February 18, 2008

FeedBurner Quietly Kills All-Time RSS Feed Stats

FeedBurner, the RSS syndication engine behind the vast majority of leading blogs, now part of Google, quietly turned off the ability to view all-time statistics for individual feeds at the end of last week, erasing years of accumulated data, without any explanation. Now, instead of seeing options for "One Day", "Last 7 Days", "Last 30 Days" and "All-Time", feed owners can only see statistics over the last 30 days at maximum, and it doesn't look like there is an "Pro" version that lets us get them back.

When FeedBurner was acquired by Google last year, the company made a lot of noise about how what had previously been premium services would now be free, with Google footing the bill. (See: FeedBurner: From Fee to Free: Should We Flee?) I was then worried that the company, not seeing inherent revenue-associated value, might slow the innovation. But to remove features outright, possibly in an effort to reduce data storage or bandwidth demands? I never expected that.

Google is great! So... where are my all-time stats?

So, what's the big deal? The big deal is bloggers that have relied on FeedBurner for any good length of time just lost all access to historical data. We can no longer see how our RSS subscriber growth rates are changing over time. We can no longer see accumulative statistics for click-throughs to popular articles, and and we can no longer show when our feeds reached specific milestones.

For a great example, just look at my December 28th post, "Feedburner Milestone Reached: 200 Subscribers". In that post, I noted when we hit 50 subscribers, 100, and then, 200. Well, the big news would be that last night, for the first time ever, we reached more than 500 total subscribers to louisgray.com, but now, I can't show you that all-time graph. It's gone.

And FeedBurner remains silent. Their official blog hasn't been updated since November of 2007, and as customers beg for an explanation in the site's support forums, there hasn't been any response.

We already know the blogosphere loves their RSS. We know they love their stats too. So, I'm a little surprised more folks haven't caught on to the fact this data's been erased. What's the deal, FeedBurner?