How to leave FeedBurner [in-depth audio] – TAP097

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How to leave FeedBurner How to leave FeedBurner [in depth audio]   TAP097 UPDATE: FeedBurner stats are working again as of Monday evening, September 24, 2012. Bloggers and podcasters are panicing that Google could be shutting down FeedBurner. I don’t believe that will happen, but these steps will explain how you can move anyway. You may want to change your feed so it uses your domain, but still filters through FeedBurner. Or you may want to completely abandon FeedBurner. The following information will help you in either case. These podcast shownotes are long and in-depth, so buckle up!

Quick overview of my recommended process

  1. Change your public feed URL wherever it is.
  2. Plan ahead and notify your subscribers for at least a month.
  3. Use PowerPress’s iTunes and Feed settings and turn off FeedBurner’s SmartCast feature.
  4. Export your FeedBurner feed’s email subscribers and import them into a service like MailChimp.
  5. Activate the “new-feed-url” tag in PowerPress.
  6. Wait a couple weeks and delete your FeedBurner feed and use their 30-day redirection.
  7. Wait 15 days and re-open the same FeedBurner feed and delete it again for two more weeks of redirection. Then re-open it again.
  8. Leave the original FeedBurner feed operational and using your new feed as its source.

If this is all too complicated, I’m available to do this all for you for $200 per feed with quantity discounts. Email Daniel@DJosephDesign.com or call (859) 353-4332 if you’re interested. I’ll have an official request form available soon.

Is FeedBurner shutting down?

As of September 24, 2012, Google has not announced that FeedBurner will shut down. But the following events will give you pause.

FeedBurner alternatives like FeedBlitz jump all over things like this, trying to get people to switch to their service. FeedBlitz looks good, but may still be unnecessary going forward.

What if FeedBurner does shut down?

Again, I don’t think FeedBurner will shut down. But if they do, they’ll probably offer options similar to the “delete feed” feature I describe below. The worst case is that your feed will disappear and you’ll lose any subscribers who were subscribed to it.

Change your public feed URLs

Whatever your new RSS address will be, it needs to be the public URL everywhere your old FeedBurner URL was. This would be on your site, in podcast directories (I’ll explain iTunes below), and anywhere else you link to it. Make sure you stop publicizing your old URL whereverit is, even if you have to edit old posts!

Plan ahead and notify your subscribers

Some of these methods will work seamlessly, but others could break subscriptions for some of your subscribers. Because of this potential doom, start telling your subscribers that you’ll be changing RSS feeds and that if they’re using anything other than iTunes, they may want to resubscribe to your new feed. Make sure you do this several times for weeks in advance. If a subscriber is using a system that doesn’t seamlessly update their subscription to your new feed URL, then they’ll at least know to watch for it and what they should do to continue receiving updates.

How to migrate your podcast settings

If you host a podcast, then the first thing you want to do is get your podcast setting right. I already recommend using PowerPress to configure your RSS feed instead of FeedBurner’s SmartCast. And this will be crucial for moving away from FeedBurner.

  1. Login to FeedBurner and open your podcast feed (only one at a time).
  2. Go to Optimize > SmartCast.
  3. Open a new tab/window and login to your WordPress site.
  4. Go to PowerPress settings > iTunes.
  5. Copy all the information from the Feedburner fields to the PowerPress fields.
  6. Copy any other FeedBurner information into PowerPress settings > Feeds.
  7. Save your PowerPress settings.
  8. Deactivate FeedBurner’s SmartCast feature.

Now, all your podcast information—like category, keywords, cover art, etc.—will come from your WordPress site instead of FeedBurner’s. Congratulations! You now have more control over your podcast settings and access to advanced features that have been around for years but FeedBurner never supported!

How to migrate your email subscribers

One of FeedBurner’s still handy and automated features is Email Subscriptions, which sends new content at a preselected time every day there’s something new. These are the easiest subscribers to migrate because you have their exact information—their email addresses.

  1. Log in to FeedBurner and open your feed (only one at a time).
  2. Go to Publicize > Email Subscriptions.
  3. Click “View Subscriber Details” at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click “Export CSV.”
  5. Open a free MailChimp account or use another email newsletter service.
  6. Login to your email service and follow their instructions for importing your CSV from FeedBurner.
  7. Follow your email service’s instructions for setting up a manual or automatic RSS-powered email newsletter.

