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Happy Birthday Feed My Inbox!

Today Feed My Inbox turns 2 years old and is doing better than ever. Check out what the website looked like on day 1:

Pretty basic, huh? Feed My Inbox is a great experiment in launching something as soon as you can, then learning as you go. We designed and built the first version in roughly 24 hours. It took a little over a year to figure out whether people would use the service, what features people wanted and how we could make money. For the most part, we were wrong on day one about all three. It's a good thing we didn't waste a bunch of time building things we wouldn't end up needing.

Today over 135,000 people use Feed My Inbox to keep up with websites they like. We're very thankful to each of you for using our service. Here are some other numbers we saw just last month:

  • We are adding over 9,000 new feeds to our system every month
  • Over 20,000 new feed subscriptions were created in July
  • Over 21.8 million new feed entries were stored by our service last month
  • Over 1.29 million emails were sent to customers last month, which is an email about every two seconds

Our servers aren't even breaking a sweat, so keep it coming!

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New Email Template

Yesterday we deployed a new Feed My Inbox email template design. We've been testing it for several weeks and felt good enough to launch it. Here's what it looks like:

New Feed My Inbox Email Template

We really like the idea of wrapping content in a container like this and visually separating the articles better. The wrapper works well in our Twitter template, so we moved something similar over to the main one as well. The actual feed content formatting is still very minimal so that it works for any feed.

If anyone has any issues or feedback regarding the new template be sure to let us know. We hope you like it!

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New Twitter Support Launched!

It took longer than we were hoping, but Feed My Inbox deployed all-new Twitter support today. It's now a lot faster, more informative and damn good looking. Here is what the new Twitter emails look like:

Twitter Email

The new email supports retweets, shows profile information on the top and also hyperlinks @ replies. Not only that, but we are no longer using the RSS feed to check for updates. This is a custom integration where we get results instantly from Twitter, just like any other Twitter application you may use on your desktop or phone. So in most cases we can get real-time Twitter email notifications to your inbox in a minute or less from the time it was posted.

What it's Great For

  • Keeping up with people/companies without having a Twitter account (great for non-techies!)
  • Get twitter notifications anywhere you get email: at home, at work or on the go, with only one app!
  • "Following" accounts without them knowing you are following them

What's Next

Now that we've got this going, the next step is to apply the same integration to Twitter searches. For now, Twitter search subscriptions will still use the current Feed My Inbox templates and RSS feed integration method. Stay tuned to the blog for when we add this in.

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Scheduled Maintenance Saturday, May 29

Hey folks! We're going to be doing some scheduled maintenance on Feed My Inbox this Saturday afternoon, which means you could experience email delays between 1-3pm CST. We'll do our best to hurry up. Any other updates will be posted here on Saturday.

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Twitter Email Subscription Issues

Within the last couple of weeks we have run into a problem delivering Twitter RSS feed subscriptions to our customers reliably. Many people are receiving updates just fine and others are not. Without getting too technical, the reason this is happening is because Feed My Inbox now checks so many Twitter feeds for updates every hour that they eventually cut us off to keep from slowing down the service.

So what's the solution? Instead of checking Twitter accounts like a traditional RSS feed, we're going to process them differently. Feed My Inbox is now an approved Twitter 3rd party application. They will send us all kinds of information from their service in real-time and we will in turn send it out to you as an email based on your frequency settings.

Why it's great news for you

  1. Real-time Twitter updates are going to be nearly instantaneous. The only delay will be finding the subscriber in our system and sending out the email.
  2. Twitter provides us with lots more information than the normal RSS feeds, so we're designing a special template that takes full advantage of everything included in a user's twitter stream and making it look pretty.
  3. You don't have to do anything. All your Twitter subscriptions will be moved over automatically.

We're really excited about taking Twitter email notifications to the next level. This will most likely be released within a couple of weeks and we'll post here on the blog when it is.

If you've been having Twitter email subscription issues don't hesitate to give us a shout and we'll make it right. Thanks so much!

