Google, Can You Please Fix Feedburner?
As you probably know, Google acquired Feedburner a while ago. I really like the quality of most Google products, so I figured that this acquisition was for the better.
The problem is that, almost two years after the acquisition, we are still seeing some Feedburner glitches around. Two of them are particularly annoying.
The first one is the lack of a dynamic subject line for the emails that our subscribers receive. By default the subject line is the name of your blog. You can change this, but it will always be something static. As a consequence, your subscribers can never know the topic of the article that was just sent to them. I receive almost one email weekly from upset subscribers asking whether I can include the title of the post in the subject line.
I had written about this issue last year already. There are even topics inside the Feedburner support forum, but so far nothing has been done.
The curious thing is that this should be a straight forward tweak, you just need to import the post title from the blogging platform (e.g., WordPress or Blogger) and output it in the email subject line.
The second issue is not as critical, but still annoying. It is about the temporarily glitches that we all get on our feed statistics and feed count widgets. On some occasions half of your subscribers will vanish, only to return a week later. One of the big advantages of Feedburner is exactly the stats that the service provides, so reliability is essential here.
Anyway, let’s hope that the Google engineers will solve this issue soon.
52 Responses to “Google, Can You Please Fix Feedburner?”
I love it when Feedburner sends out old blog posts. Like this morning I got an email update from FB of a blog post I wrote three months ago. You have to wonder if anyone is even at the wheel over there.
I donâ€™t even have any google reader subscribers right now – the column says ZERO which drops roughly 100 subscribers off my count. Itâ€™s been like this for a few days and then will jump back up to 250 spontaneously. Seems very unprofessional to me, at least their IT team could send out a message detailing what upgrades are occurring or if any problems might occur.
I’m running a cartoon blog and have over 3000 feedburner email subscriptions at the moment. I found a pattern of when feed stats go beserk and drop to 100 or something silly like that – it pretty much always occurs when you change the time of your feed delivery emails (for some reason – read bug – it calculates the feed subscriber numbers differently for 1 time period – it is usually fixed a couple hours after your feed delivery time)
Regarding the dynamic subject line – definitely agree with you on this point. At the moment I change the email subject in the email branding part of the Publicize page manually each time. An irritation with this is that this variable is the same one used by feedburner to name your subscription (so any new subscribers will get whatever the email subject line is as the name of the blog they’re subscribing too) – pretty daft design and it’s sad that there isn’t anything even vaguely competing – not for free anyway.
You are right. The first issue is very easy to fix and if not fixed, it will continue to annoy email subscribers as they will just keep seeing the Blog name instead of the title of the post.
Have you tried using a plug-in (assuming you are using wordpress) titled Subscribe2? You can edit the settings to send per post, daily digest, or weekly digest.
I found this to be much more flexible plus I get to retain the email addresses of those that subscribe.
eldris @ neow
I’m in the process of setting up a blog, so thanks for the heads up on this issue, especially with the static email subject. I’ll have to make sure I chose the subject line even more carefully.
It does surprise me though that google aren’t on top of these issues. They’re usually a very reliable company, but I suppose perhaps as feedburner isn’t their baby they care less about fixing it right away.
@Daniel – But in my analytic stats it shows most come through google reader. Oh and yesterday it said only 90 people were subscribers on google. Again 2k on feedburner.
@Jodi, Google Reader is only one of the clients that people can use to subscribe to your feed.
Daniel – completely agree, and I’m keeping my eyes out for a suitable replacement. For the time being, I’m a fairly basic feedburner user so it fills the bill, but it’s obvious it’s not an important service for them.
I have a question for you about feedburner. I use it – and at this point I have about 2,000 subscribers. But on google reader when I check it says I have 250 or so. I know since I get 1500-2000 hits a day that they 2000 is more accurate. But, why are these numbers so off if google owns feedburner? It is as if people subscribe through FB that they are not counted on the google reader home page as a subscriber.
Any thoughts or did I mess something up when I set this up?
* In case you want to email me a response versus comment – email@example.com.
Ya, i have experienced the second issue. Before some day I saw the feedburner subscriber and it was just half. But the next day it was as usual.
Something should be done about this problem quickly because it is shocking for the bloggers to see their subscriber no. totally half…..
I believe everyone sick of with feedburner problem. Moreover, we can do nothing about it and that’s why feedburner didn’t care much on any effort to fix it. It such a public facilities where government didn’t care much about it.
I don’t bother with Feedburner’s glitches anymore. In fact, it has become a lovely trademark. Sometimes, your subscribers balloon into the stratosphere and then it comes crashing down again. Really fun…
good news……google more bigger…..
Agree – Esp with the last comment. If Google wasn’t going to commit to Feedburner they should not have bought it. Maybe they are spreading themselves too thin.
Also wish with the email subscriptions it would give subscribers a daily or weekly option. I think daily is too often for some people.
Feedburner’s service has gone down the tubes since the Google transition earlier this year. They used to provide minute-by-minute stats of who/what was accessing your feed as well as aggregate item use historical stats, which were particularly useful for those of us who have podcasts. That used to be an excellent way to identify which podcast episodes were most popular (i.e. being downloaded most frequently). This kind of info is needed since many people download podcasts via iTunes and hardly ever (or practically never) visit the blog associated with the podcast. So Feedburner was giving me stats about my podcast that I couldn’t get via Google Analytics. Now that feature of Feedburner is gone.
Also, there appears to be zero customer support in their forums. Tons of frustrated bloggers and podcasters asking for help or info on what’s going on with their feeds and maybe once in a blue moon somebody from Google responds but it’s a rarity.
I think if Google wasn’t willing to enhance the service or maintain the aspects of it that made it popular and at least have a couple of forum moderators drop by once a day to respond to queries, they shouldn’t have bothered to buy Feedburner because they have totally ruined it.
I finally took the counter off of my website, because I hated when visitors came over to see I had some really low number of subscribers. The content should matter more than the number, but at the same time, I think people feel differently when they hit a blog with thousands of subscribers vs. a blog with under 100.
I agree on all counts – but you didn’t mention the screw up that I find most annoying. My email alerts are sent out about 24 hours after I post. And, it’s not just mine – as I subscribe to several blogs that use Feedburner and the same thing happens.
I just started a new blog and we decided to pay and go with Feedblitz. Very, very impressed so far. I wrote about it here: http://writingroads.com/blog/blitz-or-burn-branding-selling-and-being-human/1659
I hope Google fixes this soon…thanks for writing the post!
I love google products , but sometimes feedburner can be really annoying, for example, yesterday my subscriber count drops from 150 to 15
Arun Basil Lal
Ah, I am using Feedblitz for email delivery, its a dedicated email delivery service, and it had dynamic titles.. Good to highlight your email in the junk of emails.. 🙂
Feedburner: The original Twitter.
As dynamic as the Google team has been it surprising they have dropped the ball with Feedburner.
I would like to see the title of my posts on the emails/
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