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Blogger Follow by Email widget is going away: export your email subscriber list from FeedBurner

FeedBurner has announced that it will no longer support email subscriptions as of July 2021. As FeedBurner powers Blogger's FollowByEmail gadget, that will also stop working. 

FeedBurner is a free Google service that let you customize your RSS feeds. It currently also provides feed analytics and - notably - has an RSS to Email service, emailing new posts in your feed to your subscribers. 

FeedBurner was founded in 2004 and acquired by Google in 2007, almost 14 years ago. The Blogger FollowByEmail gadget was launched in 2011. That means many bloggers have a blog email list that is decade old. 

Some of you are reading this post in an email. I haven't figured out an alternative email platform, but I will make an announcement when I do and you will be given the option to re-subscribe. I expect it's going to be a painful transition to a new platform.

Watch the video for a brief overview and tutorial on how to export your email subscriber list. Or read on for detailed information.
 

Is FeedBurner going away? No.

Notice in FeedBurner: FeedBurner is going into maintenance mode July, 2021.

FeedBurner itself isn't going away. It's moving to "more stable, modern infrastructure". According to the notice, "existing feeds will continue to serve indefinitely, and existing users can download past usage statistics and email subscriptions."

What will NOT be changing: 
  • Change the feed URL
  • Change the source feed
  • Change the title
  • Change the podcast metadata
  • Basic (not detailed) analytics
  • Ability to create enclosure tags for MP3 files 
If those are the features you use, nothing will change. 

What's happening to email subscriptions and the FollowByEmail Blogger gadget?

If you use FeedBurner to manage email subscriptions for your blog, that will unfortunately stop working in July. That includes Blogger's Follow by Email option and the FollowByEmail widget. 

That means that if you want to continue to email your followers, you will need to export your email list, and import it into another service. 

Blogger has stated explicitly that "Currently, there are no plans to support this feature again in the future", so don't wait with the hope that Google will offer an alternative. 

How to export your email subscribers from FeedBurner

You can export your email subscriber list as a comma-separated values (CSV) file. A CSV file can be opened in Excel, Google Sheets, or your favorite spreadsheet software. It may also be importable into other email subscription platforms. 


1. Sign into FeedBurner (feedburner.google.com) and click your feed name

2. Click the Analyze tab at the top


3. On the Feed Subscribers Dashboard, scroll down to Email Subscription Services and click Feedburner Email Subscriptions 

4. Click Manage Your Email Subscriber List 

5. Next to Export click CSV

That downloads a .CSV file that you can open in Google Sheets, Excel or a even a text editor. 

The CSV file includes: 

  • Email address
  • Date and time they subscribed
  • Whether the subscription is active or pending verification
Some email subscription services may allow you to import email addresses in that format.

A note: I have a number of subscribers who never verified their email address. 

I think it will be important when switching to a new platform to only invite email subscribers who fully activated their subscription. Someone who signed up in 2013 but never verified isn't likely to be interested in hearing from me again. 

What is a good alternative platform? 

I don't know a good replacement. That's something I'll be figuring out over the next month or so. 

Here's what I'm considering: 
A few thoughts: 

1. It's going to be like starting over, no matter which platform I switch to. I'll announce the new new email subscription option and possibly directly invite Active followers, but I would not be surprised if many don't sign up again. 

2. Other than the RSS to Email services, a new platform would mean actually composing the emails from scratch. That might be a good thing, even though it's more work.  

3. I want to find a service that isn't likely to disappear in a year. 

4. Money matters. FeedBurner is free. RSS to Email services and email marketing platforms generally cost something. Newsletter services, on the other hand, let me charge for the newsletter. Ultimately I need to figure out what I want to do in the long term, and how much it's worth to me.

I'll be posting more when I'm ready to move to a new platform. 

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Comments

  1. For these and others I moved to WP.com. If you pay for the cheapest plan (or even free), will have a great subscription system and human support (not these cold and automatic thing from Google). Google left Feedburner without investments for years, perhaps because of the failed Google+, instead of looking for ways to monetize (I don't believe in "freemium"). I have always been in favor of plans for both Feedburner and Blogger, as this is the best way to guarantee the survival of the services in the long term. Perhaps they will create another service, as the distribution of publications by email has gained a new gas with Substrack (and similar platforms).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been very interesting to see the recent resurgence of email newsletters. It will be interesting to see if Google dips its toes into that area, perhaps via an Area 120 experiment.

      Delete
  2. I suspect the only reason Feedburner is going into "maintanace" mode rather than being outright shut down completely is because of the short links. When they started migrating to Firebase a few years back there was a 2 or 3 day window when Google-generated shortlinks (such as the kind that were inserted into Twitter by the Feedburner-Twitter integration under the "social" preferences of Feedburner" were failing. Presumably they want established shortlinks generated by Feedburner to continue working. Of course the Feedburner-Twitter integration has been unreliable for years so I wonder if that's going to be depreciated too.

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    Replies
    1. There are a lot of long-time blogs - not only on Blogger - that use FeedBurner for their feeds, so it would be quite disruptive if FeedBurner shut down entirely.

      The FeedBurner-Twitter integration was deprecated in 2019 (info), so that hasn't worked for a while.

      Delete
  3. Well, I am really disappointed about this. The email subscription was the most useful feature of Feedburner which was being used in Blogger. I don't know how many even use RSS or Atom feeds these days or how many even know about it or use feed readers. I myself never used anything after Google shut down its Reader. Even Firefox shut down its in-built feed reading feature sometime in 2018.

    Not that there were too many subscribers through email, but Blogger's Feedburner integrated email subscription system was simple and to the point which just emailed new posts or notified people of new posts, minus all the email marketing gimmicks. Another plus point was that as it used that same Google account, one did not need to take the trouble of creating a new account on another third party service for this purpose.

    On one hand Google claims they're "creating an entire outreach & support initiative just for you, the web creators that create amazing content every day" through their "Google Web Creators" blog and community, and on the other hand, they remove a very useful feature on Blogger without providing any alternative.

    There is a lot of potential in Blogger, if they provide some useful features such as paid subscriptions etc., or even members only logins such as what WordPress has, because in Blogger, one has a great freedom of easily customising the look and feel of the site unlike platforms like Substack or Medium, but it appears like they are just neglecting another good product. They could've even charged a fee or commission for these additional paid members-only features for those users or Bloggers who would use such additional services, while keeping free newsletters free of charge.

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    1. I hear you on that. I am a feed-reader fan, but people seem to prefer following on social media (which isn't great for a number of reasons).

      Delete
  4. I use both Blogger and Feedburner and while I don’t have a large subscription by email followers. I would like to find something as simple as what I have. It will be interesting to see what you find as an alternative.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately I don't think there is anything quite so simple out there, at least not for free.

      Delete
  5. I agree. It's really staggering that there isn't a simple RSS Feed to email subscription service which is free or low cost for those who don't want all the bells and whistles - just whether people verify their subscription and open their email.

    I'm scratching my head at the moment. I may just decide to abandon email subscriptions all together - given I already broadcast that a new blog post has been published on Facebook.

    The only ones which look remotely promising are Mailer Lite and Substack

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  6. I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing. mailchimp alternatives

    ReplyDelete
  7. How can I delete the 'subscribe via email' link at the top of my blog?
    Can't edit it. Can't delete it. Can't hide it.

    ReplyDelete

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