You might think this an odd post coming from me, but it’s really important. The more FeedBurner feeds we migrate the clearer it becomes:
The fastest way to lose your carefully nurtured
subscriber base is to delete your FeedBurner feed.
Why? Because it doesn’t work.
Well, it works, in that the feed goes away after 30 days (15, really), and it is deleted. That works.
What does NOT work is the notion that this moves your RSS audience to your blog’s feed. The FeedBurner process is absolutely no help at all if you want your subscribers to switch. And it is killing me to see people suggesting online that all you have to do is delete your FeedBurner feed and all will be well.
It won’t be. It’s a terrible idea. Don’t do it.
Which is not to say you shouldn’t leave (or plan to leave) FeedBurner. We here absolutely believe FeedBurner is going away, the signs are unmistakable. You should get going, frankly. We’d like the chance to win your business too.
But the simple “delete your feed at FeedBurner” approach will be a disaster for you and your audience. Here’s why. When you start the 30 day deletion process at FeedBurner, it automatically sends readers back to the original feed. It’s a redirect. The problem with this is twofold:
- Feed readers following your feeds.feedburner.com don’t update themselves with the new URL automatically; and
- It’s invisible to end users so the end user themselves do not know that they need to update their reader.
So the tools don’t update. Your readers don’t know to update. It all works seamlessly – which is, in fact, the problem. Until day 16, when your FeedBurner feed becomes a single post with teeny type saying (and I’m paraphrasing here): “This feed has moved – update your reader.”
That post doesn’t update, stays there for 15 days, and then goes away. No matter how many times you post, it doesn’t change. So once read, if the user doesn’t do anything, it won’t show up as unread again. And then the feed ends up being gone – for good.
Here’s the thing. People are lazy. You have to ask and ask and ask and ask them to resubscribe. You have to keep at it and you might have to ask them 5, 10, more times before they’ll finally make the move. Asking them once, like FeedBurner does, and then going away? You’re going to lose more than 75% of your RSS audience (at least the email addresses can be exported for email subscribers), because they’re not going to update their readers that one and only time. The “delete your FeedBurner feed and all will be well” process doesn’t work.
Not only this, but you also lose all your old FeedBurner links, so click throughs from old posts won’t work if you had item tracking enabled at FeedBurner; you’ll lose all your old analytics as well. Finally, when the 30 days are up, you release your FeedBurner URL for someone else to use. Think about it: Do you really want to hand that over to just anyone? Do you want a third party zombie with who-knows-what content suddenly sending updates to your readers who didn’t update their subscriptions, because FeedBurner’s native process is broken? What damage might that do to you or to your brand?
Don’t throw away all that time and investment in your RSS subscribers just because FeedBurner’s “migration process” doesn’t actually do what you think it’s going to. Don’t lose your audience, don’t ditch that data, and don’t frustrate loyal readers with suddenly broken links.
Put another way, FeedBlitz’s FeedBurner Migration Manual is over 60 pages now. It got that way because un-FeedBurnering is complicated, messy and tough to do. It is way, way more than simply trashing your FeedBurner feed, even if deleting your FeedBurner did work the way you want it to (which, of course, it really doesn’t).
Our FeedBurner alternative migration processes and documentation exist and have evolved to where they are now for a reason.
Be very, very careful when you are told that
all you have to do is delete your FeedBurner feed.
It is naive. It is not true.
Don’t sacrifice your audience and find out the hard way.
Build on our experience and safeguard your subscribers. Get the FeedBurner Migration Manual and get it right, first time.