Last week we transferred our FeedBurner account to Google and encountered some hiccups. Here is Google's FAQ on this migration, and here is an extremely helpful Google page providing known bugs and workarounds. Q: What Feedburner bug did RKGblog encounter? A: We got 502 and 503 errors on our primary RSS url, feeds.rimmkaufman.com/rkgblog. We use a FeedBurner (FB) service called MyBrand to preserve our domain in our feed URL. If you are not using MyBrand (you should be), then migrating from old FB to the new Google account is just pushing one button. If you are using MyBrand, you also have to follow the instructions on this page on adding a CNAME so FB has DNS authority to serve that subdomain for you. The bug is that the feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mybrand page doesn't work as you'd expect. To make it to work, you first need to hit the deactivate button, then hit activate. Deactivation is the magic step. Be sure to note your feed-specific domain name(s) before deactivating, as doing so will clear the text field. Once you 'deactivate' and 'reactivate', add the CNAME as per the instructions, wait for the DNS to propagate, and flush your local DNS cache, all should be working. Q: Why use FeedBurner at all? A: I can think of eight reasons to use FB for RSS.
- Is this still relevant in 2009? Unsure.
- BuzzBoost. This is a Recent Posts widget.
- Nice, but we've seen homepage loading delays because of this. We'll be replacing the FB widget on our homepage with a static include, generated hourly by a trivial cron script.
- Bandwidth. FB fetches RSS from your site when pinged, then FB handles all the requests for your feed from the outside world. Free bandwidth.
- Nice. Thanks, Google.
- Adserving. You can use Feedburner/AdSense to insert ads into your feeds.
- We don't put ads in our RSS. Thus, not relevant to us.
- FeedBulletin. Provides a RSS feed on the fetch health of your feed.
- Useful. We could use our Nagios system to monitor our feed availability, but FeedBulletin/FeedMedic is already there.
- Site analytics. FB used to provide very nice site analytics for blogs. They just dropped those in favor of Google Analytics.
- Sigh. I found the FB data, presentation, and UI far better than the GA replacement. I miss those clickable french fry charts.
- Email. Feedburner can maintain an email list of people wishing read your RSS via email.
- Useful and appreciated. Be aware that migrating this list elsewhere could be difficult, as discussed here.
- Subscriber counts. This was FB's strength, imho. FB grabbed subscriber data from the user agent strings of the various 'bots taking its feeds, then aggregated subscription and reach counts for each publisher, time period, and feed item. Rick Klau discussed FB data collection here. Note FB counts can be manipulated.
Update 1/30/09FB seems to be working fine. Our feeds appear stable. Reach and subs counts are still half their early January levels. Suspect the halving will be the new normal.
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