RSS to Email Series: Feedburner Email

RSS to Email SeriesI shall plunge on and continue with my RSS to Email series. Today I shall be reviewing on the all popular feed management service. Feedburner Email!

As mentioned in my Feedblitz review, Feedburner originally did not have its own RSS to Email service, and it was promoting Feedblitz all the while, until one fine day in April this year, Feedburner decided to launch its own Feedburner Email.

Again, I shall review Feedburner email based on the few areas I used in my previous review. Also, from what I know, Feedburner offers a lot more stuff than the RSS to Email service. In fact, the core business of Feedburner is not RSS to Email service, but really feed management, tracking, optimizing, publicising and monetizing. I will do my best to keep my review specific to Feedburner Email, the RSS to Email service.

  1. General usability of site
  2. Setting up your feed to be published and capturing subscribers
  3. Subscribing to feeds
  4. Managing subscribers
  5. Other features and upgrades
  6. Pricing

1. General Usability of the Site

Feedburner’s main page looks hyper task oriented. I mean, just take a look:

Feedburner main page

What do you see? What catches your eye? For me, I know that this is two things. Firstly, I’m at the Feedburner site. Secondly, its asking me to “burn” my feed. Simple and very user oriented. Powerful.

Menu and Navigation SystemThe management pages for each feed also features a very easy to understand navigation. On the top you have Analyze, Optimize, Publicize, Monetize, Troubleshootize – the five main things Feedburner do, and then when you click on each, the options or services to do that appear on the left.

Its also noted that the menu options do not only have the product feature names, but some also say also what it does. For example, BuzzBoost is tagged with “Republish Your Feeds as HTML”. I thought these are really helpful.

The Feedburner Email service is found at Publicize -> Email Subscriptions. Logical and simple to find.

One pretty irritating issue I’ve noted about Feedburner (and I don’t know if it only happens to me!) is that it keeps logging me out! So everytime I want to make one change to my settings, I have to log in again and again and again. ๐Ÿ˜• Does it happen to everybody or is it just me?

2. Setting up your feed to be published and capturing subscribers

Even for the total newbie, getting feeds published on Feedburner is a breeze. The main page (as showed above) makes it so easy to get started. All you have to do is to type in your blog or feed URL, and key in some details step by step – its literally “Point your feed here. We’ll do the rest“. ๐Ÿ™‚

Its worthwhile to note though, that RSS to Email service is not activated by default, and for people new to Feedburner, they might take some time to realise that that is actually an RSS to Email service in the first place. Well, at least I did realise it! :mrgreen:

Starting to capture subscribers is easy and to the point too! After heading on to Publicize -> Email Subscriptions, you get an option to use Feedburner, Feedblitz or Squeet to manage your RSS to Email service. Again, one decision at one time. Sweet.

Feedburner Email Subscription

After activating the service, the same page changed to give you two snippets of code – one for you to put up a form to capture subscribers, and another as a link to a form hosted by Feedburner.

Feedburner Subscribe

That’s it – that’s all you need to configure.

3. Subscribing to feeds

Once your form or link is up, your readers can subscribe to your feeds via email easily. The process requires the user to complete a CAPTCHA challenge and then further activate it using a link sent via email.

4. Managing subscribers

Feedburner does not have a very advanced subscriber management. What it provides is a simple list of subscribers (their email addresses), and options for your to deactivate, reactivate or delete the subscriber. Apart from that, it also allows you to download the list as an Excel or CSV file.

There isn’t any option to import subscribers. Also, each feed at Feedburner has their own list of subscribers, unrelated to each other, so it would be also difficult to remove a single email address from all your feeds at one go.

5. Other features and upgrades

There are no advanced features for Feedburner Email, and I think Feedburner has done this really to focus on making it a publisher service, as mentioned in their blog post during their launch:

Ours has a very specific focus that is different from some of the other offerings. FeedBurner Email is strictly a publisher service. There is no subscriber landing page at FeedBurner, no dashboard for subscribers to login to and manage their emails, and so on. Just easy-to-read, plain text or HTML email containing the latest posts. The messages that go out are largely “brandless,” by which we mean that a) the emails are delivered as “from” the publisher, not FeedBurner and b) there is no FeedBurner header and only a very light “delivered by” footer.

