Feedburner? No trouble at all.


When Dave Winer wrote “Why Feedburner is trouble“, stating basically that only an ecosystem with a lot of competition is good so nobody can concentrate too much power, he is of course right, but that is not what his posting is about. And in follow up posts again people like Todd Cochrane state how evil feedburner is because they “eat your feeds”.

Which is nonsense, but Todd likes to frighten not so tech savy people with his argument about feedburner being evil. Anyone knowing what they are doing is able to set up a feedburner feed the way that you still own ‘everything’ around it. That is called htaccess and Feedburner settings. Try subscribing to this feed with any automated way and result in a subscription of the feedburner address – you won’t be able to until you manually copy and paste the address once you called on my feed. If you would want to avoid that even more, Feedburner provided for a long time Mybrand – meaning that you could ‘own’ your feed perfectly.

Mybrand in combination with some switches in Feedburner itself will make a nice feed for you, with not any trouble but a bunch of features available for you no other service has used yet. And when you leave feedburner they do a decent redirect by 301 – and if you own a decent feedreader, it will obey to that.

So what is the point? Is Feedburner really trouble? What would happen when they would do something to harm what your interest is? Yeah, somebody at Feedburner could actually decide to make changes to the feeds to evolve the ecosystem. Like itunes did with their additional entries for feeds.

And then one of two things will happen: Either this is benefitiary to what the user of feedburner wants and they will stay, or feedburner will break something and then they will flee. Flee meaning you just switch back to your own blogs feed, use the redirect from feedburner and be done.

But what if there are some enhancements which will break other readers than Google Reader? Well, either they are really good and then others will learn to implement them as well (again itunes), or readers without Google Reader will not be able to read it anymore.

Hm, let’s think for a moment. Am I as a blogger really interested in loosing out on my readers, just because they are not using a google reader? Yeah right, as if that is going to happen. The fact that most podcasters only offer itunes links is because most podcasters are just that – podcasters with no to only a few clues about how a blog works. iTunes took the ecosystem by storm (and as I said before crashed the development of podcasting). But the blogosphere is a much more grown system, with more than enough choices.

So why is there trouble? What is this about?

And they could, if they wanted to, change the feeds to another format, overnight, without asking anyone.

To be more precise: Without asking Dave Winer. And as he writes in the comments of Robert Scoble’s entry on this:

The rest of your post is right. The big companies, including Google, are trying to take control of RSS, and it’s in contradiction to the roadmap, and just plain wrong. I’ve asked them to stop, and so far they’ve ignored the request. Thanks for raising the issue publicly.

Robert Scoble in his posting:

I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there. Why don’t they join the Atom committee and why do these big companies want to even have the appearance of messing with a spec that we all are happily using?


I as a user and blogger do not care about either RSS or Atom. For me it is simple. I have a certain set of functionality I want from a feed, both on receiving as on sending side. Neither feedreader I know really cares about if it is Atom or RSS. I use RSS format more like out of tradition, but that is about it.

I as well as others am annoyed how Dave Winer clings onto how only he is supposed to be the only one to know how to work with RSS or what to bring in the future. And I am not the only one. As someone said on a tech conference “Nr. 1 reason to use Atom? No Dave Winer.” Notice that this is about perception and not at all about if it is his right to do so or not.

It is sad to say, but Atom’s best friend is Dave Winer.


2 Responses to “Feedburner? No trouble at all.”

  1. Daksh says:

    Todd’s thoughts have always had a fair bit of controversy. I remember Todd had encourage people to look beyond iTunes in one of his post http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/006962.html. A bit of iTunes bashing there and I am not 100% convinced by Todd’s thoughts on development in podcast application space.

    I extend my support for Robert, you and other bloggers in this ongoing debate.

  2. Nicole says:

    Na I do not even think it is itunes bashing in there, and while I do not agree many time with the way he writes – especially on his rather dulling way of saying no to feedburner – in this he is right.

    It is not that itunes is good, it is just so much more compelling than other sites. Podcasters actually are a very interesting crowd when it comes to manage being a producer of content and most of them actually do not fit into the mechanism of how new media can enhance distribution of content.

    a video is easily and attractivly integrated in a blog, but audio? i still think it is a preferable medium to me but probably needs different development.

    as for the development around podcasting … well this is another thing; perhaps just not enough man power and imagination to go forward. but then again, maybe the nucleus of knowlegable people who could invent stuff here is just not big enough to really produce something. I see it with my blog software – it is a great tool, but only has a limited amount of new functionality compared to something like wordpress.

    which is why new users are still drawn to which is where a circle begins.

    and i think that only can be broken by somebody with passion and without the want to control. and without too much ego involved.