Business

If Google kills off FeedBurner, these apps could take its place

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After Google killed off Google Reader, we have to wonder what’s next on Google’s chopping block. Some are speculating it might be FeedBurner, the app used by millions of blogs and websites to distribute the RSS feeds Google Reader once helped people subscribe to.

Google acquired FeedBurner in 2007 for $100 million, but like Reader in its final days, it has been virtually stripped of any developmental or marketing support.

Most Reader users ended up migrating to the previously almost unknown service Feedly. For Feedly, the death of Reader was a dream come true. If FeedBurner goes the way of Reader, who will step up as the equivalent of Feedly and reap the windfall? Alternatives such as FeedBlitz, FeedCat, Feedity, and FeedPress are waiting in the wings.

  • FeedBlitz is a nice looking solution, although it seems to be focused more on newsletters and can get relatively expensive. The more I looked at it, the more it seemed to want to give me much more than I was looking for, and at a price.
  • FeedCat appears to be launching a feed reader similar to Feedly while also helping you publish your feed. The company strikes me as lacking focus, and some of the marketing language on the site, e.g. “It’s free and it can make money for you!” rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not trying to monetize my feed, I just want a simple solution to get my feed out there.
  • Feedity turns any webpage into an RSS feed, but is expensive, looks outdated, and again, isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. They recently announced they have become a member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, but whether that will give me more of what I want or not I can’t say.
  • FeedPress is far and away the best fit for what I was looking for. All I want is quick and easy RSS feed delivery. It’s also an interesting startup story in the works.

FeedPress gives me everything I like about FeedBurner, along with some features I wish FeedBurner had. Two standouts are 1) FeedPress’ simple process for transferring my FeedBurner subscribers to FeedPress, and 2) the fact that my subscribers won’t be locked to a FeedPress URL, but rather my blog’s own RSS feed URL.

With FeedPress visitors to my blog don’t subscribe to an external feed (like http://donloper.feedpress.it), but to my real feed at http://www.donloper.com/?feed=rss2. With an easy-to-install WordPress plugin, traffic is first redirected from my site to FeedPress so it can get the data it needs in order give me back the stats I want, and then traffic is directed back to my site. This leaves me in control, rather than committing as much to a service as I did to FeedBurner.

FeedPress was created by Maxime Valette. In early 2013 Maxime and Alex Knight met online through App.net, where they started chatting about other side projects. Maxime had been developing WordPress plugins, and Alex found himself constantly contacting Maxime with feature/usability requests. Maxime ended up asking Alex to come on as a partner to focus on marketing, a transition that took place in early 2013.

The two-man team is well aware of the opportunity to come from FeedBurner’s likely demise and are gearing up in anticipation. They’ve built on cloud services that can scale to meet demand in real time. They’re actively marketing the product, but if they play their cards right and get a leg up on the competition, the big win will come when Google announces the demise of FeedBurner. That moment appears to be getting closer with each passing day.

Joshua Steimle is the CEO of MWI, an online marketing firm with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and Hong Kong. He writes for various publications including Forbes and the South China Morning Post. Follow him @donloper.


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