Feedburner’s upgrades are only for their advanced feed statistics – Total Stats Pro.

6. Pricing

Feedburner’s RSS to Email service is completely free! Since there are no advanced options for the service, there is no “pricing” to talk about! :mrgreen: In fact, everything in Feedburner is so free, except for Total Stats Pro, which is priced at:

  • $4.99/month for up to 3 feeds
  • $8.99/month for 4รขโ‚ฌโ€œ9 feeds
  • $15.99/month for 10 or more feeds

I guess Feedburner makes most of their money from their Feedburner Ads Network – RSS advertisements – and its by invitation only. What a wonderful strategy. :mrgreen:


I’m impressed by the simplicity of FeedBurner’s RSS to Email service. Its really just click and go! For the true blue blogger who really just wants to get his blog posts out via email, Feedburner Email is the way to go.

On the downside, for Internet marketers who would occasionally want to broadcast messages or do something fanciful, using Feedburner might prove to be quite restrictive since there are no options to do things like adjusting the delivery schedule, have an autoresponder system, or do a one off broadcast.

There are also no advanced options to adjust the layout and branding of the email sent out, so it might not be the best solution for some people too. The good thing is that the default emails sent out are really clean, not splattered with the word “Feedburner” everywhere – which makes it a pleasure to read.

Update: And this is really an important one! There are more free features (but I’d really have to admit they are pretty hard to find!)

After you activate your FeedBurner Email, you will find, on the configuration page, some really cool additional options for your RSS to email settings!

Feedburner Additional Options

You have Communication Preferences, Email Branding and Delivery Options.

In Communication Preferences, you can configure what email address the broadcast emails should appear to come from, and the subject line and text for the confirmation email.

Email branding allows you to configure actual broadcast email look and feel, and it allows you to specify a URL to your logo for branding.

Lastly, there is the delivery options, for you to select which time of the day the email will be sent out.

The best part of this – the whole options thing is super Web 2.0-ish! I love it when you specify the logo and then realise that the preview is ready the moment you cursor leaves the text box!

This calls for a re-conclusion!

Feedburner email really doesn’t lack the advanced features. Well! You can brand your email, you can customize your delivery time, and you can even configure your confirmation email text. I know of some email marketing software that doesn’t even allow it! :mrgreen:

I’d really have to say these options are tough to find. Perhaps they could reconsider the layout of their sub-options, or use a wizard interface? Now, I really understand the difficulty in developing the flow of web-apps. On one hand, you want the user to make one decision at a time. On the other, that would mean having to make more pages, which would in turn mean needing a menu.

Hmm… ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll leave this open for comments – would you prefer a one-page-does-all kind of interface, or a wizard style interface? I know of a service that pleases both – the Google Adsense ad customizing page!

(Plus, we now know that Feedburner has a really hardworking CTO, Eric Lunt! He really checks out the reviews written about Feedburner to make sure that they aren’t missing anything, and I think that is what every great Internet Savvy CTO should do! Check out Eric’s blog!)

Do you use Feedburner Email? Care to share your experience?

RSS to Email Series: Feedblitz

RSS to Email SeriesLet’s get rolling with the first review of the RSS to Email services!

Our first contestant…. Feedblitz!

We all know that Feedburner is one of the best feed management sites out there, and in October 2005, Feedburner started to partner with Feedblitz to help their publishers enable subscribers to receive content updates via email.

Feedburner later launched their own RSS to Email service just in April this year (but we’ll talk about that some other day)

So the point is, if one of the best websites out there wants to team up with you, you must be pretty good right? Let’s check out what Feedblitz offers.

For standardization’s sake, I shall do my reviews according to these few points

  1. General usability of site
  2. Setting up your feed to be published and capturing subscribers
  3. Subscribing to feeds
  4. Managing subscribers
  5. Other features and upgrades
  6. Pricing

Lets start.

1. General Usability of the Site


Here’s what the Feedblitz site looks like. Feedblitz just launched version 2 less than a month ago, accompanied by a revamp of the look and feel of the site.

