Dear Google – I have a suggestion that I submit to you for your consideration.
It pertains to your excellent Feedburner service (particularly the email subscription element of it) which so many hundreds of thousands of bloggers (I’m taking a stab in the dark on that number, it could well be more) use to deliver our content to readers.
My observation of Feedburner is that it seems to have stalled a little in terms of it’s development of features and options for bloggers.
I know that you’ve done a major transition recently in integrating Feedburner into the Google fold and that this must have been a massive job – but I’d love to see you accelerate the development of this important service – most bloggers I know rely upon Feedburner to deliver our content to subscribers, it’s central to what we do so we’d love to see it be everything that it can be.
One of the areas I’d like to see improved is the service that allows us to deliver our RSS feed to readers via email. This is one of the most popular ways that my readers access my feed – it’s crucial to delivering my content to tens of thousands of readers every day.
One of the improvements that I’d like to see made is illustrated by an email that I received from a reader of my photography blog yesterday.
I would not really have taken a lot of notice of her suggestion except for the fact that she’s the 7th reader so far this month (it’s only 18th of June) to email me asking the same thing. Here’s what she asked me:
I really enjoy reading the DPS Daily Update emails, and I am quickly amassing a library of them in a saved Outlook email folder for future reference. Problem is, when I want to refer to my growing library of saved DPS emails, all of the subject lines are the same, and I do a lot of searching for the topic I’m looking for. While I could use my email search tool, I generally want to quickly scan the subject lines and see a description of what’s actually in the email.
I’ll save today’s email, because there’s a great tip on fixing keystone issues. How cool would it be to scroll down my list of saved emails and see…
“Digital Photography School – Daily Update: Photographing Industrial Deserts and Fixing Keystone Issues”
“Digital Photography School – Daily Update: Metering Modes and Batch Resize”
“Digital Photography School – Daily Update: Fluid Mask 3 and Smart Scaling”
Google – at the moment every email that I send to my subscribers using the RSS to email service that you offer (I have over 21,000 readers subscribing this way) gets the same subject line, every single day of the week/month/year/decade.
Here’s how it looks when I look at the folder that contains these updates:
As I say – this is not an isolated complaint – I get it it every 2-3 days. Readers are telling me that they unsubscribe because they don’t find the emails as useful as they could be.
Other RSS to Email solutions allow publishers to customize the emails that they send using tags (Aweber’s Blog Broadcast tool for example). I’d prefer to keep all my subscriptions where they are but am slowly getting to the point where I think I’ll be forced to move.
Another feature that other tools give is to change the frequency that these RSS to email subscriptions are delivered. You can have them delivered as posts are written, daily, when there’s X# of posts written, weekly, on a certain day of the month (you allow us to choose a time of day which is great – but how about going to the next step?).
They also give you the option to go in and manually edit emails before they’re sent so that you can add extra content just for subscribers of these emails as well as use different designs, templates and customizations to make your emails look more unique (you allow some color changes and adding a logo which is cool – but it’s still pretty limited).
All in all the product you’re offering looks pretty much the way it did a year or two back from the front end. Gone are the days when we used to see new announcements of features from Feedburner every few weeks. Yep – Feedburner works (for most of us) but where is the innovation that we used to see?
Perhaps I’m convincing myself to switch my list over to Aweber as I write this, but I guess I wanted to verbalize my suggestions before moving on. I hope that they help to improve what you’re offering your publishers.
Now that you’ve got your publishers all onto the Google feeds system I do hope that we’ll see the product taken up to the next level.