For the Fallen – We Will Remember Them

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon

For the benefit of my mostly US audience, in the UK and many other countries we buy paper poppies around the 11th to commemorate those who served and those who fell during the World Wars. The poppies specifically memorialize the killing fields in France and Belgium during WWI where the “lions led by donkeys” on both sides killed each other in unimaginable numbers. Day in, day out. Only the Spanish Flu of 1918 outkilled the machine guns, mustard gas and barbed wire.

Today, then, is a noteworthy day in Europe, where the slaughter of the horribly misnamed “Great War” mostly took place between 1914 and 1918. Today, entire countries largely fall silent at 11am on November 11th to remember the wars, their dead, the valor of those who served and the bravery those who still do. It’s a day of respect, retrospect and introspection.

In churches and schools, at services, memorials and cenotaphs in the cities, towns and villages, the stanza from Binyon’s poem, quoted above, is often spoken as part of memorial services and readings. The focus back in Britain is markedly different today – a day that’s somber, one of mourning not celebration – than Veteran’s Day is here in the US, my adopted home. It has always been this way: Armistice Day has never been a celebratory day off. It’s not a day to celebrate the military like it is here in the States (which is not to say it is necessarily better; it’s just a different perspective).

In that spirit then, no matter what your politics, no matter where you live today, no matter what else you are doing or celebrating this November 11th, I would ask only this: Please take a moment today to remember the Fallen and their sacrifices, no matter where they fell nor for what cause.

Let us make it so that, for today at least, we will remember them.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Add Etsy and Shopify to your Email Marketing

Quick take

Your emails to subscribers can now include the latest products from your Etsy and Shopify stores!

The longer version…

A little over a year ago we made it super easy to include your latest Pins and Instagram photos in your emails. It’s pretty neat, adding visual interest to your mailings and exposing your email subscribers to more of your activity online on platforms other than your blog.

Since then we’ve extended the capability to include your latest YouTube videos and Tumblr.

And now, we’ve added e-commerce to the mix. Simply tell the FeedBlitz easy template editor your Etsy name, and / or give it the web address of your Shopify store, and voila! Every update to your readers reminds them of the latest and greatest on your e-commerce site. Every email we send for you just got more interesting, more compelling, and more valuable. Dare we say, more lucrative?

Since we don’t have an Etsy or Shopify store, if you’re getting this via email today, we’ve included a couple of examples for you. For Shopify, we’ve linked to “Death Wish Coffee” because I think they’re cool and we’re total coffee hounds here! For Etsy, I’ve linked to friend and FeedBlitz client StudioJewel‘s Etsy store. The live, mobile friendly responsive demos are at the foot of the email, if you’re an email subscriber, after the latest support videos.

If you’re reading this online instead, here’s what that part of the email update looks like:

One Last Thing

So this is a great way to add Etsy and Shopify content to your blog emails. It ALSO means that you can use us to send emails to subscribers where the latest store updates ARE the content. In other words, you can set up a “Be the First to Know” email list, and every time you add an item to your e-commerce site, we’ll email subscribers to that list with the news. Which makes them feel super special and more likely to buy from you.

Need help setting it up? Contact support – we’ll be happy to help.

Happy Independence Day! Support Resumes Tomorrow

In honor of the US Independence Day holiday today, July 4th, FeedBlitz’s offices are closed for the day. Phone and chat support resume tomorrow, 9am EDT. Support emails will be dealt with in the order they’re received.

For tips and techniques, you’re welcome to check out the knowledge base at http://support.feedblitz.com, or our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/feedblitzsupport

If you’re having a mission critical emergency, you can tweet us @FeedBlitz, but we can’t guarantee a prompt response today unless you have an enterprise contract.

So if you’re celebrating today, enjoy, and stay safe! We’ll see you tomorrow.

We’ve Updated our Terms of Service

Last week I told you about how we’d updated our privacy policy. This week, it’s the terms of service’s turn for a little sprucing up.

It’s the same deal, basically. No changes in who we are, how we approach business, and what we do.

As part of modernizing it, we’ve added sections to cover the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) and how we deal with account ownership disputes. It’s very dry reading (something perhaps only a lawyer can love?), but it is our contract with you unless we have a separate agreement in place.

