A series of actions — and inaction — on Google’s part makes it clear that Feedburner is a very low priority in Mountain View. Google has been slowly abandoning Feedburner over the past 16 months, and all signs show that the RSS service is headed to the dead pool.
Google’s latest move involves the loss of Feedburner Japan’s domain — feedburner.jp — in late July. That was where Japanese users could manage their feeds, much like English-language users can do now via feedburner.com (which redirects to feedburner.google.com).
Whether intentional or accidental, Google failed to renew the Japanese domain and Japanese Feedburner users are presumably out of luck right now. According to DomainTools, someone named Satoshi Mito registered it on August 1st. The domain is now parked.
We contacted Google’s communications team on Friday to ask what happened to feedburner.jp; they haven’t replied.
Feedburner Blog & Twitter Account Also Shut Down
The timing of the feedburner.jp non-renewal doesn’t appear to be coincidental. It happened at about the same time as Google shut down the Feedburner blog and closed its Twitter account.
Both of those happened on July 26th. In a goodbye post on the Feedburner blog (AdSense for Feeds, as it was known), Google says “we’re just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won’t be posting here any longer.”
On the same day, Google closed the Feedburner Twitter account with this message.
We’re signing off from this account. Thanks for being a loyal follower of @feedburner over the years!
— FeedBurner (@FeedBurner) July 26, 2012
We didn’t know about the feedburner.jp domain non-renewal at that time, but we did ask Google if the blog and Twitter account shutdowns were a sign that Feedburner itself was also closing. No, we were told; Google explained that the blog and Twitter account closures were just part of general cleanup of unused communications channels. Indeed, Google also closed its Conversion Room blog and Google Analytics France blog at about the same time.
The fact that the non-renewal of the Japanese domain happened at almost the same time as the blog and Twitter account shutdowns makes it appear that Google must’ve chosen not to renew the domain. And, in any case, it has to leave Feedburner users concerned about the service’s future.
Looking ahead, the Feedburner API is due to shut down a little more than a month from now — October 20, 2012. Google actually announced that change 16 months ago, in late May 2011.
Beyond Twitter and its blogs, Google also appears to have stopped offering customer support to Feedburner users. After being unable to use the “Contact Us” email link in Feedburner, one user just posted yesterday about calling Google and being told that “Google no longer offers technical support or assistance for FeedBurner.”
There’s still a Feedburner Help Group on Google Groups, but it doesn’t appear that anyone from Google is active in posting there. (And there’s plenty of spam as a result.) In fact, representatives from FeedBlitz — a Feedburner competitor — are replying to some recent posts to offer help, and to suggest that Feedburner users become Feedblitz customers.
FeedBlitz has also been actively reporting on many of the recent Feedburner issues, including the loss of the feedburner.jp domain.
Feedburner users (myself included) may feel safe in knowing that the domain issue that affects Japanese users won’t be a problem soon; Google’s registration of feedburner.com doesn’t expire until December 1, 2014. But beyond that, this Feedburner user doesn’t feel safe about anything else.