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.


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.


Managing Images in Your Newsletter Template Just Got Easier

FeedBlitz gives all publishers the ability to control every aspect of newsletter design. The Easy Editor allows FeedBlitz publishers to control their logo, fonts and colors, whether or not to include a table of contents, and a simple utility bar that provides subscribers with an easy forward option, a convenient contact link etc. The FeedBlitz Easy Editor is mobile responsive by default, there’s no fiddling or testing, it simply works.

Publishers who want even more fine-tuned control of their newsletter can do so in the Advanced Template Editor (ATE). The ATE allows full source control and publishers can add other feed sources, include their latest Instagram photos or even recent Pinterest pins. FeedBlitz’s customer service team is happy to help if you have any questions about your template.

Managing the images used in either the Easy Editor or the Advanced Template Editor just got simpler. The image browser, which appears whenever you choose to upload or select an image, now shows thumbnails of the images you’ve uploaded to your account. This is especially helpful if you frequently change your logo to match campaigns, the season, or if you manage a lot of different newsletters.

Now you don’t have to remember the exact filename of your image, you simply click the image you want to use. It’s that easy.

We here at FeedBlitz are working hard to continually improve your experience.

Here’s to a great 2015.

On Being a Company, as well as a Business

Last week I eventually found myself in Charleston, SC. (I must have really, really aggravated a Travel God in a prior lifetime, because I could have driven from Massachusetts faster than the airlines got me there!). Charleston is where FeedBlitz’s customer service organization is centered. We were giving back to the local tech community by sponsoring the city’s first WordCamp.

Now, FeedBlitz is a purely virtual organization. I like it that way; it makes sense in the modern economy, where physical overhead really isn’t needed 99% of the time, especially for a business like FeedBlitz. Yet, while we’re a growing business and we Skype, message and call all the time, there’s really no substitute for meeting in person now and again.

And so it was in Charleston. Our first official corporate off-site, we finally got the whole team together for the first time, ever.

While planned for some time, though, getting everyone together ended up being more important than expected. What it served to remind me of, given that two weeks earlier one of the team received a stage 3 cancer diagnosis, is not only how important people are to building a successful business, but also how important these people are to me, personally; and, I firmly believe, we all are to each other. More to the point, I’d failed them with a good business (but poor people) decision made a year ago; a decision that was easy to change in principle, but agonizingly difficult to achieve in practice. I’d forgotten that this business is run by, and serves, people, first and foremost. The bits and bytes, emails and feeds? They are the means, not the end.

To provide greater context, it’s been a difficult twelve months for this small business, to say the least, and there are challenges ahead. Our teeny team has gone through bereavements, are going through divorces, will endure cancer. In Charleston we laughed and, yes, we cried, too.

But as we stood, smiling (maybe a little hung over, too — you might like to think so, I couldn’t possibly comment), grabbing the photos for Facebook and our memories, I realized that, through it all, we (not me, we) had managed to, accidentally, build something much more important than the business.

We’d built a company, together.

I couldn’t be more proud of the people who work here, and what they achieve on a daily basis for our clients, for themselves, despite everything. Ultimately, as a result, making FeedBlitz a better business and building greater value for our investors. Being this company means we will succeed, and that the leaders I see emerging in the team will take this company forward to exciting and interesting new places in the coming years. It won’t be easy – nothing worth doing is – but if anyone can do it, it’s these guys. You’ve no idea how much I trust them (Edit: I don’t think they do, either. They’ll figure it out, sooner or later).

Better yet, though, Charleston was notable for one other reason.

Ashley started to reverse the curse by getting married to Josh that Sunday. We couldn’t be happier for them.

And so for many, many reasons, this was the week it all changed.

Building a growing, profitable business? That’s good.

Building a company?


New RSS-Only Plans Are Here!

If you want to switch your RSS service to FeedBlitz, but want to keep your existing email service, now you can.

Announcing our RSS-only plans, designed to scale from the casual blogger (starting at only $15 per year) through to those needing unlimited RSS resources. There’s no limit to the number of RSS subscribers on your feed, just the number of feeds in your account at each tier.

