Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feedburner & Google migration - not going so well!

Feedburner LogoAs many bloggers, I am using Feedburner for my blog RSS feed. It is a great tool, easy to use with good stats. It is one of the many things that has been bought by almighty Google a while ago. Few days ago, I have been asked to move my Feedburner account to my Google account as - logically - Google is "integrating" Feedburner with other Google tools & services.

Account migration apparently went well...until I saw my stats for the last days: total subscribers dropped of more than 50%! Aaaaargh! I was so happy to see it slowly increasing and then BAM! Such sudden change made me react (as any good analyst would do). A quick check on Feedburner Help group showed that I was not the only one: many users complained of having huge drops of subscribers (and other problems). A blogger claims to have lost 30,000 readers!!!

Google LogoIt seems that the migration is NOT going smoothly at all. What is very frustrating is the silence of Google / Feedburner. No answer, no notification in the Known issues & workarounds" section after more than 3 days. No one knows if this is a temporary technical problem, just corrupted stats or if subscribers are really lost for ever. Very frustrating. And lot of damage done here to Feedburner and Google image for those using the service. 

I am really angry at youThe lesson learned here is that communication is key - especially in crisis time. No answer is worse than a poor answer (like "we are working on this, all apologies"). Just have a go at some user comments on the Help group

"What bothers me is the stunning silence from Google. 
They used to be very responsive to customers, but now the silence 
seems like arrogance...they don't have to respond because of who they 
are...very sad."

"I am LIVID!!! This is bs.

"I trusted and I was wrong, you all trusted and were fooled"

"Disappointing and not very googlish"

Not really something you would like to read about your company or products - if you care about your customers. Everybody does mistakes - even Google is not flawless after all.n  Communication & quick reactions are essential - do not let rumors propagate.

I know some might says that: how do you dare to complain - after all it is a free service. Yes, this is true. Still it is very frustrating from a user point of view and "damaging" for the brand image. It also shows that getting great services for free is cool until it runs into troubles. 

All in all, I hope it is just a temporary technical glitch and that I will get back my subscribers. Otherwise, I will have to do my best to reconquest all these lost readers... :-(

UPDATE (24th of January 2009): On the 23rd of January, Feedburner finally responded and added the issue in their list of "Known Issues". Checking my stats on the 24th showed a return to normal. So no real harm done? Well not for me but these days of silence created unsatisfied/frustrated users and "damaged" the brand image. Maybe it is limited and it will take little time before all forget about this incident. Still my point is if something goes wrong, communicate and take fast actions even if very basic (don't use the ostruch tactic and put your hand in the sand :-)) 

2 comments:

  1. I've seen the exact same problems on my blog too. It appears that the Web is being ignored as a communications channel by a lot of large companies in the same way that phones are (automated phone trees, etc.). I have an analytics blog as well, and lost about half of my subscribers (and that's not a lot!).

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  2. But for a Web based services, I found that the response-time and attention to users was quite slow. But things are getting back to normal. It is just that you can see how a lack of communications can be perceived as arrongance or lack of "respect" from a users/consumers point of view.

    Something that still happens a lot...

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