I have always said that a persons RSS feed is a very valuable resource and it is so important to me that I would never trust a third party with that info. Recently I was complaining about how piss poor the pro stats are over at Feedburner.com. This was in response to the results I was seeing while using their service with techpodcasts.com
This resulted in a long discussion on the podcaster mailing list. A listener and reader of this website sat down and pounded out a program that will allow people to collect podcast statistics on their RSS feed locally and in a way that has not been possible before.
I am not a programmer and I am sure Chris will want to get some feedback on this and hopefully the community will help him improve this tool. I have not seen the resulting database log but their will have to be some database manipulation as many rss readers hit a rss feed on a hourly basis.
I am sure their will be a flood of comments on this and be nice to Chris he built this because I wanted an alternative for those of us that want to keep complete control of our RSS feeds. [cblackburn.blogspot.com]
Over at TechPodcasts.com we have been using FeedBurner for our RSS service via a re-direct from the techpodcasts.com website. Recently I subscribed to their pro stats reporting package to get a better indication of the stats on the RSS feed for the TPN site. I have to say that it is a total waste of money.
Let me clarify why, I have used a lot of statistics programs over the years to track site statistics, I use Sitemeter.com and Google Analytics with this site. Between those two services I have a very good handle on the type of traffic were that traffic is coming from etc. I have used other high end commercial solutions as well but those services are typically out of the reach of people with a website. Sitemeter has a free option and a inexpensive yearly fee and Google Analytics is free.
For the Podcast we use the excellent weblog analyzing tool by Kevin Devin and Chuck Tomasi, along with the reports that the good folks at Libsyn.com provide.
The stats package that I pay for over at FeedBurner is a joke, I plan on canceling their so called pro-service at the end of the month. Give me the same type of clarity you get with SiteMeter and then you will get my business.
I tell you what I would do! I will pay good money for someone to come up with a solution that I can run here on my website that I pay for once that the thousands of blog creators and podcasters can use. This allows me to maintain complete control of my rss feeds, and yes I know the FeedBurner folks have made it easy for you to move your rss feed if you leave their service, but no mater what when you do you will loose subscribers.
I have asked for this before and considering the millions of RSS feeds out their someone should be able to make a boat load of money if they come up with a better mousetrap. But I want to run it on my box I don’t want to pass that info to a third party.
Feedburner has a nice service but the question remains why would 100,000 people trust a third party to update and maintain the lifeblood of the one single document that connects most sites to their readership. The trend is quite shocking.
The second question I raise and I will admit Feedburner has some cool tools the question I as is why haven’t companies like SixApart or any other weblog developer team built the same information into their applications.
But yet when I see websites that are supposedly leading edge hosting their rss feeds at FeedBurner I have to ask myself why would they trust their complete lifeline and economic model on a third party. It is well known that an update on a site does not necessarily mean that feedburner is going to know about it immediately. Sure you feed may get updated in a hour if your lucky additionally you have no idea if they go offline and they don’t graph any outages.
The instant a developer builds the same tool feedburner has that I can run on my own server is the day I get my check book out. Otherwise I will continue to serve up my RSS feed on my box and collect my own stats which are a hell of a lot more accurate than anything feedburner will ever give me.
Update: FeedBurner folks are saying that the TWIT feed has some API feature enabled that allowed the sharing of their subscriber data. It’s a catch 22 you choose not to enable it, and you will be pulled from a ranking list. Feedburner is saying they will have to do some more educating their users. Leo Laporte makes a update on his weblog but is still moving his feeds the pudding is in the comments!
Original: I have been saying for many months that I thought it was a VERY bad idea to be using FeedBurner as your primary RSS feed. It seems that Leo Laporte has figured that out the hard way, and is now moving away from FeedBurner as fast as he can get people to move.
Guess what though he is pretty much screwed, thousands of people have subscribed to that direct feedburner link. This is one of the reason I will never use a third party to host my RSS feed. [Leo Laporte]
I have had a number of people ask me to explain in more detail what I would like to see in the way of enhancements to the statistics of RSS feeds that I can control on my own server.
If you are using FeedBurner today, and that service disappeared tomorrow were would you turn to get the type of info they are providing. My contention is their are a lot of us that would feel much more comfortable running a RSS Stats application on our own servers that would replicate much of what FeedBurner is doing today without FeedBurner.
I am sure FeedBurner has good intentions with my users data, but I simply do not like giving up control of the life bread of my website, “RSS” to a third party, at the same time I want the same level of statistics Feedburner is providing as a service without giving up control of my feeds.
Some of you will say you can stop using them anytime. But the response I give is why should I even start when technology should allow me to do this locally.
The question I keep asking and one I have yet to get a satisfactory answer to, is why doesn’t this functionality exist today were I don’t have to outsource RSS Stats collection and potentially give someone access to your personal information.
I do it every day, I have enough unique search terms setup to get a idea of who is getting it and who isn’t. I will say this all of them are missing a great deal and I am unsure how to explain it. I am almost positive that they really pay attention to the Top 100 or so link getters but the rest of us that are fighting for “Attention” seem to get lost in the crowd.
I find more people linking to my site through my referral logs than I do through most of these services. It is is obvious that most of them are companies that are too small to really be able to do a decent job at it all the time. Sure I love the service but they are missing stuff that’s down in the weeds.
My belief is that until the big search engines get on board this will continue to be the case. When the big search engines do get on board I feel sorry for those employed at [Technorati] [FeedBurner] [Pubsub] because if they don’t get acquired then they will see a lot of people shift to the all entailing big search engines. [Doc Searls]
First of all if you trust putting your eggs in one basket, and pushing your readers to pick up your RSS feeds over at FeedBurner, then you are asking for trouble. No one is going to track my readers, and we don’t track or analyze our RSS feed subscribers.
Those of you using FeedBurner, I suggest you look at your RSS feed every time you post something new, and see how long it takes before FeedBurner updates your feed. Test we have done here show it can take sometimes up to 24 hours for new post to show up, at least I know hosting my own that as soon as I hit enter it is updated.
Apparently the CEO of FeedBurner says that people are not un-subscribing from feeds that have Google Adsense ads in them. I am sure they are TRACKING your subscribers very CLOSELY. I talked to several people who have put RSS Ads in their feeds, and guess what, they lost subscribers no specific numbers. More importantly I have been told by at least 6 website owners that are running ads on their RSS feeds that subscribers are not clicking on the Ads! click through is as low as one or two on a 100,000 views.
I read a lot of RSS feeds, and I can tell you the way ads are placed now every other article is pissing me off to no end. If they would limit the Ad to one a day it would not be so bad, but reading the feed is distracting, and I have begun to skip a lot of sites that are doing this.
Case in point Engadget, this site has great content but their RSS ads in their feeds is beyond distracting I look at maybe the first 5 articles and move on at least Gizmodo is not jamming this stuff down my throat. I am finding myself at their website a lot more. [MarketingStudies]