A May Day Milestone

It’s May 1st, May Day, and in many countries a day off to celebrate hard work and to welcome spring. (Not here in the States, of course, because we like to be special here, and Spring is veeery late showing up in many places). Also, if you’re in Oxford, England, the pubs open really early today, pretty much requiring a day off once you hit the booze at 6am. You might like to think I did that when I was a student there; I couldn’t possibly comment.

We’ve been working hard here at FeedBlitz, and today we too are celebrating. Last October, we noted our first ever day where we sent more than five million emails.

We were excited! [Read more...]

I Should be Flattered, Right? or, Some FeedBlitz Policy Changes

OK, I’ll take it as a kind of compliment.

Over the last few days we’ve been dealing with an attempt by a very, very persistent scammer to use FeedBlitz. I’m sure the individual concerned would prefer the term “internet marketer” or “affiliate marketer” – I strongly disagree given what I’ve seen. It’s crud.

Clearly, they want to take advantage of our delivery excellence and the degree of trust we place in our publishers. When we yanked their list and the account, back they came within minutes to rinse and repeat under a different identity. And so it went.

CLARIFICATION: In case I was unclear: FeedBlitz was not hacked. We allowed a list on that our policies, at the time, allowed. The list quality was very poor, the content yucky, and so our policies and software have now changed to prevent this kind of list from getting into FeedBlitz again. [Read more...]

FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week

FeedBlitzIt’s that time again, time to rewind, and take a look at some of the stories you might have missed this week in the world of tech, business, or sometimes, even the beauty of art.

This week’s FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week touches on all three of the above, with a special ‘hat tip’ towards innovation, and how young people are using today’s latest technology (Google Glass, 3D mapping) to foster change – even if that change is just in how we see ourselves.

Let’s get started. First, nothing says Friday like a ‘tech scandal’, right? [Read more...]

FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week

FeedBlitzFor today’s FeedBlitz:Rewind the Week, we’re going to do a little looking back, and a little looking forward.

This week saw the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. According to one article (of many) “On March 12, 1989, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee proposed a type of digital information sharing at CERN that would use “linked information,” “nodes,” and “hypermedia” to form a “web.””

And if you want a real giggle, have a look at the very first web site, from 1990 (and still live today).

Anyhow, let’s get started, and take a look at some of what’s been kicking around the World Wide Web this week, that you might have missed. [Read more...]

Podcasters Don’t Overload Your RSS Feed

As a Podcaster, and this goes for Bloggers too, I know the feeling of wanting to make all my shows available to everyone. It should to be as simple as it can to get to your content into the hands of subscribers, but what a lot of people want to do is instinctively make all their old shows and posts available in their RSS feed. While I can see the value in that, it may not be the best answer.

Originally there was a limit to how many items you can have in an RSS feed, more specifically the limit was in regards the size of the feed in bytes. Now, technically that it isn’t a factor anymore, however there are services and applications that still adhere to that limit. Keep this in mind that if you run all your shows in your feed you could be making it incompatible for some.
Making a successful Podcast also depends on one important factor, a relationship with the listener. If all your shows and posts are available to the subscribers in a feed, then that will be the end point in your relationship. On my own website we not only publish our Podcast, but we also carry blog content as well. In addition to the Blog content, we do publish some ads on our page to generate a little revenue. If everyone subscribes to your feed and doesn’t go to your website regularly, you are missing an opportunity to get more eyes on what you are doing. More importantly you are also missing an opportunity to extend the relationship with your subscriber.
It is the small things that can help keep your boat sailing in the ocean of social media. Here are some suggestions.
  • Limiting the number if items in your feed to 10 or 20
  • Have a well organized, and easy to navigate archive on the site so people can find older shows, WordPress makes this easy
  • Also, promote your archive on your show by talking it up and make sure your listeners know where to find it
If you are creating compelling content, interested subscribers will come and get it. In the end let your feed compliment your site instead of it being your site.
Guest Post by Kreg Steppe of Technorama.