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On-demand mailing enabled

Sunday, October 30, 2005

If you are a publisher who wants to delay publication until you're good and ready - whether it be at your choice of time during the day, week, month, or whenever you feel your blog or newsletter needs to take to the wires, FeedBlitz / Turbo now meets your needs.

A new option has been added to the Turbo settings called "On-Demand" polling. On demand feeds are never polled on a scheduled basis. Instead, a new icon appears in your feed list that, when clicked, reads your feed and mails out any changes since last time to your subscribers.

To see this working, log in to FeedBlitz, click My Feeds and click on the "lightning bolt" icon: You'll see the "on demand" option is now available and ready for you to try in the drop down.


FeedBlitz. Better than it was before.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Just a quick heads up about minor changes today that are going to go a long way to improving the FeedBlitz user experience and email deliverability.

No more .exe file extensions in emails. You can now access FeedBlitz's features at www.feedblitz.com/f/ - not only is it shorter than the previous .exe URL (which still works, by the way), but it doesn't look like a virus to particularly dim anti-virus mail monitors and / or junk mail filters. Bottom line: more of the emails will get through. New HTML subscription forms will use this version; existing subscriptions forms will still work as always. No action is required by any publisher or subscriber.

No more download manager problems. Better yet, since some download managers think that an exe is always to be downloaded, despite what the FeedBlitz web server tells them, the new shorter URL scheme removes download manager aggravations for users of this class of utility.

Dashboard fixes. Under some circumstances, errors in feeds weren't bubbling up to the dashboard level. This has been fixed. All feeds in the dashboard properly reflect the underlying deliverability status.

Preview error reporting enhancements. If your feed could not be fetched and you tried to preview it all you saw was the orange FeedBlitz headers and nothing else. This has been changed so that a large friendly (-ish) error message appears, which also includes the underlying error text from the problem (usually a timeout or a DNS issue). The more technically inclined users will find this information helpful and the whole interaction is considerably less user-hostile.

Subscriber count fixes. A rare problem that caused circulation to be significantly under-reported in some larger feeds has been resolved.

Beta fixes. Some "Pro" beta feeds were not going out; they will now.


Simplified Subscriber Sign up - Part II

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

In Simplified Subscriber Sign up - Part I I described how to send readers to a sign up form for a feed; great for email signatures, web site chicklets etc.

But wouldn't it be better if you could personalize the signup? If you have a list of names you want to invite to your email feed, wouldn't it be great if you could prefill that dialog with their email address?

You can. Extending the approach in Part I, URLs of the following form will pre-populate the email field:


Simply grab your feedid from the HTML signup form and use your favorite mail merge product to construct the URL for each user. For the HTTP purists, coding the "@" sign as "%40" also works. For example:


This address only fills in the dialog correctly - the user still has to hit the "subscribe me" button and go through verification. Still, if you want to invite your colleagues, customers, prospects, partners, friends, members, congregation members or whoever to get your blog or feed sent to them, this is the way to go.

In fact, to make this really easy, the HTML code generator has just been updated to generate these links for you. And while you're in the dashboard creating these links, why not trial FeedBlitz Turbo? You can quit at any time and there's 15 days before you're charged.


Simplified Subscriber Sign up - Part I

Monday, October 17, 2005

The HTML form for subscriber signups is fine (it's the grey icon with the angle brackets on your syndications ), and helps generate readers (you have put it on your main and archive pages, right?). But there are places where a form is no good - email signatures, for example.

So how do you publicize your feed and get readers to sign up when they're not actually on your blog?

I'm so glad you asked! With a URL that looks like this, that's how:

http://www.feedblitz.com/feedblitz.exe?Sub=<your feed ID>

For the FeedBlitz blog, the URL is:


Using this approach, users are taken to a signup dialog for your feed hosted at FeedBlitz, identifying your blog as the syndicated content. FeedBlitz's behavior is the same for new subscribers regardless of whether they sign up on your site or at feedblitz.com.

But wait - What's your FeedID? It's the FEEDID value in the HTML form generated by our friendly little grey HTML generating icon

So log in, check your feed's HTML (or your blog template, whatever), update your sigs, and happy FeedBlitzing!


The Old and the New - Service Enhancement Highlights

Friday, October 14, 2005

The FeedBlitz service has been enhanced with some new features - and the return of an old one. In brief:

Email Notifications Have Been Restored - When a user subscribes to your feed you'll get an email. If this gets to be really annoying - and it can be for larger feeds - you can disable it by editing your feed settings and clearing the "Send sign-up notification emails" check box.

Sign up dates added to subscriber lists - By popular demand. Fairly self-explanatory, this one. If you imported your subscribers from Bloglet the date is the import date, not the date they signed up for Bloglet.

Dashboard Enhancements - The dashboard performance has been improved (which basically means log in should feel snappier). It also now reports your use and lets you manage FeedBlitz's new Turbo premium services.

