February 19, 2008

Feedburner Restores All-Time Feed Statistics, Google Not Proven Evil

In the world of blogging, feedback can be widely and quickly disseminated, and in a modern version of the kid's game "Telephone", a message that gets passed around can take on new meaning. That's why companies that step up before a rumor gets out of control, and transparently talk to their users, have an innate advantage over those that let the story keep rolling.

As I said this Sunday, companies that listen to their users will win. We saw a fantastic example of this today, when FeedBurner, after I noted a much-liked feature had gone missing, commented on my blog that the missing all-time statistics was not a nefarious move by their new Google overlords, but instead, simply a bug. (See: Steve Olechowski's comment)

My All-Time Stats are Back!

It was only yesterday, after seeing FeedBurner's silence on their company blog, and letting user complaints sit for a few days over the weekend, I had asked, "What's the deal, FeedBurner?"

And my questioning of their intent with the missing features had far-reaching echoes, from Mashable (Google Nixes FeedBurner’s “All Time” Stats) to Search Engine Journal (Feedburner Takes Off All-Time Stats Without Notice?), HipMojo (Web 2.0 Free Gravy Train Stopping, Abruptly), Web Log Tools Connection (FeedBurner: No more all time feed stats), Search Engine Land and even TechCrunch, who got a note from FeedBurner's CEO saying it was just a bug.

It was interesting to see how many people immediately assumed Google must be at fault. While I certainly was curious as to the reason behind the change, and saw it as running contrary to Google and FeedBurner's stated mission, I didn't outright blame Google - unless you think I did. It just seemed like a well-liked feature was taken away with no good reasoning.

But in just over 24 hours, what did we get? We got an answer, as poor Steve Olechowski had to go from blog to blog letting people know it was being fixed, and by this evening, I saw it fixed myself. There's no evil Google plan to see here, guys. Just some technology that didn't do what it was supposed to. That's why those who were in less of a rush to blame the Internet giant, like Steven Hodson of WinExtra, ask, was it "another rush to publish a story?"

So, thanks to FeedBurner for restoring the capability, and for transparently responding to its users, and to bloggers interested. It definitely shows the FeedBurner community values their service!