Don't Feed the Google – Why You Should be the Master of Your Own Domain

Google Feedburner Own as much of your content and distribution as you can.

Earlier this month when Google acquired Feedburner, it was yet another company getting assimilated into the Google borg. It is getting more and more difficult not to feed the voracious Google data mining machine. I used to have a Jotspot account, that got acquired by Google. If you had a YouTube account, Measure Map, or Dodgeball account, your data is now owned by Google. If you use Feedburner (I do), your data just got assimilated into the Google machine.

The fact that Google collects so much data from so many different points, in addition to mining your search history, makes them the most omniscient entity on Earth. I for one, am very uncomfortable with the prospect of a for-profit company owning so much information about me.

Once Google acquired Feeburner, they made you agree to the new terms.

Opting out will terminate your user agreement with FeedBurner, permanently delete your FeedBurner account, feeds, and all related statistical data and history, and prevent the transfer of your data rights to Google.

You basically had two choices: agree to everything OR have everything deleted and start over rebuilding your RSS subscriber base. Since the Feedburner feed address is on the Feedburner domain (example: http://feeds.feedburner.com/auinteractive) all your subscribers are directed there to get your feed. You would probably lose a decent share of your subscriber base if you wanted to switch your RSS feeds to a new address. Moreover, I’m not really sure there are any real viable alternatives to Feedburner- email me if you know any.

A while ago Feedburner started offering a service that allowed you to have your feed address on your own domain for a nominal fee – your feed address would look something like feeds.auinteractive.com rather than feeds.feedburner.com/auinteractive, which means you have full control of where you point the feed through your DNS settings.

If you (or I) had spent the extra few dollars per month to setup the feed to be under your own domain, you would have much more control about the fate of your feed and which service you use to syndicate yourself, without requiring your users to re-subscribe.

This acquisition should be a reminder to not rely on another company if you are spending so much time creating and/or building something that matters to you. Get off WordPress or TypePad and get your blog on its own domain. If you spend a lot of time writing (creating content) on Myspace or any other service, consider getting your own domain and doing it there.

Own your blog, your feed, and their address – and own as much as you can of what belongs to you. If Typepad disappears, Feedburner gets acquired by SkyNet, or any other company you rely on makes a move you don’t agree with, you will still have the power to switch to a competing service (or yourself). In other words, be the master of your own domain.