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New Feed My Inbox Features

Instead of burning one down in honor of 4/20 we decided to be productive and announce some new Feed My Inbox features! Along with a number of back-end improvements, there are four new customer-facing features you may be interested in. Here's a rundown of each:

1. 6-hour Frequency Option

If you want updates somewhere in-between real-time and daily, we've added a new frequency option that will check every six hours and email you when there are new items available. If you have a paid account, simply login and edit a feed to see the option:

6-hour Frequency

2. Pause Your Feeds

If you ever leave on vacation or wish to pause ALL Feed My Inbox notifications temporarily, you can do so very easily. Visit the "feed settings" page in your account and there is a "Pause Your Feeds" link. One click and it's done, then click it again to make them active.

Pause Feeds

3. Brightwurks.com Blog is Free!

Someone mentioned this to us a while back and we thought this would be fun. If you subscribe to our blog (Brightwurks.com), it no longer counts against your feed count. So go crazy and add 6, 26 or 76 feeds to your account! If one of them is ours you won't have to upgrade.

4. Unsubscribe from Multiple Feeds

Up until now it's been rather difficult to unsubscribe from multiple feeds at one time. You have to click the unsubscribe link for each one, which can be tedious if you have a lot of feeds. Now all you need to do is select multiple feeds in your account, then click the "Edit Selected" button on the top. There is now an "unsubscribe from selected" link on the top that you can click and instantly unsubscribe.

Unsubscribe from Multiple

Thanks for all the feature suggestions folks! We're listening and are working hard to keep 'em coming.

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Account Bookmarklet Updated

Last Friday we updated the personalized bookmarklet available in your Feed My Inbox account (Tools page). Now when you use it to add new feeds, they will be auto-confirmed instead of forcing you to click a confirmation link. So it's now one step easier!

Feed My Inbox auto-confirm

Of course if you use the standard bookmarklet you will still have to confirm each new subscription.

Bookmarks have to be updated

Even if you have already installed the personalized bookmarklet, you will have to replace it with the new one available in your account. Sorry about that, but we had to make a code change to get it working properly.

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New Feature: Support for pubsubhubbub

Last weekend we added support for a real-time feed notification protocol called pubsubhubbub. What does this mean for you? It means that real-time notifications for Feed My Inbox just got a little more "real-time".

Real-time notification protocols are able to "push" feed updates as they happen to feed readers like Feed My Inbox, instead of us having to check the feed manually every few minutes. Usually feeds that are enabled with a real-time protocol take 1-5 minutes to be delivered, while other feeds can take 5-25 minutes on average.

The two big real-time protocols are RSS Cloud (which we started supporting last October) and pubsubhubbub. While RSS Cloud has the much better name, pubsubhubbub is more popular because all Feedburner-hosted feeds use it. We are currently monitoring nearly 18,000 feeds and growing that are pubsubhubbub-enabled. You can watch this video for more information on how it works:

A possible bug

One thing we have noticed since deploying this update is that some folks are getting duplicate emails. We're working on a fix and made an update as late as today that will hopefully take care of it. Don't hesitate to let us know if you are having duplicate email issues. We'll post any updates if necessary here. Thanks!

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Subscribe to Google Calendar via Email

Have you ever wanted to receive an email when new events are added to a calendar? We sure have! In the office we keep a vacation/out of office calendar, but no one was being notified when someone added to it. Since we use Google Calendar and Feed My Inbox (of course), it was easy to setup email notifications. Here's how it works:

1. Login to Google Calendar and click the "Settings" link on the top right. Then click the "Calendars" tab like so ...

Google Calendar

2. Click on the calendar you would like to subscribe to, which can be your calendar or one that you are subscribed to.

3. Scroll to the bottom and you will see a series of calendar address buttons. What we need is the XML address. So click on the XML button that applies to you, whether the calendar is public or private:

Google Calendar

4. A window will popup with the calendar XML address in it. Copy/paste that URL into FeedMyInbox.com along with your email address like so:

Feed My Inbox

5. If necessary, confirm the subscription and you are all set!

One thing to keep in mind is that items are added to the feed based on the time they are ADDED, not the time they OCCUR. So this makes the most sense when you want to be notified of new items added to a calendar.

Pretty easy, huh? Let us know if you have any questions about it.