I ran into (yet another) Feed Count + Feedburner problem recently, shortly after writing my last article on accounting for Feedburner’s subscriber count mistakes. And since I heard from a few people who are also using the Feed Count plugin, I thought I should share this info.
As I’m sure all you Feedburner users out there are well aware, Google purchased Feedburner quite some time ago. But until recently, that didn’t mean much: the same people were working on the code, your information was stored in the same place and was represented the same way, and so on.
But recently Google has begun bringing Feedburner more fully into the fold. As a result, all Feedburner users are being required to convert their Feedburner accounts into Google accounts. That created quite a few headaches for lots of people (including myself) right off the bat, as it took a good week for Google to nail down my subscriber numbers with any accuracy – one day I would have thousands of subscribers, the next I might have zero, and the day following only a few hundred. Read On…
Google’s Feedburner is a fantastic service for managing RSS feeds and delivering useful statistics on those feeds, and they have a great API (application programming interface) for pulling those statistics and displaying them on your site. But lately, I’ve run into occasional problems getting at the information that Feedburner collects. Here’s the solution that I’ve developed for dealing with Feedburner’s flops.
I’m using Francesco Mapelli’s Feed Count WordPress plugin to display the number of feed subscribers I’ve accrued. It’s a great little plugin that allows you to generate a custom message associated with your feed stats. For example, in the subscribe section of my sidebar, there’s a little message that, as I write this, reads, “Join 2449 other happy readers!” That’s the Feed Count plugin at work. I find it preferable to those little Feedburner “chicklets” that are scattered around the web these days.
But here’s the problem: when Feed Count makes a call to Feedburner to grab my latest subscriber stats, sometimes Feedburner drops the ball when it returns the number. Instead of returning the number of subscribers, it will sometimes return a “N/A” instead, suggesting Feedburner couldn’t find my stats, and resulting in a sentence that reads “Join N/A other happy readers!” Not quite the message I intended. And worse, sometimes Feedburner will return a big fat zero if it can’t find my stats — and “Join 0 happy readers!” is definitely not the impression I’m hoping to make on first-time visitors.