So the usual words apply: If you continue to use FeedBlitz, you agree to these terms. In brief:

  • There are no guarantees.
  • You are responsible for your own content, and its compliance with applicable law.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for damages, including (but not limited to) those arising from any use, abuse, misuse or non-performance of the FeedBlitz service or the information provided by third party publishers.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for third party content redistributed using FeedBlitz.
  • These terms of service can change at any time; if you continue to use the service you have implicitly agreed to the changes.
  • Your FeedBlitz account may be terminated by FeedBlitz at any time for any reason and for no reason.
  • You may cancel your use of our services at any time.
  • Any refunds other than for fraud, or billing errors, are at FeedBlitz’s sole discretion.
  • FeedBlitz may insert advertising depending on current program policies and your level of participation.
  • FeedBlitz may require upgrades or payment depending on prevailing policies.
  • FeedBlitz may suspend mailings on your behalf after any grace period expires or for suspected abuse.
  • FeedBlitz will not sell, rent or otherwise deliberately reveal your email address (see our privacy policy).

And because our lawyers will have a fit if I don’t say this, the words that count are on the terms of service page, here.

RSS Feed Service Degradation Jun 9 2016 – Resolved

Like many start ups, we use cloud computing services from major providers to provide core elements of our infrastructure. Right now, one of them is experiencing major issues across the board in the part of their cloud that we use. That has meant that feed serving from our data centers has been unstable for the last couple of hours, and that the options available to us to mitigate the effects are limited, as they would rely on the same cloud provider that’s currently in trouble.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working mitigate the effects of their outage as quickly as we can. Right now we’re serving feeds, but on limited capacity and so it’s slow. We’re adding more capacity where it’s robust to do so in order to get back to full availability for RSS clients.

Update: Around 4:20pm eastern the provider in question started to recover. RSS feed services are now back to full strength

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy

The good news is, nothing material has changed. FeedBlitz is continuing to adhere to the same high standards we set ourselves from the start, in terms of both how we run our business and our obligations to you, our users.

The better news is, the updated privacy policy is I think not only clearer, it’s actually helpful, in that it contains things like links to third party sites where you can control how third party services we use (such as Google Analytics) treat your information. Light reading it is not, but it’s not exactly “War and Peace” either. If you care about how information about you is collected and used, it’s worth a read.

In more or less plain English, this is what our updated privacy policy says:

  • You have the right to control your personal information.
  • FeedBlitz never sells, rents or buys email addresses.
  • List owners can see the information you give them as part of our services.
  • FeedBlitz uses cookies, tracking and logging to make FeedBlitz work and tell list owners about activity on their lists.
  • FeedBlitz emails globally, but is a US-based business with a US-based infrastructure.

So why update it? Well, periodically, we review what we do and how we do it. As part of that process, our lawyers urged us to update our privacy policy to be both clearer, and to reflect modern realities. For example, the part about our servers being in the US turns out to be fairly important for non-US users. We didn’t have that before.

Anyway, lawyers are expensive (but for good reason), and it seems silly to waste all that money! You can find our freshly updated privacy policy here.

Is Gmail About to Wreck your Email Marketing?

What you need to know

Google has announced that, starting next month, they will reject email that purports to come from Gmail, but isn’t sent by a Gmail server.

How this might affect you

If you use a third party email service, like FeedBlitz, to send your email updates, AND your from address is a Gmail domain (e.g. mysuperduperblog@gmail.com), then your emails will probably not get through, unless either your email service or you change something.

What you need to do this month

If you’re with FeedBlitz, nothing! We will take care of this for you, and your email will get through, just as we did when Yahoo and AOL implemented the same policies in 2014.

If you are not with FeedBlitz, and you send emails using a Gmail address, you need to change your sending address. Ideally to one that better reflects your brand (such as me@mysuperduperblog.com). If you have a hosted web site, most site hosting packages come with at least one email address. Use that!

If you are with FeedBlitz, we recommend you do this anyway, not because your mail won’t go through (remember, we’re taking care of this for you), but because it’s better branding.

Do I have to give up using Gmail for my business?

Absolutely not. You can set up Gmail to pull from other email accounts (it’s in Gmail’s Settings, on the Accounts & Import tab).

What’s going on?

Google is helping curb spam by changing their DMARC policy. AOL and Yahoo did this in 2014. Basically, they’re saying to inbox providers, if you can’t prove that the email really came from Gmail, don’t accept it. Why? Because spammers use fake Gmail addresses, but they don’t run through Google’s servers. Spam sent this way fails DMARC authentication, and because Google’s policy will change to “reject” next month, most modern ISPs will not deliver it. Result: Much less spam for you. Hurrah!

This is a Good Thing.