How to migrate your RSS subscribers

Moving away from FeedBurner is risky because you could lose some RSS subscribers. The only way to prevent that entirely is if your public feed has always an only been a URL that you control. This could be on your domain as a WordPress feed (like theaudacitytopodcast.com/feed/) or FeedBurner’s free MyBrand feature (which would result in something like feeds.noodle.mx/). But let’s assume you’re not setup either of those ways.

What are 301 redirects?

Just like when you change addresses and notify the Post Office to forward your mail, we need to do the same thing on the Internet. When somethings moves from one URL to another, there are different ways to redirect visitors who have the old URL:

  • A 307 redirect is temporary. Requests for that URL (such as a download, a click on a link, or typing the URL in a browser) will be seamlessly redirected to a temporary URL. Nothing changes on the visitor’s system or software.
  • A 301 redirect is permanent. Requests for that URL (such as a download, a click on a link, or typing the URL in a browser) will be seamlessly redirected to a new, permanent URL. Many systems and software will see the redirect and appropriately update the address that they look for.

Most podcast and blog subscription apps and sites will recognize a 301 redirect and stop checking your old feed URL and switch to checking your new feed URL. But a 301 redirect is only good while it exists on the original URL. If you tell your local Post Office to forward your mail for just a day, anything after that one day will still go to your old address. Tell your Post Office to forward for a year, and that gives plenty of time for changing your address everywhere people have it. If you have a 301 redirect for just a couple weeks, then anyone who tries to visit the old URL after those couple weeks will hit a dead end. Learn more about 301 redirects for podcasts from PodcastFAQ.com.

Redirect iTunes and subscribers

iTunes is a smart podcast client. If you implement a 301 redirect, iTunes will figure out what you intend and will update for future use. But there’s another feature you’ll want to start right away before you try a 301 redirect. Assuming you now have power and full control over your podcast RSS settings (by using PowerPress instead of SmartCast), follow these steps.

  1. Log in to your WordPress site.
  2. Go to PowerPress settings > iTunes.
  3. Click “Set iTunes New Feed URL.”
  4. Enter your new podcast feed URL in the empty field.
  5. Click “Save Changes.”

This will tell iTunes subscribers and the iTunes store to switch to your new RSS feed. Your subscribers won’t notice it and nothing will break. This must be done on the source feed that FeedBurner uses. Even if you use FeedBurner’s SmartCast feature, the “new-feed-url” tag will pass through from PowerPress to your subscribers.

Delete your FeedBurner feed to implement a 301 redirect

The only way to set a 301 redirect on your FeedBurner feed is to delete your feed from FeedBurner. This is drastic, but here’s what FeedBurner says will happen:

As a courtesy, FeedBurner offers publishers who delete a FeedBurner feed 30 days of complimentary traffic redirection. During the first 15 days of this 30 day period, subscriber requests for: [YOUR FEEDBURNER FEED] will be redirected to your original source feed: [YOUR SOURCE FEED] During days 16-30, this feed consists of a single content item that reads “This feed is no longer active. A new feed is located at [YOUR SOURCE FEED].” After day 30, your feed will be permanently deleted and return an HTTP 404 (feed not found) message. You can use this period to notify your subscribers of the change so they can update their feed readers with your original address.

This 301 redirect is great, but I think 15 days is much too short and it should at least 90 days.

  1. Wait a couple weeks after implementing “new-feed-url.”
  2. Log in to FeedBurner and open your feed (only one at a time).
  3. Click “Edit Feed Details…” and ensure your “Original Feed” is your new RSS address, then click “Save Feed Details” if you changed anything.
  4. Click “Delete Feed…” near the top.
  5. Checkmark “Use 30 day redirection.”
  6. Click “Delete Feed.”
  7. You’re not finished yet! Read on for important options.

The feed will now implement a 301 redirect for 15 days. During this time, most podcast and RSS clients will automatically update and start checking your new feed URL. You now have two options.

  • Let the FeedBurner message show for days 16–30 and then let the feed die.
  • Recommended: restart the FeedBurner feed after 15 or 30 days.

Restarting your FeedBurner feed will allow you to delete it again and thus implement another 15 days of a 301 redirect, or your can monitor the subscription numbers to see how many subscribers were not redirected.