Feedblitz MenuNavigation: I personally feel that the web navigation is pretty confusing. There are six buttons at the top, each with a drop down list of thing – and I felt that they could better phrase the menu titles. For example, instead of using “My Syndications”, they could use “My Blog Feeds”, or “My Feeds”, and I say this from experience, because there was really once (when I was still a newbie :mrgreen: to blogs) and I really wondered “WHAT is all the syndicating thing about?”

I would guess most of the features used by most of their users can be accomplished with the first button and its sub menus… so why not expand it and put the REST of the buttons under one button? :mrgreen: Hmmm… well, on a second thought maybe they have a private agenda for that. 8)

Also, I feel that they can improve on their use of graphics. Just as an example, what is your first thought when you see something like this?

Loading        Your subscription to “Blogopreneur” is confirmed.

Does that instinctively mean its loading? Would you wait for the thing to stop spinning? Well, in fact, the peeps in named it “loading_green.gif”, but the graphic continues to spin even after the page is fully loaded. Its kinda misleading.

So web usability wise… for a top grade site with PR8 and Alexa Ranking <10K, I feel that they can really afford to polish it up a little.

2. Setting up your feed to be published and capturing subscribers

So, setting up your feed to be published is termed “Add a New Syndication”.

Setting up seems pretty easy. Enter your feed address, any passwords, and hit “Publish Feed”. Wallah! Upon adding, it provides the codes to add to your page to capture subscribers.

Feedblitz Subscription

It also provides alternative means for subscription using a URL, which is great if you intend to send out emails asking people to subscribe…. and there is also code for you to add your feed chicklet to your website!

Nicely done!… and if you decide to revamp your blog template, you can always head back to My Account > My Syndications > View and Manage > Click your feed > Syndication Setup > HTML forms and Signup Code to get back to the same page.

3. Subscribing to Feeds

Once you put the code into your site, your readers can subscribe pretty easily. Enter email, enter a CAPTCHA challenge, and then a verification message will be sent to the subscriber.

It seems that you cannot use general email addresses like “info@…. ” or “support@….”. They say:

Generic addresses like info and sales are not permitted as they are often used by spammers, automated mailers or address harvesters. Please use a different address for your subscription.

And you can’t have your email like! This IS irritating because the email I use is exactly in that format!

Unfortunately, addresses used by spammers often have the text before the ‘@’ sign included in the text after the ‘@’ sign, like the one you just entered. Please use a different address.

Haha.. well… a bit too strict?

4. Managing subscribers

Subscribers lists can be managed by going to the My Account > My Subscribers > View and Manage. Feedblitz allows you download your subscriber lists as text or OPML files.

You can also import subscribers to your list by going to My Account > My Subscribers > Import

5. Other features and upgrades

Feedblitz seems to offer quite a lot of other free features, like autoresponders (have your entries emailed to your subscribers at predefined times), broadcasting a newsflash, pretty good statistics displayed in drill-down-able graphs, and customizing the sign-up email. All these can be found in the My Account > My Syndications > View and Manage page.

Feedblitz Features

Upgrade options are available. There is a Pro Plan which allows you to customize the emails sent out with your own branding, graphics, ads and layouts, and a Turbo Plan which allows you to change your syndication’s delivery schedule, so that you can choose to send more than one email a day.

There is a breakdown of the features supported with each plan here. From the breakdown, it seems like the Pro Plan is not a subset of the Turbo Plan :?, so do note.

6. Pricing

The Pro plan cost $4.95 per month and the Turbo plan is $9.95 per month. Each plan also comes with a “Plus” edition that allows you to upgrade all your syndications together. This price seems to be quite reasonable to me, but I’ve not compared it to other services, so I shall not comment too much ๐Ÿ™‚


I’m pretty amazed with the features supported for free by Feedblitz, especially the autoresponder features and the nice graphs, as well as the simplicity in process of getting your feed added and getting started with capturing subscribers.

I may have been a little overly critical in terms of web usability in this review, and perhaps with more experience and familiarity with the interface, doing things will be more intuitive, but I am really quite annoyed by the interface of the site.

