Short answer: Yes for RSS feeds, no for email
Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, Web publishers.
I‘ve been bloging since May 2001. I don’t remember when I set up my first FeedBurner account, but it was probably not long after it opened in February 2004 — and well before Google bought it. FeedBurner provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters and other web-based content publishers.
Back in the day, FeedBurner was the heaven-sent answer to setting up RSS feeds. Today, creating an RSS feed is still important, but every blogging platform worth its salt has RSS feeds baked in.
Where FeedBurner went wrong, in my view, was in its offer to capture email addresses for your nonprofit or business and send updates whenever you published a new blog post.
What many, or perhaps most, organizations didn’t realize in the bargain was this: FeedBurner captured all of those email addresses — but your organization didn’t.
This became apparent to us here at Socialbrite when we began to take a hard look at our email list. Why, surely we would be able to build on top of the 3,615 people who have subscribed to our email updates since 2009, right?
Since its purchase by Google in 2007 for $100 million, FeedBurner has disappeared into a black hole. There is no support staff — this, from a company that made $10.6 billion in earnings in its most recent three-month period. Development has basically been non-existent for several years. If you have a question, you’re supposed to post it to a Google Apps forum — but even there, more likely than not, no one will answer you.
So, in the next couple of days, we’ll be scrapping our “Subscribe by email” entreaty to you fine readers over there in the right sidebar, because we have no way of communicating with the 3,615 people who have done just that.
If you’re in the same boat, take a look at the email newsletter offerings from MailChimp, VerticalResponse, Constant Contact, Emma and other services, or at full-fledged campaign and community outreach services like Salsa, NationBuilder or Advocate Interactive.
Agree? Disagree? What’s been your experience? Let me have it in the comments below.
Update #1: I’m happy to hear that I’m wrong. We’ve been trying to find out how to do this for months, and no one from FeedBurner has ever replied. So, how do you view and export the addresses of your subscribers? Happy to update our post detailing how this is done. Here is all we see when we try to Export our subscriber list (SingleFeedStats) as either a CSV or in Excel:
Update #2: David Lee King provided this guide on where to find your FeedBurner email subscribers. Never would have discovered this in the FeedBurner dashboard on my own (thanks David!):
• click Publicize
• click email subscriptions
• click subscription management
• scroll down, click View Subscriber Details on the subscription management page
• click Export CSV
• Column A of the CSV gives you all the email addresses.
What’s interesting is that this means we have 1,562 people who subscribe to updates by email (and receive automated blog post updates from us) and 2,053 who subscribe to content updates via RSS. Here’s the screenshot of this page on FeedBurner:
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