Going Off Your Feed

feedbag.jpgChanging the way your RSS feeds work isn’t something to be undertaken lightly — particularly if you’ve got popular feeds with thousands and thousands of subscribers.

Case in point: For several years, I’ve subscribed to the feed of a popular site that tracks Macintosh software updates. It pushes perhaps 30-50 updates my way per day. According to Bloglines’ subscription counter, thousands aof other MacFaithful followed this feed too.

Presumably, those other subscribers get the feed for the same reason I do. We’re busy. We’re lazy. It’s far, far easier to passively receive the feed than to have to visit the actual site on a daily — even a weekly — basis. This learned passivity (for the sake of convenience) also has its consequences. It took me over seven weeks to realized I hadn’t been getting my usual multiple times daily updates from the site.

They changed the way their feeds work. And they didn’t tell me.

Or perhaps they did. Maybe an announcement was posted on the site. Or in their weekly newsletter. What they didn’t do was feed that critical piece of news on the channel so many of us have come to rely on: the RSS feed itself.

Eventually, I missed getting the feed. But I track over 200 feeds on a daily basis. It takes a while to notice one that’s gone missing.

Publishers – take heed. Don’t let your readers go off their feed.

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