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Interview – FeedBurner CEO Dick Costolo

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Dick Costolo is the co-founder and CEO of FeedBurner. Previously, he co-founded and was CEO of Spyonit.com.

FeedBurner currently serves over 250,000 publishers. Dick was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions:

[Manoj]: As the visionary leader of FeedBurner and with more than 250,000 publishers and 23 million subscriptions where do you go from here, what is the organization’s goal?

[Dick]: Total world domination is the next project on the roadmap, but prior to that, we have a lot of work to do. Specifically, there are a number of services we want to offer that will further simplify the process of distributing, tracking and optimizing text, audio and video feeds. This includes improvements to tracking and reporting, further enhancements to our existing services like PingShot and new services that we can’t talk about for fear of reprisal from the engineering team. We also have big plans to continue expansion of our advertising network.

[Manoj]: How is the integration of Blogbeat coming along? Are you still on target for the scheduled release date?

[Dick]: We are on track to integrate Blogbeat functionality into FeedBurner’s StandardStats service by the end of the year. Jeff Turner, Blogbeat founder and now FeedBurner’s Lead Developer of Web Analytics has been guiding this project toward what we like to call “assimilation.”

[Manoj]: What are you thoughts on the insight/usefulness that the Blogbeat data will bring a FeedBurner user’s account?

[Dick]: At its most basic level, the integration of Blogbeat functionality will provide FeedBurner publishers with a more complete understanding of who’s interacting with their content. Specifically, publishers will have the ability to see how their feed subscribers relate to their site traffic. Ultimately, we plan to offer insight about how many web site visitors came from your feed, and other information to help publishers make informed decisions about their content and marketing strategies.

[Manoj]: Is there a specific target market for FeedBurner, are you noticing more individuals from a specific industry using your service?

[Dick]: We consider FeedBurner to be an equal opportunity platform, open to the full range of content creators. When we first launched the service back in early 2004, we saw a lot of interest from early adopters and bloggers. By the middle of 2005, podcasters and video bloggers were burning feeds alongside the large established media brands like Reuters, Wired and Ziff Davis. This year, we’re seeing more traditional companies jump into the feedburning game including retailers, consumer packaged good suppliers, government agencies, law firms and small business owners from around the world. Building an audience online, tracking subscriptions and ultimately monetizing content seems to be a universal need.

[Manoj]: You recently added the FeedBurner Ad Network where ads can be placed on a site and/or in the site’s feeds. How has that program been for you? How are bloggers and other content creators responding to the program? Do you feel competition from others like Yahoo’s new program will help or harm your efforts?

[Dick]: The expansion of feed-driven ads on blogs and Web sites was a logical one for us. Because we’re gathering information about a publisher’s feed, we are in a unique position to offer compelling placements of advertising back on the site. The program has been very successful in terms of our ability to offer richer ads with more informed and creative placements. For example, advertisers will be able to attach their message to the “most commented” post or the post with the most links in Technorati. We have also been able to expand the advertising network to include podcasters who want to include advertising back on their web sites.

[Manoj]: What is the team atmosphere like at FeedBurner? What types of things do you encourage? Can you list the top 5 things you enjoy the most working at FeedBurner.

[Dick]: There is plenty of feed in team. When it comes to the atmosphere around here, I say it’s 3 parts intensity and 1 part irreverence, with a healthy dash of brilliance. Since we all sit together in an open room, we are forced to work together pretty closely. Personally, I enjoy the innovation, the pace, the work ethic of the team, the music selection (most of the time) and the constant feedback from our 250,000+ customer base since everyone participates in support in one way or another.

Interesting stuff, I specifically found the part about the diversity in the target markets quite fascinating. Thank you Mr. Costolo.

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Manoj has been working in the search engine marketing industry since 2002. He started out as a software developer but now provides in-depth web site analysis using web analytics.

http://www.enquiro.com

Manoj is also the author of Web Analytics World. Web Analytics is an essential component in developing a successful
online campaign. Help convert visitors into customers by understanding
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Interview – FeedBurner CEO Dick Costolo
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About Manoj Jasra
Manoj Jasra is an online marketing veteran of almost 10 years who specializes in analytics, social/search strategy and mobile marketing. Manoj is currently a Sr. Strategist at one of Canada's largest Telecommunications Companies, Shaw Communications Inc., where he leads Social Media, SEO, PPC and Web Analytics strategies. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients.

Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends' Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He authors Web Analytics World (a top 100 Online Marketing Blog) and consults through his firm Jasra Inc. WebProNews Writer
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