BUT… legitimate email, such as your newsletters and blog updates, sent by email services like FeedBlitz that have been using your Gmail address will now get blocked, because that email won’t authenticate as coming from Gmail (which is true; it’s coming from us). FeedBlitz will automatically change the sending address where necessary to ensure your emails do in fact get through (and your replies will reach your Gmail account, so that’s OK too), so no FeedBlitz publishers or subscribers will be affected.

But if you’re not with us (you should fix that ;) ), you need to check with your email service provider (ESP) – and probably change your sending address.

Let’s Talk Branding for a Moment

Many (far too many) bloggers use <theirsite>@gmail.com as their email address when their domains are at <theirsite>.com. You’ve ponied up for the web site, have your branding just so, and then … oof. Let the ball drop at the email address. It’s not a huge branding fail, but ceding control of your business’ email address to Gmail could just get very sticky, starting next month.

So, go on. Finish the play on your branding with your email address. Update your mailing list’s settings.

Incidentally, if you’d like to find out about how you can extend your own domain’s email authentication to your FeedBlitz mailings, you can, using SPF and / or DKIM. It’s easy to set up, provided you have access to your DNS (domain name) settings.

FeedBlitz: Your New Artisanal Email Service Provider

Here at FeedBlitz we have been behind-the-scenes busy to create something really great for you. After months of analyzing our dream journals, vision boards, planning, designing, re-grouping and focusing on pure synergy within the dynamics of our mission, we are finally ready to reveal to you the next quantum leap in humanized, customer-centric email marketing.

The Moment of Fruition

The dew was glinting in the early morning sunlight, my diffuser gently humming next to me, when the epiphany dawned. Haven’t we always wanted to do more, be better, connect more with our audience, yet still revere the sacred space that is our subscribers’ inboxes?

Yes. Yes, we have. With the clarity that only my inner child could divine, I knew it was time to evolve, transcend what we do here at FeedBlitz. We needed to become … more. It’s no longer enough to continue to be the best automated email marketing solution around.

We needed to create a transformative experience. Take a fresh look. Re-evaluate our comfort zones. To not only deliver your message but also recreate that sensation, the one which courses through my veins and invigorates my spirit like the first sip of an early morning matcha tea before my children arise from their slumber, for every subscriber opening their hearts to your content’s ineffable enlightenment.

I found myself yearning for a truly honest, organic, fulfilling email marketing experience.

Introducing Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz

And so. We’ve completely reinvented ourselves. Realigned our corporate chakras. Listened to the drum circle of our hearts beating in time with the thrum of our message deliveries. Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz, will expand your subscribers’ consciousness, well beyond the veils of each one’s computer screen, smart phone or tablet.

This revolutionary new path to email marketing fulfillment not only breaks out of stale industry standards, it also simultaneously restores that vintage feel your grandparents would recognize. If your grandparents had had computers and email, back in the day. And if they had? Their perfect email service provider would look, well, a lot like Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz:

  • Our new data centers are exclusively powered by renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and methane sourced from our unique industrial-scale KQCP (kale / quinoa composting plant).

  • Our latest servers have been hand-reared from motherboards in free range, certified-organic server farms. Always cage-free, their fans are free to spin without constraint. We never use antibiotics on any of our servers. Ever.

  • Emails from our publishers will be requested through our system and then typed one letter at a time on an antique Underwood typewriter, meticulously scanned into the FeedBlitz interface, then distributed into the Universe with the highest of intentions.

  • We will also be offering a Letterpress upgrade, for those who want a truly tactile email marketing experience.

  • All testing and authentication policies, including our DMARC records and DKIM headers, are now cruelty-free, never tested on animals, and are conducted from a place of pure love and light.

  • All email templates and subscription forms moving forward will be hand crafted with the finest materials, using only the purest of pixels to highlight and enhance your branding impact.

  • Every email’s background will be constructed from pure iHemp(tm), for that rough-hewn on-screen sensation which only an archaic, obsolete form of simulated paper can properly provide.

Email Transcendence

These enhancements and many more are what you can come to expect from the newly acclaimed FeedBlitz.  As your Artisanal Email Service Provider, know that our mission is to create much more than mere ordinary, mass-produced, soulless, industrial email marketing messages transmitted through the interwebs.

No. Artisanal Email is different. A loving, dare we say intimate, fully enveloping email experience. The essential oil of your online presence. Your content marketing spirit animal. The tiny house your list can live in, knowing its carbon footprint is minimal and in ethereal balance with the elements.

We are more than your email service provider. We are your neighbors, your counselors, your gurus. FeedBlitz is your Artisanal Email Service Provider.  And that is a relationship which will last for multiple lifetimes.

