It seems as if the majority of bloggers use FeedBurner to distribute and track the use of their RSS feeds.
Every day I come across blogs showing off the neat little counter proudly displaying how many subscribers they have, just like so…
Here is the thing I have with Feedburner.
Feedburner feeds are, per default, in a format that looks like this…
And more strangely, when you view a blog post in a feed reader their URLs look like this…
Isn’t this a bit strange? How do you know to which site or post you’re subscribed to or what that post is about?
Another thing is word-of-mouth. Imagine you send the FeedBurner URL of a particular blog post to a friend. You eventually provide a short description to entice him/her to click trough. Yet still, it is fairly hard to imagine what one will find when clicking on such a ghost link.
Whereas, when one sends an RSS feed link of one of my blog posts to someone it is clearer what you will find when you click on it since it serves as a “URL headline.”
Do not underestimate word-of-mouth! I get lots of visitors from mail services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Live Mail. Many of them enter my blog on individual pages. (My blog announcement list mentions the home page only.) It is likely some of them picked up the post’s URL from my RSS feed and sent it via e-mail to a friend.
How often did you hear that the headline is the most important part of a message? With a great headline you can pull a reader to your site to read all the rest. You can entice him, brag him and encourage him, but with a Feedburner feed… where is that “URL headline?”
Let’s compare the following two RSS feed links. Assuming both lead to the same location, which one would make you click?
This is my main reason why I’m not a FeedBurner.
Another thing is that FeeBurner owns your feed when you use their services. Theoretically, they could do whatever they wish with it. They could even terminate your account. In such a case, you would instantly lose all of your subscribers. Think that won’t happen?
Recently, there was a guy using myspace.com as platform to social network with others and promote his upcoming first music CD. He built a large following in a fairly short time period. He had lots of friends and even established connections to popular names in the music industry. What happened?
Myspace.com terminated his account two days before his CD came out, without providing any reason.
What was supposed to become a hit became a flop.
Bottom line, if, after reading the above, you still think it is advantageously to use FeedBurner, I at least strongly encourage you to remove the counter (unless it shows thousands of subscribers.)