - as my orientation is really not about a paid service. There's also the question of whether it could cope with importing over 4,000 blog posts over the last 15 years!!

You don’t have to offer paid subscriptions to use Substack. It’s free for writers that have a free email list, regardless of your list size. If you do add paid subscriptions, we charge 10% of revenue, plus credit card fees (2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction) charged by our payments provider.

If you do add paid subscriptions, you don’t need to put everything behind a paywall, either. For each new post that you publish on Substack, you can choose whether to make it available to everyone, or just to paying subscribers. Some writers even make all their content free, but add paid subscriptions as a way for subscribers to show extra support.

So I'll let you know what I decide in due course. In the meantime here's some other alternatives.....

Alternatives to Feedburner

Below are some options for me with c.2k email subscribers on Feedburner and numerous blog posts a month i.e.2k subscribers x (say) 15 blog posts a month =  c.30,000 minimum emails per month.

Below is a list of some of the alternatives and why I'm not enthusing over their offering.

  • Follow.it - FREE!!! Plus see above for the reasons why I like it.
  • Feedblitz - Works with RSS feeds (optional extra) BUT No free service 
    • assumes everybody is a business (i.e. not suitable for non-profit bloggers) and charges for every subscriber. 
    • Too expensive for MAM i.e. $29 monthly for 500-2,500 subscribers | $319 annually - and that's just for the email subscriptions.
  • Mailchimp - FREE (Basic) service is too limiting for MAM and they don't explain their terminology well despite their Marketing Glossary of Commonly used Terms. it took ages to fine the definition for monthly sends
    • not focused on blogging e.g. no RSS subscription
    • focused on commercial email campaigns i.e. over-engineered for bloggers - unless you'e selling something
    • too expensive (I think) for Making A Mark (see below for why) - and does not meet my requirements but I might use if for another site with low numbers of blog posts to lower number of subscribers

Free includes up to 2,000 contacts, with 10,000 sends per month and a daily limit of 2,000. Monthly send limit is 10x for Essentials, 12x for Standard, and 15x for Premium, as multiplied by your specific plan’s contact limit. Mailchimp

Send A term we use to measure the number of emails you send. Each email sent to an individual contact counts as one send. For example, one email sent to 2,000 contacts equals 2,000 sends. This includes transactional, automation, campaign and test sends. (found the definition eventually in the Pay as you go plan)

  • Aweber - orientated towards small business not bloggers
  • Feedpress - provides RSS to email subscription service but is only free for the first 1,000 emails per month - hence irrelevant to MaM
  • If you're not on Blogger, then you can look at options which are relevant to and made available via your platform.

REFERENCE:

Essential reads for current feedburner users

Alternative Options

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