* No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog post, and trained blog whisperers were on call for the duration of its editing.

P.S. Lest our push to provide a more crunchy granola email solution has upset you, we ask that you take this piece with the sense of humor, fun and smiles with which we wrote it! No offence was intended …. Happy April Fool’s Day to all!

-•-

Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

Your RSS and Email Ad Options Just Got Better

FeedBlitz exists for several reasons:

  • To simplify email marketing for bloggers and business owners;
  • To save you time reaching your audience;
  • To help you generate more revenue from your online presence.

In support of that last mission, unlike other email services, we have a built-in ad network (think of it as “Adsense for Email and RSS feeds” if you like) that enables you to passively generate revenue from every email that you send, and every post in your RSS feed. These are unique capabilities that only FeedBlitz offers. The best day of every month, for me, is the day when I send our publishers their ad income payments. (We are also affiliate marketer friendly, which is important to a great many of you.)

To help you monetize your feeds and mailings better, last year we introduced the “marquee” ad unit, which sits atop your mailings if you opt in to our email ad program. The marquee is very successful; it’s far and away our most successful ad unit. It was a little limited, though, as it was only available to our email clients, and was restricted to only appearing at the top of a mailing.

Not any more! We have now extended marquees to help you make more with every post:

  • Marquee ad units are now available for RSS feed advertising (they are also now the default RSS ad unit);
  • In-content marquee ad units are now available as an email ad option for publishers opted in to our email ad program.

Put another way, the much greater revenue potential of the marquee ad unit is now available everywhere and to everyone in FeedBlitz’s ad network, not just the topmost slot in emails.

New RSS Ad Options

Previously, the only option for RSS ads was “on” or “off” – and all you got was a 300 x 250 rectangle. Now, the default is the marquee, with the option to change back to rectangles if you wish. Marquees are wider, and a little deeper, than the rectangles they’re replacing, but they have a MUCH better revenue profile, and leave less ugly white space off to the right. They also re-size responsively in FeedBlitz emails.

If you want to make more from your FeedBlitz feed, you don’t have to do a thing! If you want to change the ad setting back to rectangles, go to your feed’s dashboard, click settings, and then hit the monetization tab:

Email Ad Options

If you’re using our ad network for email (or want to!), go to the “Ad Revenue Share” section under “My Account” in the left side bar. There you can change the insertion settings to use marquees instead of your current choice. You can do this without having to have the top marquee enabled, so you can benefit from the greater revenue marquees offer and still keep your logo front and center.

Simply your Email, Save Time, Make More Money

It really is that simple! We’re proud to be able to extend our support for bloggers running businesses with these new ad options. If you’d like to learn more, start a trial today, or contact FeedBlitz tech support for more information.

Twas the Email Before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
No systems were mailing, not even in-house;
The inboxes were logged by the admins with care,
In hopes that no spam soon would be there.

The users were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of no unreads danced in their heads;
And my boss in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled the servers for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the router there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my cube to see what was the matter.
Away to the laptop I flew like a flash,
Tore open the login, and pulled up the dash.

The page on the browser of the new-opened window
Gave a ten thousand foot view of the systems below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his emails they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Now Mail From! Now, Sender! Now Reply-To and IP!
On, SPF! On DMARC! On Sender ID!
To the top of the inbox, the most important of all!
Now send away, bounce away, forward away, all!

As segments that before the wild RBL fly,
When they meet with a filter, reroute far and wide,
So up to the server the missives they flew
With news of Star Wars, TFA, R2D2.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the disk
The content filter evaluate each message’s risk.
As I reviewed all the logs to see what was found
Down the network St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in code, from header to footer,
And his HTML code styled, responsive do-gooder,
A bundle of attachments he had flung on his back,
And he looked slightly compressed as he unzipped his pack.

His GIFs, how they twinkled! His stylesheets, so merry!
His colors were like roses, his headlines in cherry!
His droll little logo was drawn like a bow,
And his background – so legible – was white as the snow.

The stump of a certificate, he held in his teeth,
And the authentication, it encircled his header like a wreath,
A good reputation, servers whitelisted by many,
His sender score high, to other vendors’ green envy.

Base 64 encoded, plump, with reference to “self”
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A DNS lookup, checks based on the head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread,

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the inboxes, then turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
Giving a nod, back delivered receipt rose.

He sprang to the packet, to his bytes gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he pinged out of sight
“Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!”


From all of us here at FeedBlitz, we wish you the very best for a joyful holiday.

Phil