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FeedBlitz FAQs

Got a question? It's probably answered here. Here are the main sections:

FeedBlitz Email Service Basics

What is FeedBlitz?

FeedBlitz manages RSS feeds and then turns them into automated emails, Tweets and Instant Messages to subscribers.

How does it do that?

FeedBlitz reads your blog's RSS feed - a computer-readable form of your blog produced by all the blogging tools out there. It then figures out what's new and sends the updates to subscribers by email, IM And Tweet.

Does FeedBlitz need a blog to work?

No - RSS is a way of syndicating information using XML. FeedBlitz works with any RSS or Atom feed, regardless of whether the content was created by a blog or not. If you have a blog you don't need to worry; your blog creates what FeedBlitz needs to produce your newsletter for you.

Better yet, if you don't have a blog or RSS feed, you can create your email newsletter at FeedBlitz and we create an RSS feed for it - along with a searchable web archive that search engines can access to promote your content.

Is FeedBlitz a newsletter service for blogs then?

You can use FeedBlitz like that, sure. It automatically handles subscription requests, unsubscription commands and bounced email. FeedBlitz tracks opens, click throughs, deliverability metrics and more. Our full feature list is here.

How much does it cost?

Our standard services are free to subscribers. For publishers, all features, including custom branding, scheduling and more are available to everyone, regardless of whether on the paid program or using an ad-funded version. We nicely format and deliver your messages by mail, instant messenger and social network.

As of January 1st 2009, FeedBlitz is offering a 30-day FREE TRIAL for NEW publishers. Existing publishers who used FeedBlitz to add email capabilities to their sites before January 1st 2009 and whose newsletters are still active will remain on their current programs.

Upgrading your account removes all ads from your mailings.

What is the difference between the free and upgraded versions?

No ads. Otherwise, all publishers can use any and all our features.

Can I downgrade from a paid version?

Sure. But, after January 1st 2009, downgrades will be treated as if you're a new publisher. Downgrades will enter an ad-funded grace / trial period, by the end of which an upgrade will be required to ensure that mailings continue.

What happens at the end of the trial period?

If your trial or grace period ends without an upgrade, FeedBlitz will simply stop sending emails to your subscribers. You'll still be able to configure your newsletter, new subscribers will still be opted in, unsubscriibes will still be honored - we just won't run your mailings until the account is re-activated. You can upgrade to re-activate your account, or leave us if you prefer (but we'd be sad if you did that).

Are you guys spammers?

No. We will never share email address information unless required to do so by a court. We work very hard to ensure that readers are not spammed, thanks to our confirmation process. We also prevent known spambots from filling publishers' lists with names (fake or real). All removal requests are immediately honored. Readers may choose to unsubscribe from an individual feed or from all of FeedBlitz. They may do so using the links provided in emails sent to them, from the FeedBlitz web site itself, or by emailing support and requesting to be removed.

Bounced and otherwise unresponsive addresses are automatically handled. If you search online you'll find many people saying "I tried it and have got no spam." Try us for a while and you'll see that we don't spam. We have a comprehensive privacy policy that is strictly adhered to.

Do you share subscriber information with publishers?

By default, yes, but only after you have confirmed your subscription. For those who wish to remain anonymous you can choose to keep your email address private, in which case it appears in publishers' lists as "anonymous." Otherwise your email address is visible to the creator of the newsletter, so you need to trust them as well.

To subscribe anonymously, first register with FeedBlitz, then edit your profile and enable the privacy setting. All current and future subscriptions will hide your email address from the publisher unless you change this setting back.

Mail Handling

What are your policies on spam filters and automated spam challenge / response filters like Earthlink's and SpamArrest?

Due to the volume of requests, all confirmation techniques that require responses to emails are treated as soft bounces. We don't action them here at FeedBlitz. If an email address repeatedly issues challenge / response messages, indicating that the end-user is clearly not approving FeedBlitz emails, they will be deleted.

What are your mail settings?

  • All mail comes from FeedBlitz@mail.feedblitz.com;
  • All our mail will authenticate using SPF and DKIM;
  • The FeedBlitz servers try to resend mail for up to 23 hours before giving up;
  • We Automatically manage subscriber details including bounces, unsubscribes, feedback loops and subscription reminders.

What are the policies on bounced mails?

All addresses that result in a deliverability failure are tracked. A failure includes problems such as mailbox full and quota issues, as well as fundamental issues such as an unknown email address or an inability to reach the email server for that address. Out of office messages do not contribute to the undeliverable count.

If a user's email does not bounce after 23 hours it is assumed to be good and the delivery failure flags are reset for that email address.

If an email address creates more than three consecutive, uncorrected delivery reports in a 14 day period they are marked for deletion. If the problem is not fixed within a day these addresses are automatically deleted.

Can I intervene in this process?

