Feedburner is malicious now?


This is more of a complaint than anything else but it affects the show so I hope you'll bear with me. PhotoWalkthrough uses Feedburner for the RSS feed that makes the podcast work. I've recently been made aware of a problem with Feedburner's servers.

One of my viewers got in touch to say that he couldn't download my shows in iTunes. After some diagnosis back and forth between me and him we discovered it was because he's been downloading a HOSTS file that contains lists of "undesirable" domains and links them back to localhost. This essentially makes it impossible for his machine (and anyone else that uses this HOSTS file) to make contact with those domains. The intention is to stop companies like doubleclick and other ad/spam sites from tracking you and from sending you ads. Sadly feeds.feedburner.com is on that list. The hosts file in question is available from http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/ but the maintainer of the list pointed out that feeds.feedburner.com is also on many other similar lists. He pointed me at this URL to prove the point:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22127.0.0.1++feeds.feedburner.com%22&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

So sadly it seems that feedburner is now considered a malicious site. This is obviously a big problem for those of us that have feed URLs that have traditionally gone through feedburner. To our viewers and listeners it simply looks like our show has died and stopped being served. iTunes gives an error saying it can't contact the server. Most people wouldn't even bother to get in touch with us - they'd just assume that the podcast was no more.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. On the one hand I don't want to have to change my feed URL. That seems significantly risky to me. I say if it ain't broke don't fix it. My first instinct is to fight the inclusion of feedburner on these HOSTS file lists. But if that's lots of lists - that's a huge battle that I can't win. On the other hand if there are a number of people out there that can't get my show then perhaps feedburner *is* broke so I'll have to change it and face the attendant risk.

Either way it seems that someone just dropped a huge pile of extra work in my lap. And that someone is GOOGLE. First they bought DoubleClick. Then they bought feedburner and broke it by putting doubleclick style tracking code in the pages. That hurts ALL the podcasters and bloggers that were using Feedburner who have now gone dark to part of their audience.

"Don't be evil" my ass.

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