Frustration with RSS-to-email … the paradox of choice strikes again

Yesterday I was trying to make it easier for people to subscribe to War News Radio‘s podcast, so I turned on Feedburner’s service which allows people to subscribe to the RSS feed via e-mail. Unfortunately, I realized today that Feedburner sends out e-mails daily (with no option to change the frequency of e-mails), and that you can’t control how many posts are sent at a time. We only publish one show every Friday, so there is no need to e-mail people about our last 10 shows every day. This is a really stupid and useless service, and they don’t even have a pro version with more functionality.

So I went looking for competing services, and I found plenty. The problem is that there are too many, and I can’t choose between all of them! Here are a few I am considering:

* FeedBlitz – Everyone agrees that it’s butt ugly and horrible, but for some reason massive numbers of people use it.
* Squeet – Also kind of ugly, and apparently doesn’t let you see the e-mail addresses of your subscribers, which is a win for privacy but a loss for functionality/convenience.
* Yutter – Looks simple and relatively pretty, but their blog seems a bit unprofessional, and they seem like such a small operation that they may very well disappear.
* Zookoda – Apparently very full-featured and customizable, but apparently a pain to set up. Also, I’m not sure whether the people who subscribe using it will show up properly in my Feedburner stats… FeedBlitz and Squeet are FeedBurner partners so they show up fine, and Yutter claims it will be counted in FeedBurner stats… Zoodoka doesn’t say one way or another in their FAQ.

Where the @#$% is a comparison chart when I need one? Comparison charts are really indispensable for making up one’s mind in situations with too many choices.

What should I do, folks? I’m seriously hyperventilating here.

UPDATE: As Asheesh points out, all of the above services are proprietary, and a self-hosted open source solution would be superior. What I really want is a WordPress Email Notification Plugin, but unfortunately the existing one is out of date / abandoned looked out of date/abandoned. There are rumors of an updated version being in development, and I would be willing to donate to such a worthy cause if it is in fact in progress. I’ve e-mailed them, we’ll see if they respond.

UPDATE 2: The people responsible for the plugin wrote back and said:

Nelson,

This is still active and we’ve not had any issues running the latest release on WP 2.0. If you know of any specific issues, please let me know.

Also, yes, donations would be extremely helpful in order to free up our time. (See: http://blog.watershedstudio.com/2006/03/anouncement-wordpress-email-notification-plugin-v30-development/ ) If everyone that used it donated a few dollars we’d be golden, but I believe that we have a grand total of $7 in the v3.0 development jar to date.

If you have any questions feel free to let me know.

Brian

I think I will put a little money in the pot… if this is something you might use, you should too ^_^

7 thoughts on “Frustration with RSS-to-email … the paradox of choice strikes again

  1. RE: Frustration with RSS-to-email … the paradox of choice strikes again

    Hi,

    Sorry you are having issues with our service, I will try to help

    It sounds like there are two issues:
    1. Daily emails. Yes currently that is all we offer for the free service… soon we will be launching a PRO version that will allow publishers to select a schedule
    2. Send all episodes every day. The way the service is designed we only send out an email if the feed has at least one item that is new or has changed. The way we define “changed” is if the Title, Pub date or link/permalink has changed. Is there anyway the 10 items you are seeing every day have any of those things changing daily?

    Feel free to respond to feedback@feedburner.com and mention my name so it is routed to me… We would love to help make the service more useful for you

    Chris Frye
    VP Engineering

    • Re: Frustration with RSS-to-email … the paradox of choice strikes again

      Perhaps I was a little hasty in condemning FeedBurner, it’s just that I subscribed to our feed through e-mail and got a dump of the last 10 posts today… that may have just been something that happens when you first set it up though. Perhaps I’ll only get new updates tomorrow, and then no updates the day after that (which would be the desired behavior). We’ll see, I guess.

  2. Yutter

    Yutter has been around for a few months now and our userbase has grown substantially.

    If you had read our blog it states:

    “We know, this is a boring blog, but it’s simple and to the point. Maybe we’ll spice it up sometime soon when we get some free time.”

    All of our engineers are working on features that matter to Yutter users. We’re not to concerned about the appearance of our blog.

    Anyways, we are a three man operation, and would love if you would try us out!

    David
    yutter.com

  3. FeedBlitz

    …has a pro version NOW (not some day) so you can be less ugly. Let’s you change the schedule NOW (not some day). Gives you ral time click through and open metrics NOW (…you get the idea). Gives you broadcasts, only sends daily updates when there’s a new post (and only sends the new posts), secure, private and has the best delivery rates. FeedBlitz readers are covered in FeedBurner stats with the addiitonal ability for you to import, export and manage subscribers yourself, now. There’s a reason we’re #1.

  4. I was actually just looking today into getting an internship at Free Geek, if not a summer job. We should go together!

  5. Have fun! I’ll be at work, otherwise I’d go, but I hope your speech/session goes well!

Leave a Reply