Yes. If a user on your list is marked as undeliverable or to be deleted you can force them to be set as "good" and reset the counts. This can be useful for situations where you know that the email address is correct, but a spam filter is potentially rejecting FeedBlitz mail automatically. The override gives you time to contact the user directly and have them investigate and fix whatever is causing the bounces.

Blog Owner and Publisher FAQs

Where is the HTML for a sign up form?

It's at Newsletters | Forms | Subscription Forms, as is the subscriber count chicklet. There are many options to choose from, including embedded versions and custom fields.

How can I change my password or my email address?

Click "My Profile" to change your password and the email address you would like to use.

FeedBlitz has blocked my login - what do I do now?

As a security measure, if you fail to login successfully several times in a row FeedBlitz blocks access to your account and sends you an email. In that email is a link which you must click to re-enable access to your account. If you cannot find the email you can have it resent to you by completing the lost password form. Passwords are CasE SensITive at FeedBlitz.

Even though you are blocked from logging in until you reauthorize your account, blocked users still get sent emails if the feeds they are subscribing to change.

Are there any limits on the number of subscribers to my feed?

No! We handle lists in single digits all the way through to 7 figures.

Can I limit the text in emails? I want readers to click through to my site.

Yes. Once you have set up your publication, go to Newsletters | Settings | Content Settings | The Basics the mailing you want to change.

Now you can choose the maximum number characters you want to include from your post and the followup call to action. When the mail is generated, posts longer than the length you specify are truncated back to the nearest whole word, an ellipsis ("...") added, and then your custom call to action written in underneath, linking back to the original post.

If you want headlines only, set the character count to zero and make the call to action field blank.

You can restore full posts by deleting the value in the maximum character count field.

Can I customize the look and feel of the emails? I want my logo in the mail and not FeedBlitz orange.

Yes. You can customize the look of your emails and the subscriber sign up landing pages - this capability is available to all publishers at Newsletters | Settings - there is an easy template editor where you can upload a logo and choose colors and fonts; and a more advanced one with full HTML access. We insert small ads in the emails and landing pages on the free service and during grace periods; the ads are removed for paid upgrades. Pricing is simple - no limits, no per-mailing charges, no overages. Just a simple monthly fee, based on the number of unique active subscribers in your account. So upgrade and mail away!

Email - it's not exactly Web 2.0 trendy, is it? What's the point?

There are lots of good reasons to offer email subscriptions to your blog or service.

Not everyone understands RSS, Atom and XML. Only a fraction of US Internet users knowingly use RSS subscriptions and know what it is. If you don't provide an alternative mechanism for users to subscribe to your content, you're missing out on reaching over 80% of your potential audience.

RSS aggregation requires a feed-aware browser or a custom aggregator (either on your desktop or a web service). Many people don't want the hassle or complexity. Email subscriptions work perfectly for them.

Email is ubiquitous. Everyone has it. It is the Internet's killer app. Phones, PDAs, almost any connected device can send and receive email. Email is a way to get your content to users on platforms without an RSS aggregator, or to products where getting RSS requires paying for a custom application and excessive airtime charges.

Email is great for fast moving feeds. If you're offline, your email server holds the feed updates until you're ready. For busy feeds, which may drop posts after a day or a week, email becomes the only way to read articles published and dropped while you're not able to use an aggregator, such as when you're away traveling, on vacation or during a lengthy power outage.

Email is searchable. Every desktop reader and search tool available understands the database formats of common email clients. Feeds delivered to your inbox can then be sorted, managed and searched - along with all your other email. Search engines can't do that for proprietary aggregator filing systems and custom online aggregation services.

Email is local. You have the feed data right there - you can download and go offline. You can't do that with an online service.

Email gives publishers control and insight - who's reading your feed by mail? When did they join? With FeedBlitz you know.

Most importantly - users want it. Email subscriptions. Simple concept. Huge demand. Why not?!

Do readers have to register with FeedBlitz to get updates?

No. A reader subscribes using a signup form on your web site or blog, or by accessing a custom link to FeedBlitz's free hosted sign up form. This automatically registers them if they're new, and generates a random password for their account. The user responds to the mail and that's it - done.

Registration is required for new publishers - except for those using FeedBlitz from the FeedBurner GUI.

Can I publish more than one newsletter with FeedBlitz?

You bet! Publish and / or subscribe to as many as you like - there are no restrictions. You can brand them differently or use a "Master Template" for brand consistency across all your publications. FeedBlitz even builds you a Subscription Center for your subscribers automatically, so they can easily view and (un)subscribe to all the publications you offer.

Can subscribers sign up for more than one newsletter at a time?

Yes - instructions are in the FeedBlitz blog in this post. The newlsetter form generator (at Newsletters | Forms | Subscription Forms) also has options to automatically build a single or multi-publication form for you to use.

Can I import readers from other systems? They've all opted in.

Yes - you can import from any system that exports to text files (this includes Outlook, FeedBurner and all major third party online services). Your subscribers do NOT need to sign up all over again; we simply send them a note to opt OUT as thye're imported to let them know about the change and how to update their white lists. Import is available to all users and is completely self-service.

