October 16, 2008

Hey FeedBurner, Wake Up. You And Google Didn't Talk Last Night.

You would think that as FeedBurner has been further incorporated into the Google monolith, recently incorporating with Google's feedproxy, that its service would be finer tuned and could be trusted to sync up with the Web giant's other products, including iGoogle and Google Reader. On most days, they seem to do a fairly good job, getting feeds out to the various RSS readers, and reporting statistics accurately. But today, like many other days before, the two seemed to walk by one another in the hallway and not make eye contact, because we are once again seeing a decimation of feed counts across the blogosphere, chopping away thousands of subscribers from popular blogs, and for the little guys, taking them down to zero.

My subscriber count plummeted by two-thirds (at least for today)

Coalminersgd wonders if all her subscribers went away.

This miss, one in a series of misses over the last few years, also comes at a time when many are openly voicing concern that FeedBurner is asleep at the wheel, having moved its ping server without telling anyone, and adding delays between people add posts to their site and when they actually hit the RSS feed. Techmeme's Gabe Rivera and ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick have been among their most vocal detractors. Gabe said yesterday that "Feedburner lameness continues", and at the end of last month, Marshall said that FeedBurner May Not Be Hearing Your Pings.

DearRobot is clearly not happy.

In Marshall's story at the end of September, Steve Olechowski of FeedBurner said "we hear all your pings" and that "both ping servers still work", but that hasn't been the experience for everyone. Gabe said "It's inexcusable," adding "At this point, Feedburner is infrastructure" to the Web, something virtually all bloggers, myself included, use to have their content distributed. In fact, Gabe's response to Steve was quite direct, saying, "you guys broke the blogosphere, and your above verbiage reads like a bunch of evasive hooey."

TimBrownson is frustrated to the point of physical violence.

Whatever the problems are at FeedBurner, they aren't seeming to get any better with time, no matter how many times people like Gabe, Marshall and I bring it up. The company's blog hasn't been updated since May 30th, even though they've been called out for being silent before. (See: FeedBurner Quietly Kills All-Time RSS Feed Stats from February). It's alarming for some that a product that has become infrastructure and is expected to have 100% uptime continues to have such gaps and flaws. Losing one's statistics for a day is essentially meaningless, but it really makes you wonder what's going on over there.

See previous coverage of FeedBurner/Google mismatches: