. What this means is that if you use FeedBurner for your feed, but then decide you don’t like the service, you can close your account and have FeedBurner redirect your readers back to your old feed. This is a good thing.
I offer a FeedBurner feed (which includes my latest Flickr photos) but the main reason why this isn’t the main feed is because I was worried about lock-in. What if FeedBurner went to an overpriced subscription model, or suddenly disappeared off the internet? You’d be stuck reading a dead feed, and may not even know to switch back to the standard feed.
Offering an exit strategy means that you’ll attract ‘toe-dippers’ – users who like the sound of your service but don’t want to join because they’re worried about losing data if they decide to leave. Here’s some examples:
- Gmail allows you to forward all of your mail to another address. So you could transfer all your email to Gmail, decide that actually Gmail isn’t all that good and then have your email forwarded back to your old account so that you won’t lose any messages.
- Bloglines allows you to export your subscriptions as an OPML file, so you can easily switch to a service like Newsgator.
- Movable Type lets you export your posts to a plain text format that can be imported in to other systems like WordPress.
If you’re considering a service that lets users store their data on your systems, make sure that there’s a way of them getting that data off again easily.