Turbo Premium Services Introduced - Want to send emails more than daily? Want to receive subscriptions faster? Enter FeedBlitz / Turbo. Check out the updated feature list and use your dashboard to start the two week trial period. There are Turbo plans for publishers and Turbo versions for readers. The release of Turbo will also enable more time to be spent servicing the feed branding beta.


Brief Maintenance Window - Oct 06 : 11:00 PM EDT

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A quick FYI that FeedBlitz will be down for up to 30 minutes this evening (October 6), starting at 11:00 pm eastern (UTC-0400). We'll be back in plenty of time for the nightly run.

Talking of downtime, Blogger / Blogspot had an extended (but planned) outage yesterday evening. Although their blog said they were back in time for FeedBlitz's nightly run, several blogspot-hosted feeds could not be retrieved as expected during last night's poll. They have been pushed out manually.

And finally, in other news (and if you think this blog needs to be deadly serious all the time, please stop reading now), the cool guys at LiftPort - they who are making great progress towards building a space elevator (really, it's true) - have named their mascot FeedBlitz. They were kind enough to forward their IM transcript - and I still don't get it :-) But hey, I think a little whimsy's great when you're trying to build an entirely new form of off-planet transportation. Thanks, guys - and good luck!


Introducing The Black Spot

Monday, October 03, 2005

No, mateys, not a lame, late reference to "Talk Like a Pirate Day" - instead the final piece of the automated non-delivery handling mechanism for FeedBlitz.

When an email address has had more than three reported delivery failures in a 2 week period it will be marked for deletion. Twenty four hours later, if the address hasn't been made good, it's gone. And the "black spot" icon is your clue that will appear in your dashboard for addresses that are about to walk the plank. You can click the icon itself to review the addresses, force them to be classed as good temporarily, delete them yourself (from your feeds only), or just mutter "aarrrrr, shiver me timbers" under your breath and let FeedBlitz deal with it on the next go round.

FeedBlitz has been fixing up email addresses that were failing but then become OK automatically already; it's the automatic deletion that hasn't been put in place (until now, anyway). This feature will really kick in over the next few days as non-delivery counts rise for new feeds, so don't be too alarmed if your circulation counts drop a little as a result. Just keep an eye out on your dashboard. On average, non-delivery rates are running in the 6% to 10% range, so be prepared for that scale of change over the coming days.

Meanwhile, those scurvy bilge rats a.k.a. sp*mmers have recently been beavering away posting junk email addresses on some FeedBlitz-enabled blogs. A complete waste of time for them, (and not a huge problem system-wide either), since FeedBlitz's confirmation system is designed to thwart this very class of barnacle (with apologies to mollusks everywhere). No posts go to these fake addresses, nor can you see them since they never get out of the "registering" status. Still, they are cluttering up the database for no good reason, and so as of tonight email addresses created by known sp*mbots will be keel-hauled with extreme prejudice. So long, bye-bye, don't keep in touch. Avast, even. You won't be missed.



FeedBurner Selects FeedBlitz to Power Email Subscription Service

I am delighted to formally announce, along with the team at FeedBurner, that FeedBurner and FeedBlitz are partnering to deliver email subscriptions to FeedBurner users.

This capability has been available in the FeedBurner GUI for about 10 days and in that time alone has been enabled by over 500 publishers to provide email services for their FeedBurner feed. FeedBurner publishers enable FeedBlitz subscriptions from the "Publicize" tab.

So here are the FAQs; these are also available online at FeedBurner's site.

What is it?
Email subscriptions, powered by FeedBlitz, is an integrated FeedBurner service for publishers who want to offer their subscribers a way to receive their syndicated content via a daily email.

Who needs this service and why?
Bloggers, podcasters, personal and commercial publishers who want to attract subscribers by offering more ways for them to receive their content.

What will it help publishers do that they can’t do today?
Today, if subscribers want to read/view/watch syndicated online content, they typically have to go to where the content is hosted or subscribe to the feed and consume the content within an aggregator or reader (e.g. MyYahoo!, FeedDemon, iTunes, etc.) With email subscription capability, subscribers can now receive this information daily in their inbox.

What are a few of the key features?

  • All FeedBurner optimization services are applied before the content is distributed via email.
  • Publishers leveraging this service will automatically get a FeedBlitz account, and FeedBlitz handles of all of the email delivery including a daily digest of feed content.
What makes this service different from other solutions?
Email subscriptions powered by FeedBlitz is an extension to FeedBurner’s growing line of publicity services. Because it is integrated into the existing line, publishers can manage all of their publicity, optimization and monetization services in one place.

What are the technical requirements to participate?
Publishers can activate the new service from the “Publicize” tab within the FeedBurner application. A custom snippet of code is automatically generated for inclusion on a Web site, blog or anywhere subscriptions can be solicited. Current FeedBlitz customers can use their existing account name within the FeedBurner application.

How much does it cost?
The basic service is free for publishers.

How do you get started?
Publishers need only log into their FeedBurner account and select the service from within the Publicize tab.


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