Symphonious

Living in a state of accord.

Why Redirecting Your Feed Isn’t Such A Great Idea

I spoke a little while back about Feedburner vs Blogbeat. I wish I'd taken more time to give constructive advice to the Feedburner team about what they could improve because as is so often the case these days, they picked up on my entry and Matt Shobe responded in the comments. One of the things he commented about was being able to redirect your feed so users don't have to update their subscriptions:

With the comment about "making your users change," I assume you're referring to the need to publicize a FeedBurner feed URL in order to have your subscriber base use your FeedBurner feed. We have a good number of publishers redirect requests for their "original" feed URL to FeedBurner — so doing requires your users to make no changes to their existing feed readers but gets you 100% of your feed traffic stats tracking through our service.

That's actually the approach I took and it worked well to switch to Feedburner but seems to screw over Planet aggregators who update their feed URLs to the redirected URL and now I can't stop using Feedburner without pestering the planet maintainers to change the URLs back. This is probably a bug in Planet because I don't think (but couldn't be sure) that my server was responding with a permanent redirect, but rather just the standard what you want is over there but don't assume it always will be redirect. Either way, if there's one thing you can depend on it's user agents implementing redirects badly so if you're considering redirecting your feed, I'd suggest you think it through pretty carefully because switching back might be a bit of work.

For now I'm just leaving my feedburner account active and hopefully the feed will keep working so the planets don't have any trouble.

Update: Rick Klau's comment below is awesome.  Apparently FeedBurner will redirect people back to your feed if you want to leave the service (see http://www.burningdoor.com/feedburner/archives/001251.html). How cool is it when a company not only doesn't lock you in, but goes out of their way to help you leave, and goes running around the internet posting to blogs about it for people who are too lazy to read the documentation? Twice in my case! That's awesome customer service!