Jesse Newland

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FeedBurner for the Paranoid

After all of the hubub this weekend about how FeedBurner is ‘trouble’ and ‘bad for us’, I wanted to make a quick note of a couple of ways to serve your feeds through FeedBurner in a way that makes it possible to easily and seamlessly bring your feeds back under your control at any time.

  1. Use FeedBurner’s MyBrand service (which is now free) to serve your feeds using a domain you own. This lets you serve your feeds with a URI of http://feeds.mysillyblog.com/mysillyfeed or the like. In the event Google ‘preferring’ Google Reader for feeds burned by FeedBurner (something I’m confident Google will never do), you’d just point feeds.mysillyblog.com back to a server you control, and in the blink of a TTL, your feeds are yours again. For details on implementing MyBrand, check out Danny Sullivan’s great guide: Stay Master of Your Feed Domain.
  2. Advertise your feed at a URL on your blog (http://mysillyblog.com/index.xml), then redirect users to FeedBurner with a 302 Found redirect. Straight from the HTTP specifications, this tells your browser or RSS reader:
    Since the redirection might be altered on occasion, the client SHOULD continue to use the Request-URI for future requests.

    Here’s a nice guide detailing how to properly redirect your feed to FeedBurner using a 302 Found response code. In this case, if Google / FeedBurner ever sins against you or your mother, your feeds can be instantly and seamlessly moved away from FeedBurner by removing this redirect.
  3. For the extra paranoid, combine methods 1 and 2!

I’m a huge fan of FeedBurner, and like Fred Wilson, don’t share the concerns of Dave Winer about FeedBurner’s future. At last count, I manage around 225 feeds in several FeedBurner accounts, and don’t ever plan on going back. But, if the need arises, I take comfort in knowing how easy is is to leave. To quote Fred’s post:

That gives me all the comfort in the world. I love it when services make it easy to leave. When they do that, I tend to stay.

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