I've been a FeedBurner customer for a couple of years and was initially happy for the company when it was acquired by Google. This soon turned to frustration when I realized that Google had become the company where startups go to die. Since being acquired by Google almost two years ago, the service hasn't added new features or fixed glaring bugs. If anything, the service has only lost features since it was acquired.

I discovered the most significant feature loss this weekend when I was prompted to migrate my FeedBurner account to using a Google login. I thought this would just be a simple change in login credentials but I got a different version of the service as well. The version of the service for Google accounts does have a new feature, the chart of subscribers is now a chart of subscribers AND "reach". On the other hand, the website analytics features seemed to be completely missing. So I searched on the Internet and found the following FAQ on the FeedBurner to Google Accounts migration

Are there any features that are not available at feedburner.google.com?

There are two features that we are retiring from all versions of feedburner: Site Stats (visitors) and FeedBurner Networks.

We have decided to retire FeedBurner website visitor tracking, as we feel Google already has a comparable publisher site analytics tool in Google Analytics. If you do not currently use Google Analytics, we recommend signing up for an account. We want to stress that all feed analytics will remain the same or be improved, and they are not going away.

FeedBurner Networks, which were heavily integrated with FeedBurner Ad Network, are no longer being supported. As with many software features, the usage wasn't at the level we'd hoped, and therefore we are making the decision not to develop it further, but to focus our attention on other feed services that are being used with more frequency. We will continue to look out for more opportunities for publishers to group inventory as part of the AdSense platform.

I guess I should have seen this coming. I know enough about competing projects and acquisitions to realize that there was no way Google would continue to invest in two competing website analytics products. It is unfortunate because there were some nice features in FeedBurner's Site Stats such as tracking of clicked links and the ability to have requests from a particular machine be ignored which are missing in Google Analytics. I also miss the simplicity of FeedBurner's product. Google Analytic is a more complex product with lots of bells and whistles, yet it takes two or three times as many clicks to answer straightforward questions like what referrer pages are sending people to our site. 

The bigger concern for me is that both Google Analytics and FeedBurner (aka AdSense for Feeds) are really geared around providing a service for people who use Google's ad system. I keep wondering how much longer Google will be willing to let me mooch off of them by offloading my RSS feed bandwidth costs to them while not serving Google ads in my feed.  At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Google turns FeedBurner into a Freemium business model product where users like me are encouraged to run ads if we want any new features and better service.

Too bad there isn't any competition in this space.

Note Now Playing: Lords of the Underground - Chief Rocka Note


Monday, January 19, 2009 11:12:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
As someone that reads your blog via the FeedBurner RSS feed and Internet Explorer, I've noticed that FeedBurner occasionally presents the feed with a stylesheet that advertises their web RSS reader. I've noticed this also with Neowin which also uses FeedBurner.

It's an unhappy experience.
Monday, January 19, 2009 4:56:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well, FeedBurner does provide free bandwidth. Which does cost them money. No amount of competition will be able to change that... Or am I missing something?
Monday, January 19, 2009 5:48:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
<i>It is unfortunate because there were some nice features in FeedBurner's Site Stats such as tracking of clicked links and the ability to have requests from a particular machine be ignored which are missing in Google Analytics.</i>

Actually, Google Analytics does support the feature of ignoring requests. It can ignore traffic a particular domain or from a particular IP address. Go to Analytics Settings > Profile Settings > Create New Filter.
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