In May, 2011, Google posted that they would be deprecating the Google FeedBurner API. FeedBurner is an RSS publishing platform that allows bloggers to track and monitor their RSS feeds and how readers interact with them.
Most blogs have an RSS feed already built in. All blogs on WordPress and Blogger do. These feeds will be there and can be utilized regardless of whether or not FeedBurner sticks around. Will FeedBurner still be around for us to use? I don’t know. What I do know is that the only official word we’ve heard from Google is that:
The Google Feedburner APIs have been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011 will be shut down on October 20, 2012.
What does it mean if the API is shut down? It means that outside servicesthat were leveraging FeedBurner features, like FeedFlare or statistics, will not work anymore. When the FeedBurner API is shut down, FeedBurner should continue do work, however any applications that were using the FeedBurner API will stop working. WordPress plugins revolving around FeedBurner will probably stop working, so be sure to check those on October 20th.
What if FeedBurner Goes Away?
While Google has announced that the API will be shut down next month, they have not said that FeedBurner will be shut down. Historically, they have notified users of significant product shut downs months in advance to allow users to find alternate solutions.
Fortunately for us, there are some alternatives – some paid, some free.
1. Use your built in feed for RSS subscribers – FREE
Instead of redirecting subscribers to FeedBurner, use your built-in RSS feed to allow users to view your blog in their RSS readers. It should be already there (it’s the link you inputted when you set-up your FeedBurner feed.) It won’t show readership or subscriber counts but it will deliver your feed to RSS readers.
2. Use MailChimp for RSS Email subscribers – FREE/PAID
MailChimp has an RSS to Email service that allows you to send your blog feed to subscribers via email. You can set emails to be sent daily, weekly, monthly, etc. If you have under 2,000 email subscribers, you can sign-up for MailChimp and send out 12,000 emails per month for free. If you have more than 2,000 email subscribers or need to send out more than 12,000 emails per month, you can upgrade to one of MailChimp’s paid plans.
3. Use FeedBlitz for RSS and RSS Email subscribers – PAID
FeedBlitz is another alternative for both RSS and RSS Email subscribers. The price for FeedBlitz depends on the number of email subscribers you have – starting at $1.49 for 0-9 subscribers. RSS services are included in their subscription plan, so you could get RSS services for just $1.49/month if you don’t want or don’t provide RSS email subscriptions.
4. Use another Email Service for Email Subscribers – FREE/PAID
There are a few other email marketing companies that offer RSS to Email options. Simply Stacie posted about her experience with Mad Mimi. They offer free services for up to 100 subscribers as well as the RSS to Email option for an additional $5/month.
What is The WiC Project Doing?
For the most part, we are going to take a wait and see approach. While Google has announced the deprecation of the API, they have not announced if/when FeedBurner will be shut down. They have shut down the FeedBurner Twitter page, the AdSense for Feeds blog, and even dropped the feedburner.jp domain name. At the same time they continue to update the FeedBurner status blog.
I try not to make any hasty decisions without knowing the facts and right now, at least for me, there isn’t enough factual information to make me feel comfortable spending more money for another service I can currently get for free. We can all throw out guesses for what will or won’t happen, but we won’t know for sure until we get more information from Google.
One thing that may change is our RSS email subscription. We are currently paid MailChimp users and I will investigate whether I can switch to their service without bumping up into the next tier. This is more so because I can make the emails look a little (a lot) nicer than the traditional FeedBurner emails and all this discussion has got me thinking about how I can make the email experience better for our readers.
I encourage all bloggers to take a moment and look at the scenario in its entirety. Don’t make a decision based on anything another blogger (or even I) have said. Look at the information available and determine what (if any) your next step will be. There are alternatives and solutions regardless of the future of FeedBurner.