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New in FeedBlitz 2: Email Generation

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This is the first in a series of posts over the coming days on FeedBlitz 2. In this one I’m going to outline the end result - changes that end up in the emails sent to subscribers.

Updated Graphics

Most obviously for standard service recipients, we’ve changed the FeedBlitz logo top left to match the new site design. For sites publishing non-generic images in their RSS feeds (relatively few of you, it seems), we’ve also added your feed logo over on the right (Pro users get to do a whole lot more, of course, ranging from adding their own artwork, their own ads, removing FeedBlitz branding and generally changing the layout of the messaging).

Here’s a screenshot of how the top of TechCrunch’s feed looks now in a standard email, with the graphic changes highlighted:

Email to a Friend and Comment Integration

The next change is down at the end of each article. FeedBlitz now includes a “email to a friend” feature, where you can send a post off to one or more friends or associates. It’s protected by image verification to stop spambots from using it, and it allows you to add your own message to the email before it’s sent. When you use this feature, the recipient is NOT subscribed – but they are invited to in a note at the end of the mailing.

FeedBlitz also now supports commenting, whether from the RSS comment tag or the Well Formed Web (WFW) comment API. If the source content has a link to comments, it’s shown here as “View Comments.” If there’s a way to add a comment, we’ll add a link as well (TechCrunch doesn’t use this part of the WFW API, so we don’t show it).

If there is an RSS feed to track comments to an article - and TechCrunch has one for each article they post - we’ll add a link to it at the end of each article in the email. Clicking the link takes you through the standard subscription process, and adds that article’s comments feed to your subscriptions. For publishers, if a user starts tracking a comment feed from your syndication, we’ll automatically add it to your list of syndications as well (but we won’t automatically subscribe you to it).

Tags and Categorization

Now, like many bloggers, TechCrunch uses tags to manage their articles. FeedBlitz 2 understands tags from many sources, including iTunes and Technorati. When we send an email out with tagged entries, FeedBlitz adds the tags to the email’s envelope header. So if you have an email client that lets you view an email by keyword or category (Microsoft Outlook supports category views), you’ll see that your FeedBlitz updates are now automatically tagged with the publisher’s categories in your email reader – they’re self-organizing, in other words. There’s a lot more to tags in v2 than this, but I’m saving that for a different post! Meanwhile, here's a graphic showing the FeedBlitz forward and comment additions, and TechCrunch's tags used to categorize the email in your inbox (this is the source article I used for this illustration):



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