Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Goodbye, Feedburner

A few weeks ago we stopped serving feeds through Feedburner as part of our initiative to stop relying on third party offerings (especially Google's) to power our network's services. For a month Feedburner was automatically redirecting visitors to those pages to our native feeds, but we've noticed that now it's just displaying an Obsolete: Feed has moved message.

If you're someone who has been subscribed to one of our feeds through Feedburner, you'll need to adjust your RSS reader if it hasn't adjusted itself. The Advocate's feed remains available in both Atom and RSS formats at our own domain, and our multimedia feed is available in RSS.

Within the past year, we've also eliminated the tracking code for Google Analytics and SiteMeter. Readers who are running Mozilla Firefox with NoScript installed may have already noticed this. Furthermore, in June, we successfully shut down the NWroots Services, which were offered through Google Apps.

We have two main goals in this effort to become more self sufficient. One is privacy protection. We ultimately want to be the only entity that is collecting information about our readers, so that there are no "third parties" involved.

We're disturbed by the trend we see towards ever greater information harvesting of users by Internet giants such as Google (and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft/Yahoo and AOL, which are not as powerful). We want to be at least a small bulwark against this trend, which we view as harmful.

Another goal is to strengthen our Net identity.

In experimenting with a a few third party offerings over the years, like Feedburner, we've come to the conclusion that we've forgotten, to some degree, the wisdom of keeping our virtual house neat and tidy.

One of the smartest decisions we ever made was choosing to publish this blog to our own servers, rather than hosting it at someplace like We've never had to put up a "We've Moved" sign, because we have always published The Advocate here at

Relying on third party offerings has the effect of diluting our identity and polluting our site's code with junk. For example, some of the external trackers include invalid characters which cause our pages to fail validation tests. In the case of Feedburner, we had no control over how the Feedburner landing pages looked. They had Feedburner's logo on them, not ours.

We are by no means finished with our sufficiency initiative.

In the weeks and months ahead, expect more of those external trackers and third party offerings embedded throughout our network to disappear as we clean house.


Blogger The Raven said...

Bless you. This bird, at least, appreciates this very much. It is astonishing how many organizations there are that track people through the net, and how many web site administrators seem to think that they have an unlimited right to run little programs on our computers.

August 2, 2009 4:05 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

If privacy important to your audience, perhaps you should consider implementing a privacy policy and linking to it across your site. It is actually a violation of Google Analytics terms of service to use the software on a site without an explicit privacy policy.

August 3, 2009 12:13 PM  

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