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It's all in the timing

Friday, September 23, 2005

So, briefly, let's take a little time to talk about FeedBurner. Many FeedBlitz feeds are sourced from FeedBurner, and the integration of FeedBlitz circulation data into the FeedBlitz metrics (now separated out into a separate "Email Subscription Services" category) is a major plus for publishers.

Now, FeedBurner is based in Chicago, Illinois, an hour behind FeedBlitz. When the FeedBlitz nightly run starts, shortly after midnight Eastern, it's shortly after 11pm in Chicago. FeedBlitz's early morning circulation metrics therefore get counted at the very end of the day by FeedBurner.

As FeedBlitz has grown and grown - and grown - and grown - the daily polls are taking longer. On occasion they've taken longer than an hour, and so some users have seen FeedBurner metrics drop for a day as FeedBlitz misses the midnight cutoff in Chicago. It can be gut wrenching to see the stats disappear and then come back a day later, simply due to timing.

To stop this from happening, as of today, FeedBlitz polling will take place shortly after 1am Eastern instead of just after midnight. This way, FeedBlitz stats will be counted by FeedBurner after midnight in Chicago - no more timing risk, no more missing the cut off. FeedBlitz's emails will simply go out an hour later than usual, starting sometime after 1am Eastern, 11pm Pacific, 6am in the UK and 7am CET. This will be a permanent change, as I think it serve the majority of FeedBlitz's / FeedBurner's users better this way. If you have strong feelings either way please comment on this post.

In addition, other changes, tweaks and fixes newly available this week include:

  • Multiple performance enhancements for the nightly poll
  • Better transmission encoding for HTML non-Latin character-sets
  • Graceful handling for feeds with posts having an empty title tag



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