The Perfect Way to Use Feedburner Without Giving Them Your Subscribers?

Feedburner Hack

Do you worry about the danger of giving a 3rd party service control over the most important part of your blogging business – your subscribers?

Up until today there were only 2 realistic alternatives to retain some control over your RSS subscribers while using Feedburner for collecting stats.

  • Redirect Plugins – Such as the Feedburner Redirect Plugin from Ordered List
  • – this isn’t a perfect solution because the autodiscovery seems to always resolve before the feed is actually added, which results in a proportion of your sunscribers still subscribed to the Feedburner URL

  • Feedburner MyBrand – This is a “pro” feature of Feedburner, and allows you to have Feedburner feeds on a subdomain, such as feeds.yourdomain.com
  • – this is also not perfect, because that is a subdomain – I haven’t seen a site do anything to create an additional redirect to the subdomain to truly keep it on the same domain, but I am sure something should be possible – it also isn’t free – great for profitable blogs, not so great for lots of niche sites

Now there is an alternative, and it is pretty damn smart…

Feedburner Feeds Stats Hack

Mark has come up with an ingenious little hack to use Feedburner stats on his own feeds with a small patch to one of the WordPress core files.

I haven’t personally tested it yet, but I think Mark shows sufficient proof that it does work.

I am not sure how this works with click tracking, feed flares etc, or the best way to use this for email subscriptions. Also the feedburner feed is still there, and that is desirable for anyone migrating from one method to another. On a fresh site maybe you could make the Feedburner feed private so that you are the only one that accesses it.
You would also have to make sure that Feedburner is fetching a feed that is different to the one that is provided to your subscribers, otherwise you end up with a closed loop.

One major benefit of using Feedburner is that their uptime is very impressive, and they are using their bandwidth to serve your RSS. For many publishers that is quite a significant bandwidth saving.

Hopefully Mark will turn this into a plugin to make it easier to use, especially with the more frequent updates to WordPress these days

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the mention andy ;-) I’ll link back shortly ;-)

    The CTO from feedburner stopped by and said the trick won’t provide accurate results.

    I’m a bit confused on their reasoning, but the point is there is more debate to be had on this in the original thread, and the fact that the the CTO commented makes me think we are on to something

    Thanks again.

  2. says

    So this plugin would be a win win situation for both feedburner and me. I still get my stattistics while using much less bandwith? Am I reading this corretly?

  3. says

    Using this technique you would use more bandwidth.

    I don’t fully understand the technical issues on the reporting, but then there might be a work around.

    As an example I am not sure how the various desktop readers resolve the current feedburner redirect plugin.

    Maybe there is a way to handle different requests in different ways, so you pass the destop clients through to the feedburner site. They are currently a small fraction of subscribers.

    The other alternative is to in some way count the requests yourself, cache them for desktop readers, and report to feedburner yourself in the same way as the readers would.

  4. says

    Andy and Your Readers,

    I added a creative commons license to the code so feel free to modify it or come up with your own creations. Or a completely new take on it too.

    The idea is there, just needs some refinement now.

  5. says

    Andy when I said about bandwidth, I thought it would be possible, after following Mark’s steps. To direct the origianl feed to let say a xml file that contains only one post and does not change. I am not sure if that would actually save bandwidth, but for example in my blog I have output of 20 recent posts. Sorry if I created confusion with my comment.

  6. says

    Currently feed readers are using Feedburner’s bandwidth, even using the plugin from ordered list

    Using Marks code he is using curl to create a snapshot of the feed on Feedburner each time it is requested, and then that whole page is served from your server.

    I don’t know how much additional load that would make on a server, plus currently there is the problem of the desktop readers, which might increase.

    I think the biggest potential for this method would be if WordPress.com users wanted something like this to be included as an option on their feeds, because currently they have no way to redirect the autodiscovery feed.