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FeedBlitz Simplifies Email Subscriptions for Search and User-Generated RSS feeds

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Many web sites are now offering RSS feeds to their users. Database-driven sites, including search engines, allow the users to add an RSS copy of their search to their aggregator. This creates many personalized feeds, unique to each user, with a practically infinite number of potential combinations. Search engines, shopping and auction sites, real-estate listing services, forums and bulletin boards - all can deliver tailored RSS feeds that are based on a single user's personalized criteria.

Subscribers have long been able to use FeedBlitz to add email subscriptions to a search by using the following link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Track=<url> where the <url> text is replaced by the address of the RSS feed to be followed. It's exactly this approach that we use in our Google toolbar, IE and Firefox integrations.

But for data-driven sites offering user-generated custom RSS feeds, there's a problem. The tracking URL above doesn't tie back to any given publisher. So a publisher can always offer email subscriptions via FeedBlitz using it, but it doesn't deliver any value to the publisher beyond a customer-friendly feature: No reporting, no way to manage subscribers, no way to customize the emails or delivery schedule. Publishers can use the API instead, but that's quite a lot of work. Very frustrating - what to do?

FeedBlitz to the rescue! Based on a number of recent requests, FeedBlitz has added an optional publisher id field to the tracking URL. Using this, publishers can now offer email subscriptions to their dynamic RSS feeds without knowing what those feeds are in advance AND have all the publisher-related benefits FeedBlitz brings. For example, using Pro Plus Master Templates, publishers can ensure that those emails are formatted using their own look and feel. Publishers can manage subscribers as a group or on a per-feed basis; they can use our real-time reports, and they can use the API or our export facilities to analyze the feeds their users are generating. Neat!

So here it is. Dynamic RSS generators can simply append "&publisher=<userid>" to the tracking URL above (make sure the RSS URL is properly URL / HTTP encoded - publisher developers will know what that means), where <userid> is replaced by your FeedBlitz user ID.

And what is your User ID? Good question. Anyone can find out their own user ID by visiting https://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?UserAdmin - it's listed just above your account's email address (that's new too!).



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