  1. Wait either 15 days or the full 30 days (to let the “feed moved” message post for two weeks).
  2. Permanently delete the feed.
  3. Restart it with the same FeedBurner URL.
  4. Repeat the previous steps 1–5 above to delete the feed and implement another 15-day redirect,
  5. Repeat this for 30–90 days of solid 301 redirects (split up into 15-day segments).
  6. Re-open the feed one last time and leave it alive to watch for subscription numbers, client software, and make sure that any stragglers still get your content.

What you need to know about subscriber stats

RSS subscriber stats are not accurate! It’s helpful to see a general trend for subscription numbers, but the nature of RSS stats means it doesn’t reflect your true number of listeners.

  • RSS stats won’t account for website visitors who click play on the page.
  • RSS stats count only how many clients check the feed on one day.
  • RSS stats don’t account for the overlap between days. You may see 100 subscribers each day, but that be 100–200 total subscribers who update on separate days.

Media stats and website stats are far more accurate and reliable. But I do still see a place for RSS subscriber stats, but I don’t think they’re as important. Learn more about podcast, website, and RSS stats.

Other settings

FeedBurner does present extra control over your feed to override information like the title or image. But anything like this that FeedBurner does can also be done within WordPress. The most-requested feature is the ability to change the podcast title. This is easy with PowerPress.

  1. Activate Custom Podcast Channels.
  2. Go to PowerPress Podcast Channels.
  3. Edit your default channel.
  4. Adjust the podcast title to your preference.
  5. Leave other fields blank to be set by PowerPress’s overall settings.

I will switch to MyBrand and protect my feeds

So what do I plan to do with all of my podcast and RSS feeds inside of FeedBurner? I’ll follow these same steps, but with the goal of changing RSS feeds to FeedBurner’s MyBrand feature. This allows me to set “feeds.noodle.mx/[FEED_NAME]” just like I would with “feeds.feedburner.com/[FEED_NAME].” I’ll set this MyBrand feature to point to new feeds inside of FeedBurner so I can monitor the transferred subscribers. Ultimately, this means my subscribers will be using “feeds.noodle.mx/[FEED_NAME],” which will allow me to seamlessly redirect it to anything else if FeedBurner ever does shut down.

If your head exploded or may explode, I can help!

I presented all of this information in such detail to give you the tools you need to take control of your RSS feed. But I totally understand if this is all over your head! If you want to move away from FeedBurner but don’t want to go through this mess, please contact me and I can do this all for you at $200 per feed (quantity discounts available). Email Daniel@DJosephDesign.com, call (859) 353-4332, or use my coming request form. 100 podcasting tips

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 How to leave FeedBurner [in depth audio]   TAP097

As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and succeeding in business. Daniel designs websites; offers one-on-one consulting; speaks on technology, social media, and theology; and Daniel hosts a network of award-nominated shows covering how to podcast and use Audacity, clean-comedy, and the #1 unofficial podcasts for ABC’s hit dramas Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

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  • davedufour

    Feedburner doesn’t allow re-opening the feed, after it’s deleted. I deleted a feed for a faded podcast yesterday. When you say “reopen” are you really saying “re-create?”

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Yes. My bad. I did mean to recreate the feed.

  • Robert Williams

    ok, that was super incredible thanks for the help. I am trying to switch from “podomatic” to powerpress to publish podcast, how can I change feed url from podomatic to powerpress? is it the same as copying feed link from podomatic into powerpress and iTunes will do the rest? (i already have episodes posted in powerpress)

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Thanks for listening!

      What feed URL are people subscribed to?

  • joeldueck

    I looked into FeedBlitz for awhile this morning. Not only are they a lot flakier (UX-wise) and a lot less user-friendly than Feedburner, they also appear to have zero (0) features aimed at podcasters. The word “podcast” doesn’t appear anywhere in their knowledge base search results, nor does the word “enclosure.” They don’t appear to mention podcasters anywhere on their blog. There doesn’t seem to be any enclosure autodetection or iTunes-friendly feeds or anything like that.

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Yes. But then again, I don’t think podcasters who have their own WordPress websites should use FeedBurner’s podcasting features anyway. I much prefer the PowerPress settings to FeedBurner’s SmartCast.

      • joeldueck

        For sure, but I’m using Textpattern, which ordinarily I like far better than WP but this may be one area where WP has it beat thanks to the plugin. I’ve been relying on Feedburner to create my media enclosures and now that I’m contemplating a migration, it looks like my best options are either to use a new libsyn feed (and double-enter show notes both there and on my podcast’s TXP site) or roll my own RSS feed. I just thought people who don’t have access to PowerPress should know that Feedblitz is not a one-for-one replacement of Feedburner.

        • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

          Thanks for checking on that!

  • joeldueck

    I’ll be making some changes to my podcast and its website partly with the help of this podcast episode. Interestingly for me, I also get to switch servers and websites at around the same time! I’ll be using the CNAME method described by Daniel. In case it helps or anyone wants to poke at it, here’s the migration plan: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9SDJ22NRBkrdFVIZXpvNVFXVHM

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Joel, that is awesome! I need some time to thoroughly examine that.

  • http://twitter.com/illinimatt81 Matt Johnson

    I’ve got everything setup in my BluBrry PowerPress on my self-hosted WordPress Blog and output to my own self-hosted feed: http://runneracademy.com/category/podcast/feed

    Because I didn’t know what I was doing when I started I sent the above feed into Feedburner and it is at http://feeds.feedburner.com/RunnerAcademyPodcast I believe this is redundant.

    Problem is now I have 10,000s of listeners and in many apps. Seems I could just delete the Feedburner Feed and then publish an episode so all the apps get the 301 back to my original feed and problem solved to move away if it comes down to it?

    If Feedburner is discontinued I would imagine they would offer longer than a 30 day 301 redirect.

    Anyways, I think I am set if I decide to pull the plug on Feedburner unless I am missing something?

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      If you want to migrate those subscribers away from your FeedBurner URL, follow my instructions above.

      I don’t recommend a “we’ve moved” post or episode. Just activate that 15-day 301 redirect several times for a while. After 60–90 days, leave the feed operating normally in FeedBurner to continue feeding content to the apps that won’t update.

      Yes, I hope Google would do at least a 90-day redirect, if not a permanent one. Really, it wouldn’t be hard for them to shut down and maintain a tiny server to turn all FeedBurner URLs into 301 redirects.

      • http://www.therunninghq.com/ Matt Johnson

        There are a number of apps out there that actually draw off of iTunes for their own directories (DoggCatcher is one). I e-mailed them and they said it will auto update when iTunes does. Others I am e-mailing to manually change where possible. Stitcher radio did it for me in minutes.

        I guess my biggest concern is new subscribers finding my “dead” feed from Feedburner and not my new feed or even duplicate listings. I’m going to do the legwork of contacting all I can that are showing up in my useragent data from Libsyn.

        I’m following your plan otherwise.

        • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

          Thanks for the update! It sounds like DoggCatcher just confirmed that their directory listing will update with iTunes. But we still need to know whether subscribers with their app will be permanently moved to the new URL with a temporary 301 redirect (as redundant as that sounds), or if the 301 must be in place for forever for your DoggCatcher subscribers to continue receiving your new feed.

          I need to get all of these popular apps and run some tests.

          • http://www.therunninghq.com/ Matt Johnson

            I’m getting interesting feedback as I reach out to podcast apps. Pocket Casts by Shifty Jelly confirmed for me they look for the iTunes new feed URL tag. Since I put that in my feed they noted that. Same goes for Double Twist. I bet other apps do the same when looking at the feed for RSS information. This is a good thing. Still, there are some that probably don’t where the 301 redirect is key.

            I like your idea of restarting the feed and 301 redirecting several times then just leaving it open indefinitely. If Google ever kills Feedburner and offers longer 301 redirects later then all the better. Covered in all ways as you have already moved and stragglers still covered. If not and the unthinkable happens, no damage done.

            My one question is how can you verify that iTunes has in fact updated to the new RSS feed.

          • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

            I hate to be anal about this but I still question the language. They can say a 301 redirect appropriate updates, but does that mean your listing in their directory is updated, everyone subscribed to your feed gets updated, or does the 301 have to stay in place permanently?

            ALL podcast programs will properly redirect for a 301, but whether they update their subscription URLs is the real issue.

  • http://gaplauche.com/ Geoffrey Allan Plauché

    Hi Daniel. Thanks for this detailed podcast/blogpost.

    I’m going to try the Feedburner MyBrand option on a new website I’m setting up for someone.

    One thing I’m curious about, however, is how you’d go about redirecting the feeds.mydomain.com url to another one if Feedburner does get the axe. What would you redirect it to? To your original mydomain.com/feed/ url that you had been burning with Feedburner? What would you put in the DNS records for that? Or would you delete the DNS CNAME record then create an actual subdomain feeds.mydomain.com and set it to do a 301 or 307 redirect?

