After Michael pointed it out this morning, I found indeed that WordPress was chopping my posts in my RSS feed from this site down to about 3 lines. Now my posts need to be shorter, but that’s ridiculous! What if I said something intelligent, witty, provocative and above all else useful in my second paragraph?
Since I use FeedBurner.com (and so should you), I assumed it was their issue. I went searching for answers there – no luck, no love, no joy. “All the answers to everything are in our forums!” says Feedburner’s site, but you have to know the right phrase to find them! This is the fatal flaw in tech support by forum, in my opinion. Even the most clueless New Guy tech support person will know about 80% of the answers most people need after a few weeks because the little dotted line between nasty person emailing the same damned question and simple answer the programmer rattled off as they were coming back from the Jolt! soda stack has been worn deep into their brains.
Using forums as your only tech support is like using an auger to clean your ears – it can be done, but you are going to make your customers feel great, everlasting pain. For Feedburner, in my opinion, it’s a great big flashing Kick Us in the Balls sign of competitive weakness. If any Feedburnerites are reading this post (and now they can get past the first 3 lines), please offer “premium” email support to the tens of thousands of customers who will shower you with money! before somebody comes along and steals your lunch.
Back to the problem – it was a WordPress issue, but I compounded it in FeedBurner.com by being overly cute and trying to set the “Summary Burner” to 20000 words. (Customers will game your system, every time). Upgrading to the latest version seems to have fixed the problem, once I fixed what I broke at FeedBurner. A lovely way to spend a morning, right?
By the way, if there’s a micro-ISV WordPress Guru out there, why not start a business that does nothing but:
1. Publish a monthly email newsletter with concise, accurate instructions of what plugins 3 typical bloggers need and need to update, where to get them and screen shots of what they do,
2. Charge $30 a year or $90 with two email tech support cases,
3. Live in Tahiti, sipping an adult beverage while swinging gently to and fro in a hammock, secure in the knowledge you are helping tens of thousands of people return to living productive lives.

Of course, WordPress ate my first attempt to post this posting. I give up for the day.

6 Comments

  1. bobw Reply

    And a big Thank You to Baruch Even, the man behind http://planetmicroisv.com , for helping me with this issue and not rubbing my RSS ignorance in my face when I first emailed him about “his” (not) problem.

  2. Hi Bob,
    I got past the first 3 lines! 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that we do offer e-mail support along with the forums for free. You can always e-mail feedback@feedburner.com with questions, concerns, support inquiries, etc. Once you do that we’ll create a case for you and follow it through to completion.
    Just consider that the cup that will prevent us from the kick-us-in-the-balls form of competitive weakness you mention in your post. It looks like we may need to do a better job of promoting our e-mail support though so I appreciate the wake up call.
    If you ever need anything else FeedBurner related please feel free to e-mail me personally. Take care!
    Cheers,
    Eric Olson
    Publisher Services – FeedBurner
    312.756.0022 x2034
    erico@feedburner.com

  3. >>
    By the way, if there’s a micro-ISV WordPress Guru out there, why not start a business that does nothing but:
    >>
    Nobody will pay $30 a year for an email newsletter when they *think* they can get that information for free with a Google search. Most people don’t value their time NEARLY enough. You’d have to do something like advertise it with Long Copy and throw in a free e-book with a title like How To Make Millions Selling Newspaper Advertisements.

  4. bobw Reply

    Eric – Glad to hear it re email support – and no, I did not see the link; I doubt many do. But believe me, I’ll be pasting your info into my Outlook contacts list next! Thanks for the comment.
    Patrick – I think you are dead wrong. Whether it’s an email newsletter, or a dedicated web site (not! a forum), or some other means, I will be the last dollar in my pocket that if done right, blogged about right and SEO/AdWorded right such a system would be a total moneymaker for the WordPress Guru who sets it up right. The key is value. Perhaps “people” (whoever they are) might not pay, but there are now hundreds of thousands of “serious” WordPress bloggers who would rather have toothpicks under their nails than have to allocate a the time and effort it takes to stay current and up to date. That’s what money is for – specialization of effort.

  5. Thank you! I can finally add My Micro-ISV back into my feed reader! Here I thought you were just being a stooge with your RSS feed to punish those of us who don’t always visit the site.

  6. Congrats for getting it working correctly! I always hate to bring things up, knowing that 1) the problem may only be a problem for me and is working the way they want or maybe 2) it will cause a lot of work for someone that only benefits me.
    Doug: I knew that Bob was not being a “stooge”, as I believe I recall that being one of his tips (maybe in his mISV book) to not cut your RSS feed short.
    Anyway, thanks for the effort you put into getting it working right. I really appreciate it!

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