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!).
Amazon.com affiliate advertising enabled in FeedBlitz
Monday, November 27, 2006
In addition to our Google AdSense
ad integrations, FeedBlitz now offers Amazon affiliates
the ability to include Amazon ads in their FeedBlitz served landing pages. Amazon claims to be the world's largest affiliate program, so adding this to our roster of supported advertising networks - just in time for the holiday buying surge - is a Good Thing. Like all our other ad integrations, all the revenue generated from your
links on the pages we serve for you
. We take nothing.
To enable your affiliate links, you can choose from Amazon's "Omakase" banner (which aims to optimize itself over time based on your readers' habits), or a standard banner. We deliver both as 480x60 banners on the pages we serve on your behalf.
To add your Amazon ID to your FeedBlitz email newsletter publication, go to www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists
and invoke the popup menu for your content. Choose Syndication Setup / Advertising and Visitor Analysis
and pick one of the Amazon options. In the edit box below, add your Amazon affiliate ID and save. Then start the subscription process to see the ads appear!
You can see Amazon affiliate ads being served in the subscription pages for our RSS-powered autoresponder
, "Making the Most of FeedBlitz
" - click here to view the subscription page
FeedBlitz preview now available for your website
Monday, November 20, 2006
The FeedBlitz email preview facility has been made available to everyone without a login being required. This means that you can now post a live preview of your current feed on your web site for potential subscribers to see without having to go through the registration process first. The preview contains an invitation for the user to subscribe, which then takes them through the normal process.
To make it easy for you to generate the HTML needed on your blog or site, the FeedBlitz subscription form generator (start at www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists
- it's in the setup popup menu) now automatically includes the code for the preview. So you can simply regenerate the form and republish to get the preview link onto your site.
The preview code uses your email address if you're logged in to FeedBlitz, so don't freak out if you see your email address online! It's just because it's you. Visitors who aren't logged in simply see "You" (and a request to subscribe) where the email address would otherwise go.
To see this in action, here are the email previews for some popular FeedBlitz publishers:
Friday, November 17, 2006
OK, some minor changes to let you all know about.
Firstly, we have dramatically simplified the unsubscribe screens for standard service publishers. In the V2 release we made the signup landing pages much simpler and logo-free for standard publishers, and significantly reduced the verbiage on each screen. The result is a much easier to understand and much less intrusive signup process.
For some reason we didn't get around to doing the same on the unsubscribe page. D'oh! So we have fixed that - the unsubscribe landing page is now logo-free with simplified instructions. If and when the user confirms the unsubscribe the standard look and feel returns. Obviously, these changes don't affect Pro publishers, because all their screens are served using their custom template.
Secondly, we have updated the site to have Google-powered search on both feedblitz.com
and this blog. The main site's search page
is linked to from each page's header, and covers both our standard pages and the online knowledge base
Thirdly, we've added some setup help for new publishers, as follows:
Finally, we moved offices recently, and so the compliance footer on our emails has changed.
FeedBlitz Add-Ins for FireFox, Internet Explorer and Google
Friday, November 03, 2006
Subscribers take note! We have consolidated all our browser add-ins onto a single new page
. Not only have we brought together the existing add-ins for the Google Toolbar
and Internet Explorer
, but also we have added a new option for FireFox 2 users - the ability to link FeedBlitz email subscriptions to FireFox 2's RSS button. All may be found on and activated from this new page
, or you can jump directly to the entry that suits you best:
Subscribers may also be interested to learn that we also have premium plans available for them too. You can accelerate delivery of your favorite subscriptions starting at as little as $1.59 per month. Find out how you can update your delivery options here.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
A little more promptly than September's update
, here's a summary of the month's events and metrics here at FeedBlitz.
To the top line, then. We ended the month at just under 1,108,000
active subscriptions, for just over 9%
month on month growth. Now, with the release of FeedBlitz 2
, the web site was restructured. What the means is that the usual month to month visitor metrics - particularly the page views - aren't particularly applicable, since it's not an "apples to apples" comparison. Plus I forgot to add the visit tracking to the blog pages until today - oops - so October's site-wide numbers are under-reported. November will therefore be the baseline month we use going forward, but, for what it's worth, October's numbers still showed over a million page views
and nearly 380,000 unique
visitors. Additionally, the feedblitz.com
home page graduated to a Google PageRank 8 last month.
And FeedBlitz 2 was released
. We made the service more feature rich and more flexible for publishers and subscribers, whether standard service or premium users. Among the unique features we introduced are:
We also introduced:
- Time zones (check yours!).
- Turbo Express for nearly real-time email delivery.
- And a completely redesigned site
Finally, we're trying a month-long experiment here at 'Blitz Central. Our static pages are running ads. The ads will only run on our pages, not the ones we serve on your behalf. Just so you know. I'll discuss the results next month (if the ads really don't work, they'll be long gone before then).
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