You can import from text files, OPML and other sources of confirmed opted-in lists from other services, groups or listservers. File upload or direct entry is supported. For more information see this entry in the FeedBlitz blog.

Import is available at Newsletters | Subscribers.

How do we stop Spammers from Abusing Import?

We apply various policies, filters and other techniques to detect and prevent abusive imports. We can't say too much about this in public, but you can look at some of our anti-abuse processes in this article.

Any limitations on Import?

Apart from our anti-abuse features, mentioned above, just one. If your import looks like it will take the circulation of your lists over 5,000, FeedBlitz requires an immediatet (no-trial) mandatory upgrade to continue. If your circulation is already over 5,000 you won't be asked to pay as you're already a trusted publisher, nor will lists that grow organically past 5,000 (i.e. via confirmed opt-ins from your forms) be forced to upgrade.

Does FeedBlitz support foreign languages and non-Latin character sets?

Yes! FeedBlitz supports Unicode (UTF-8) natively, for both HTML and TEXT format emails. It also automatically converts ISO-8859 and Windows-1252 encoded feeds to UTF-8. FeedBlitz is tracking and mailing feeds in Cyrillic, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese as well as European languages with accented characters such as French, Spanish, German and many more.

In addition, the main subscriber-facing pages have also been translated by the FeedBlitz community into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch

The only current restriction is that the FeedBlitz GUI and instructions in the service itself are currently only available in US English. Long term plans are in place to address all of these issues.

Are images and links preserved in FeedBlitz emails?

In HTML format yes, provided the full post is included (the default behavior). If you as a publisher elect to truncate the post length to a certain number of characters, images and links (and all other HTML markup) are stripped from the post in order to ensure a good character count and avoid having erroneous HTML encoding (specifically incomplete or non-terminated tags).

That said, subscriber email clients may strip out content that they don't support, or feel represent a security risk. So, for example, many embedded media players do not display in email (because they are encoded as IFRAME or OBJECT tags), even though FeedBlitz places the correct code in the mail. Also, embedded javascript code almost never works, so it is worth trying to find alternative approaches to client-side functionality if this is becomes an issue.

Do you need my blogging tool's password?

No - just access to the feed. If you have a private feed that requires a user name and password to get at the feed, you can share that with FeedBlitz (but bear in mind that once FeedBlitz sends your data out by mail it is no longer secure).

FeedBlitz also supports SSL for feeds that require encrypted access (but again, be aware that once the data has been acquired, FeedBlitz sends it out in a clear-text email).

Do you support SSL and feeds with passwords?

Yes - we use SSL when you log in and when you update your password. We also support feeds that require SSL and / or authentication.

Is there a programming API for FeedBlitz?

There is a private API being used by FeedBurner and a couple of key publishers right now. It will be made more generally available when it's ready for wider consumption.

When do emails go out?

The standard service starts shortly after 1am US eastern time; the emails are usually sent within an hour. Emails are only sent if there is a post from the prior day.

For "Turbo" users, emails are sent depending on the "Turbo" frequency (hourly, every 4 bours, every 8 hours or every 12 hours). If there are no posts in the previous timeframe (1, 2, 4, 8 or 12 hours) then no post is sent.

For "On demand" users, all posts that are new to the feed since the prior mailing are sent out when you tell FeedBlitz to mail subscribers.

Subscriber FAQs

Is FeedBlitz free to readers?

Yes. You get the email based on the publisher's preferences, usually nightly.

Can I get my updates on a different schedule?

Yes. You can upgrade your free subscription to a "Turbo Subscriber" plan. For USD $1.59 per subscription per month you can get updates as fast as hourly, no matter what the publisher's settings are. You can access this feature from the FeedBlitz "My Subscriptions" link.

Can I unsubscribe?

Yes - you can unsubscribe from a single, specific feed, or from the service as a whole. Links to do this are in every email. You can also log in and modify your subscriptions from your FeedBlitz dashboard. Alternatively, you can also email us your request and you will be removed within a business day (typically much faster than that).

Can I subscribe anonymously?

Yes. Edit your profile and click the "Private" button on.

Am I restricted to receiving feeds from FeedBlitz publishers?

No! You can subscribe to any blog, RSS or Atom feed with FeedBlitz. Just enter the URL in the form here.

How can I change my password or my email address?

Click "My Profile" to change your password and the email address you would like to use.

Will I get emails if there are no posts in the feeds I'm tracking?

No - no feeds, no emails.

I subscribed to 10 feeds - will I get 10 emails?

Usually, no - updates for basic services are consolidated into a single nightly digest; one email only.

If a publisher has moved to a premium plan, however, their emails are separated out from the digest as a benefit to them.

I want plain text format, not HTML - how do I set that up?

Click "My Profile" and change the selection in the format dialog from HTML to TEXT.

   

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