RSS funerals

I know I should stop using Buzzfeed like titles, but they’re so lame they’re funny.

I’ve just ditched Feedburner after using it for almost 9 years.

Back when blogging was cool and RSS was something, Feedburner was the must have service for every blogger who wanted to deliver more than plain XML. Feedburner could do almost everything with your RSS feed, from adding sharing buttons to turning it into an email newsletter. But most people were actually using it as an online penis enlargement tool, displaying the subscriber counter button on their Web site.

The service decay started not long after it was acquired by Google, following the long and certain agony of RSS, and more generally speaking XML as a technology. When Google closed Reader in 2013, many people worried that they would discontinue Feedburner which was still serving millions of feeds each day.

But nothing happened.

Nothing happened except Google decided to make HTTPS a ranking signal. I won’t debate whether or not it’s a good or bad idea for I think it’s both. But a few days ago, after moving my blog to HTTPS, I realized my feed was not updated anymore.

After updating my configuration to have it use my https URL – in case it was unable to follow a 301 redirect – I was surprised to notice Feedburner was throwing a 400 Bad Request error. Despite Google guidelines promoting the use of HTTPS, Feedburner, a Google service is unable to handle it.

That’s a bad news for the millions RSS feed still served by Feedburner, isn’t it?

Well, not really. That’s pretty much the opposite. It’s been years since nothing has changed on Feedburner except Adsense support being discontinued, and the redirect for deleted feed that was raised from 1 month to permanent. And for years, Feedburner has been serving feeds to people who were still using RSS. And now, Feedburner being unable to serve RSS using HTTPS is an awesome opportunity for site owners to take their feed back.

If you’re familiar with this blog, you know I’m part of the Indie Web movement that promotes taking back the Web to you. I’ve been publishing a lot about POSSE, Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. POSSE is a way to take back your data ownership while still using the silos like Facebook or Twitter as broadcasting hubs.

Taking back your RSS feed ownership is as important as owning your published data. I know it may sound funny in late 2014, but still. Do you find normal that people subscribe to an agonizing third party service to access your content? Probably not, and you’ll probably want to take it back.

Here’s how you can do it.

If you’re still using it, move the email newsletter to somewhere else. Mailchimp provides an awesome RSS to email service. It’s free below 12,000 emails a day, you can import your Feedburner subscribers, and export them when you want to leave Mailchimp.

Second, ensure you remove that redirect from your blog RSS feed to Feedburner. If you’re using Apache and Wordpress, you’ll probably have to delete a few rewrite rules from your .htaccess file.

Log into your Feedburner account. I’m pretty sure you haven’t done it for years have you? Select the feed you want to delete.

Select the feed you want to delete

Click on the delete feed link, and check With permanent redirection.

Delete your feed

Submit. You’ve set your feed free.

There’s one more thing you need to do. In the past, you’ve probably setup many forgotten service to transform and serve your feed. If you still remember some of them, login and ensure you move the address to your own feed, just in case the permanent redirect is not that permanent.

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