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      If you used MyBrand and FeedBurner goes away, I would delete the CNAME and probably place a 307 redirect on the subdomain, or else do some magic with my .htaccess file.

  • http://digitalscrapbookinghq.com/ Melissa Shanhun

    Ok so I’ve now for a notice that adsense for feeds is going away… Feedburner will have no income then, so I don’t know how long it will survive…

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      The end of Adsense for Feeds really surprised me and may be the worst news for FeedBurner yet! Bloggers and podcasters can still use more powerful plugins to add Adsense to their feeds. But this is how Google monetized FeedBurner!

      Maybe they have something bigger planned.

      • http://digitalscrapbookinghq.com/ Melissa Shanhun

        That’s what worries me! lol Should I be jumping ship?

        • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

          My recommendation is yes, leave FeedBurner now while you have the time and power to do it effectively. Even if you run your feeds through MyBrand, which is what I’m starting to do, you’ll still have full control if FeedBurner ever does shut down.

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  • Robert

    Daniel,

    I may be mistaken, but it appears that the quality of your podcast audio seems to have changed – well improved actually – going from 096 to 097. Was it a setting in your hardware configuration you changed or did you change your workflow?

    I tend to listen with headphones on and the change is particularly prevalent when going into a silent part – e.g. at the end of a sentence – a sort of distortion.

    Would be interested to find out what you changed.

    Regards

    –Robert

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Either I tweaked my Behringer MDX4600 compressor/limiter/gate, or that was the time I stopped live-streaming to TechPodcasts (although I’m still a member). When I stopped streaming to them, my CPU demands went down, which meant my fan noise decreased and thus reduced background noise that you may be hearing.

      But my last dual-streamed episode was 94. So I’m not sure what this difference you’re hearing was. I’ll try to listen and figure it out.

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  • Robert Williams

    ok, so I have a website that was initially installed on a subdirectory and since moved it to just the index folder. I have powerpress installed on both sites. Do I just set the old sites feed url to the new sites feed url provided by the new sites powerpress plugin? how do I set up 301 redirect for that? thanks and hope this is not too confusing. Daniel thanks for being such a huge help to podcasting

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      Make a .htaccess file in that old subdomain with nothing but the following (if you don’t need that subdomain’s site anymore). Replace all-caps (except “HTTP_HOST”) with your relevance information.

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^subdomain.yoursite.com$ [NC]
      RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yoursite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

      This will directly forward subdomain.yoursite.com/anything to yoursite.com/anything. So all subpages and URLs would be forwarded. This would also take care of subdomain.yoursite.com/feed/podcast/ pointing to yoursite.com/feed/podcast/.

      • Robert Williams

        wow thank you, thats it? how long do I keep this subdirectory (not subdomain – my bad if I conveyed that) up? Also, the old site does not run on or have a subdomain should I still write the .htaccess file the same way?
        (the new site runs in the index folder (both are wordpress sites)).

        again I am infinitely grateful for your help I know you are busy

        • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

          I recommend that you keep the redirect in place indefinitely, unless you’re really new and know there aren’t any links to your old address anywhere on the web.

  • Kiki

    Thank you so much for this post b/c I am trying to take more control of my feed and am not a technical person. I have a question though…when setting up PowerPress, the feed that is generated seems to be a lot of HTML text instead of what I am used to seeing on the Feedburner feed site. How are listeners able to subscribe from that feed? Or do I have it set up incorrectly?

    • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

      What’s the feed URL you’re looking at?

      If you’re on PowerPress 5.0 or later, you can now enabled Feed Item Maximizer on your podcast-only feed (/feed/podcast). I do recommend this, and it will remove some of the extra HTML stuff that is being carried over from your posts.

      But depending on what HTML you’re seeing, you may have something configured incorrectly, or using the wrong URL.

      • Kiki

        I have several feed URLs as I have multiple podcasts that I produce and post by using categories. When I removed SmartCast all of the info disappeared from iTunes even though I had added all of this info to powerpress. I have since added everything back to FeedBurner and reactivated Feedburner so my main podcast network URL is back to feeds.feedburner.com/sistahspeakpodcastnetwork.

        • http://DanielJLewis.net/about Daniel J. Lewis

          Something clearly went wrong. Either something was still being cached, FeedBurner didn’t properly refresh, or FeedBurner wasn’t pulling from the feed URLs that your category podcasting generated.
          Faithfully,

          Daniel J. Lewis