Ken has also reviewed on Feedblitz in his blog just four months ago, so do check it out too. Note that Ken’s review was version 1, since version 2 came out only in October this year.

Would an experienced user like to comment and share your experience with Feedblitz?

RSS to Email Series: Why corporate blogs MUST provide RSS to Email services

RSS to Email SeriesWe all know that corporate blogging is going to bring massive change to the way corporations talk to their customers, and whenever there is change, there will be resistance.

So how do we minimize that resistance? How do we get corporations to get into blogging mood?

To get companies to start blogging, it is important that we first “speak their language”… and I say this not in the sense of really using the terms that they use (even though this is important too), but in terms of using the technology they use.

So lets talk about today’s “corporations” information dissemination technology

… and no, I don’t mean high-tech corporations like Intel or Google, I mean those regular firms you see on the streets.

Tell me. What is the PRIMARY COMPUTER-MEDIATED TECHNOLOGY used for communications by corporations today? How does your boss send you assignments and instructions to work on?

The answer? Email. (oops! no prizes for that though :mrgreen:)

Email has been around and in use for years. It came with the Internet! Most people who are regularly in touch with the Internet have at least one email address (and some like me have tens of addresses, each for a different purpose!) Over the years, email has evolved to be one of the main ways of communicate in corporations.

Compare this to RSS. According to the history of RSS at, RSS was really created only in 1997 by Netscape, to distribute news using XML.

I guess at least three quarters of the Internet population does not know what XML or RSS is! I’ve studied IT since 1998 and I didn’t know what RSS is until January this year!

So what are the implications?

Bringing this back to selling the idea of corporate blogging, how do you think a not-so-Internet savvy CEO would feel if you told him this:

Yes, you should start a corporate blog! It helps you get in touch with your customers. When you update your blog, your RSS feeds get updated, and then when your readers log in to their RSS readers, they can see the updates and they will stroll right back to your blog to read the whole story and drop comments!

Duh! WHAT are you talking about?

Try this instead.

Yes, you should start a corporate blog! It helps you get in touch with your customers. When you update your blog, the updates gets emailed directly to your customers email inbox, and when they check their mail and find the updates, they will stroll right back to your blog to read the whole story and drop comments!

How does that sound? Better?

My point here is this. People don’t like to change. The majority of the Internet population WILL NOT start using RSS readers overnight. I can’t say it won’t forever, but I’m saying it will take time for people to adopt new technology.

So do you have a corporate blog or planning to start one? Remember, your customers may not know what RSS is, so be sure to either use an RSS to Email service as an alternative!

Update: Two updates actually. Kate just gave a real live example of Email versus RSS. Serving your content in email is the way your readers want it!

RSS feeds explanationSecondly, if you really just want to provide feeds, at least, you should have a “What’s this” link to explain what RSS is, like what most of the KnowMoreMedia blogs do. That said, I’d better get mine up too! :mrgreen:

Follow this series of posts in the coming few days, as I review some of the most widely used services out there, to find out which suits you best!

The RSS to Email Series

You might have noticed from my sidebar that my blog has feeds, but I have not created an email subscription for the feeds!

I did that on purpose, because I really see potential in effective use of an RSS to Email services, especially in the role of corporate blogging. So, let me launch my first series of posts – the RSS to Email Series!

I’ve even created a cute logo for this :mrgreen: So motivated to create logos after receiving positive feedback for that dabble in photoshop for the Fortune 500 blog project logo

RSS to Email Series

Actually I have long planned for this, but my other posts have been keeping me busy. Anyway, this series of posts will focus on the use and review of RSS to Email services, both for corporate blogging, as well as for individuals wanting to make a living from the Internet.

One of the main reasons why I am doing is, is also because I’m pretty confused with so many similar services provided on the net… which is best? Well, there may not be a ‘best’, but what does each service offer? I’m raring to find out!

Heh… and of course, the ‘winner’ will get the in my sidebar, and will be serving you my feeds. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, subscribe to my feeds if you haven’t, and you can check everyday when you finally can get these feeds in your email! ๐Ÿ˜›