Custom SMTP server – a solution for better Feedburner email service?

Last month I posted about updates from FeedBurner email service being delayed almost by one month. Then I posted how to leave FeedBurner without loosing your existing subscribers in case one want to switch to a new service.

But like many bloggers, I don’t want to leave FeedBurner. It would be great if they just improve their email delivery system. Now thinking (seriously) about solution, I reached to a new conclusion.

Technically, one thing that may be seriously affecting FeedBurner email delivery, is high load on their SMTP servers. Of course this is hard to belive as Google fuels FeedBurner.

Now there are many forums, blogging software which allow you to specify custom SMTP server settings. If specified, third party SMTP server is used, instead of webhosts default mail function.

Coming back to FeedBurner, if they give similar option to publisher, one can use SMTP servers they find fast and trustworthy. Also publishers with custom SMTP server can be allowed to send one mail per post as they are not eating up FeedBurners’ mailing resources.

Or FeedBurner can start a new paid service where publishers who are ready to pay extra will get timely email delivery as well as mail per post kind of option.

There is one more hidden good side to this approach. Such paid service will be highly appreciated by top bloggers who makes most money and most traffic as well. So if these biggies shift their load to custom SMTP servers or paid plans, overall quality of service will automatically improve for small blogger! 😉

What do you think about it?

Related: How to leave FeedBurner without loosing existing subscribers


Gaurav July 29, 2008

Right Idea Rahul, just someone from Feedburner or Google overhears it.
Won’t it be bad to Feedburner’s reputation if the custom SMTP servers are down? A normal reader won’t know the fact its not feedburner’s fault but the Blogger’s one.

Pavan Kumar July 30, 2008

You are right Rahul, but I don’t think it would be a load on feedburner smtp servers. Because we know the qos with gmail and google apps mail. They are very instant. Just what we need is reliability. How about other such services.

My suggestions for feedburner regarding email subs:

Provide option to deliver emails as and when the feed gets updated rather than custom time schedule.

If you want to provide custom schedule only, provide us a map which tells how many are using at what time so that there could be a load balance on the servers.

Rahul Bansal July 31, 2008

With custom SMTP server, it will be our responsibility to choose a nice server. If anything goes wrong, fault will be our only. 🙂

If you remember, Google acquired FeedBurner not so long ago and I think they haven’t invested further in infrastructure. They already purchased it with heavy cost and then also made PRO services free.

By the way we all know how worst is Orkut service. So many bugs, bad server error, privacy, security and lots of issues on Orkut keep it in news. 😉

In large companies like Google, its obvious that resources are allocated on per project basis.
For instance server down error is least known of Search engine but very common on Orkut. Now I don’t think Orkut gets more traffic than Google Search!

Pavan Kumar July 31, 2008

Google is most likely to acquire more services than they develop… even there were some news about google acquiring digg, if that happens and google is not ready to upgrade the digg system with increasing traffic, that too is going to suffer in coming days.

Gaurav August 1, 2008

Digg surely would have been a bad deal for Google, it is just a different social bookmarking service. With Knol they have come face to face with Wiki and Digg is just a primate for Google to develop.

Rahul Bansal August 1, 2008

@Pavan & Gaurav
I personally find these acquisition is a bad news for end users.
First they monopolize market. Next most acquisition aimed for killing competition.

Gaurav August 2, 2008

Thats right Rahul , it is actually an ease to have my google account login being used for most of the services, but hey… I am dependent on Google for half of my online activity – Search, Docs, Gmail, blogger, you tube, reader… and don’t know what. This has been the case with Delicious too, after Yahoo acquired it, it was updated only yesterday.

Rahul Bansal August 2, 2008

I think delicious acquisition is worst acquisition in history. In fact Yahoo treated delicious so badly that delicious founder resigned from Yahoo. (link)
There was a post on some long time back about how Google acquired a service and then almost shut it down. The guys who created that service originally was so annoyed that he quit Google.
I really admire Mark Zuckerberg for his guts to run Facebook on his own despite acquisition attempts by all giants.

Phil Hollows April 17, 2010

Guys, the problem isn’t FeedBurner’s / Google’s mail servers. It’s with feedburner updating its copy of your feed in time, and properly detecting new posts to mail. Having new SMTP servers won’t solve the problems you’re having.

Changing to an alternative, such as FeedBlitz, which offers email subscriber transfer from FeedBurner, better branding, faster scheduling and more *is* the solution. It isn’t free, but then it also comes with real support and ongoing investment. And it works. If you’re interested we have a 30-day free trial,


Phil Hollows
Twitter: @phollows