While Lairig Marketing continues to be ignored by Google’s search engine (as well as the millions of so-called search engine “gurus,” not one of which took our recent challenge), we received more bad news last week from the GOOG’s overlords.
Unless your laptop was under a rock, you heard about the monopolistic search company’s terse and disingenuous announcement that it was killing Google Reader. Google kills products all the time – see Buzz, for example – but this one struck a nerve. Google claimed no one was using Reader, but the public outcry showed that to be a lie.
However, that’s not the part of the story that interests us. We couldn’t care less about Reader – there are plenty of alternatives standing by. Once again finding ourselves pondering something no one else has mentioned, what we do care about is what happens now to a Google product directly related to Reader.
Back in mid-2007, Google purchased a company called Feedburner, for a cool $100 million. And then proceeded to do f&ck all with it. Not as bad as an AOL and Time Warner merger, but a waste of shareholder capital nonetheless.
Feedburner provides, as the name implies, a way for publishers (including bloggers like us) to make their content available to readers on an automated basis, using RSS technology. The reader clicks on a “subscribe” button, and then anytime the publisher creates new content, it is immediately “fed” to whatever RSS collection tool the reader uses – such as, *drumroll*, Google Reader.
Ever since Lairig Marketing launched, we have used Feedburner to “feed” each new blog posting to “RSS subscribers.” Over these past 5 years, Google has added zero features, zero tips, and zero support to Feedburner. Numerous times the service failed for days at a time, with the typical lack of acknowledgement from the GoogleDome (run a search on the terms “my Feedburner count just went to zero” to see for yourself).
Earlier this week, just days after the announcement that Google Reader was on death watch, Feedburner once again failed, listing zero subscribers for all publishers who rely on it. We fully expect Feedburner will be put on the GOOG’s sacrificial altar very, very soon. If Google doesn’t need an RSS reader, then it doesn’t need an RSS feeder either. The only thing to argue about is whether it has the decency to make a public announcement, or whether it just flips the “off” switch one morning.
Knowing that Feedburner’s end is nigh, Lairig Marketing is preparing to deploy an alternate RSS feed service, FeedBlitz. It will require each current RSS subscriber (many of you who probably forgot that’s how you see us pop up on your screen) to re-subscribe, via FeedBlitz.
We will make this transition within a couple of weeks (unless Feedburner shuts down sooner!), and will make every effort to communicate it and guide you through what you must do. It will require a simple, one-time “click” on a new subscribe button.
As simple as it will be, it will be a disruption and a distraction to your typical experience, and many of you will most likely not complete the switchover. We are saddened to think of the number of readers we are about to lose, on a "technicality," if you will. At bottom, that is why we care more about the future of Feedburner than we do the future of Reader.
Technology, when it is at its best, is supposed to be an enabler. Somehow Google always finds a way for its technology to be a maddening, frustratingly unpredictable experience, taking away the benefits we want most.