Back in October 2012 Google shut down the Feedburner API, a situation that left many an Internet content publisher scrambling for alternatives to a service that no longer seemed to be a given to continue into the distant future. It’s true that Feedburner is still alive (for now) but the signs of a slow retreat by Google from the feed distribution space (shut down the API, shut down the blog) are there. Given the signs I think it’s a wise move for Internet content publishers to: a) start migrating feeds off of Feedburner; and b) refrain from moving any new feeds over to Feedburner.
As an early Feedburner user (pre acquisition by Google) I thought that it would be helpful to write a post that provides some context by letting people know what Feedburner does for publishers, why they got so popular, what happened after Google acquired them and why Feedburner (and services like it) are no longer necessary (or advisable) for those people who plan to be serious Internet content publishers for a long time to come.
As someone who loves to consume media via podcasting I have seen a marked change in my approach to managing the various shows that I listen to (I only subscribe to audio podcasts) over the last few years. From what I have been hearing from people with similar tastes there are many other people who have gone through the same evolution and arrived at the place I’m at now. Below I briefly list the periods that show how my podcast audio discovery and management process has evolved.
I have been enthusiastic about the Internet since I first ventured into the new frontier in January of 1996. At the time I was serving in the U.S. Army in Germany and somehow getting onto the net made me feel much closer to home. At that time internet access was slow (28.8 kilobits per second at best) for me and there wasn’t nearly as much to see or do on the Internet as there is today. My earliest memories of it include visits to Yahoo! and Amazon, which were very young companies at the time. Yahoo! helped me to find other interesting pages (as I recall most websites were just a single page) and Amazon helped me to get my hands on books that I couldn’t get at the post exchange.
Fast forward ~17 years and there is a lot of water under the bridge with me and the Internet. I have seen it grow and watched the industry boom in the late 90s and bust in the 2000-2001 period. What’s amazing to me is the fact that around 2000 a lot of people (myself included) thought that the Internet had reached heights that we might never see again. Those of us who thought that were wrong obviously but it’s easy to get cynical when you see billion dollar companies vaporized in a period of months. Regardless of the bubble I enjoyed the possibilities with regard to personal publishing and started my own personal website and a New York Mets fan website. Along the way I learned the basics of web development using Macromedia Dreamweaver, CGI scripts and MS Access databases. In those days the tools for building dynamic websites at the personal level were rudimentary as companies focused on developing publishing systems for corporate clients.