Google Reader Being Shut Down. What Does This Mean For Blog Marketing?

Like a lot of people, I was actually fairly surprised to hear that Google will be killing off Google Reader on July 1st. A lot of people depend on it – as do I. So, it will definitely be a change in my workflow.

But, what does this mean in the bigger picture?

For one, it is only a matter of time before they kill Feedburner. This is a move which I predicted awhile ago when they announced killing Adsense for Feeds. By shutting down the only way Google made any money off RSS, it basically means it is only a matter of time.

Now, shutting down Google Reader all but guarantees it.

Mark my words – Feedburner will go away. Google wants out of the RSS business. For some damn reason.

What will the death of Feedburner mean to all of us?

  • Anybody who is using Feedburner for RSS feeds will obviously need to ditch it and revert back to their domain-based RSS.
  • Podcasters who have their feeds powered by Feedburner will be SOL unless they go update their feeds, especially in iTunes.
  • Anybody who was trying to cheap out by using Feedburner’s RSS-to-email option will suddenly find that list disappearing. I’ve warned people forever not to build a list on Feedburner, but it doesn’t keep many from doing it.

So, my recommendations are:

  1. Switch your RSS feed link on your blog to your own built-in RSS feed (using your domain) rather than routing it through Feedburner. With Wordpress, this is simply WWW.YOURDOMAIN.COM/FEED/. Nice and easy.
  2. If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been using Feedburner, you need to go edit all your listings to use a different feed URL. For more info on how to change your feed URL in iTunes, click here.
  3. For RSS-to-email, you need to go with another provider. Of course, my strong recommendation is Aweber. They have a powerful “blog broadcast” function, but they also give you the ability to communicate to your subscribers outside of regular blog posts. Mailchimp also does it. Plus, FeedBlitz is more of a head-to-head replacement for Feedburner email.

Obviously, you will also need to notify your readers – perhaps several times – that you’re making these changes. Otherwise you might risk leaving some people dead in the water.

Now, in terms of Google Reader itself, it will likely also have an impact on our readership. If you have people regular reading your content via Google Reader, they’re going to need to start using something else. This depends a lot on your niche, however. Most of the world has no idea what RSS even is, so unless you’re addressing a very blog-oriented crowd with your blog, you’re probably not going to see much of a traffic change.

If you want to migrate to something similar, check out Feedly. It has a nice interface, and syncs on multiple platforms. Plus, you can bring your stuff over from Reader automatically.

Many are now depending more on Twitter and Facebook for their news and post discovery now-days. One of Twitter’s major selling points is the ability to discover what’s happening in almost real-time. Of course, it takes more time to set up Twitter to be useful in this regard, but once it is done, it works well. Many will probably find Twitter to be an alternative, albiet in a different way.

A lot of cool RSS-based apps are going to have to change, too. Apps like Reeder and Flipboard are going to need to stop relying on Google Reader as a major way to get feeds.

Losing Google Reader is going to have an impact. Personally, I think it is stupid for Google to drop it, but whatever. It just goes to show the risks of depending on any one company for too many things.

But, for most bloggers, I think the bigger deal is what this means for Feedburner. It’s days are numbered.

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Responses

  1. hello! I totally agree feedburner is going out of business next.
    Feedly… I like it and it may save the day when google reader is not around anymore, but… i think i lacks something… hope there’s gonna be more rss reader coming out soon
    best regards

  2. I was disappointed when I first heard about Google reader, but then I started to think that maybe it’s a good move for Google. As much as I love feedburner, it might be a good move for them to give that up too.

    It’s quite simple – Focus. If they are trying to do EVERYTHING they will be really good at Nothing. I think they are making a HUGE bet on Social and Mobile. Although RSS is great, it hasn’t been their focus. So they have 2 choices – divert some of their energy to RSS or take the energy they were “focusing” on RSS and divert it to their main focus.

    With the first option, you end up with a bunch of half baked products and services. With the second, you take a bigger risk, but the reward is potentially much bigger. So as much as it may suck for those of use that depend on G Reader and Feedburner, I think it’s a good business decision on their part.

    Any yes, in my opinion, it DOES emphasize the need to have more control of your own business. Owning your feed, etc. I’m using feedblitz right now for Become A Blogger, but I’m exploring more self-owned methods right now for my biology blog.

    1. Yeah, I totally get that. But, seeing as Google Reader hadn’t really changed in a long time, I can’t help but wonder how much energy it actually took to keep going. And, it seems to me that there is some definite marketing intelligence they could derive from it, just tracking what sites people are interested in, stories they’re clicking on, etc.

      Of course, I guess they can get that via Analytics, so perhaps it doesn’t matter to them. Obviously not. 🙂

  3. I was really surprised and then really annoyed about it at first. But I honestly had too many eggs in the Google basket. Google always made it easy to use their services. But let’s face it, customer service is horrible. Some products were always being innovated and added to and others were ignored.

    So this gives me a chance to diversify even more. I am even looking for a Gmail alternative. I have been looking for a great email service worth paying for. I am hoping Outlook.com is that service but I am not 100% sold yet.

    I checked out Feedly and I guess the only thing I don’t like is that it is a plugin based service. My current plan is to wait it out until better options come along. Plenty of time to see how the market responds. I have a feeling there will be lots of RSS Reader launches and changes coming soon.

  4. Another nail in the coffin of “free.”

    In the long term, probably a good thing.

    These days, free isn’t worth my time. I want long term service, and I’m willing to pay for it.

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