Dear Feedburner: Please Increase your File Size Restrictions :)

I want to migrate the main Tailrank RSS feeds to use Feedburner. Not only do they rule (hey guys!) but I can make a few bucks running CPM ads in my feeds.

The only problem is that I can’t use my feeds because of this error message:

Your feed filesize is larger than 256K. You need to reduce its size in order for FeedBurner to process it. Tips for controlling feed file size with Blogger can be found in Tech Tips on FeedBurner Forums, our support site.

My RSS feeds is 384K but only 56K once gzip compression kicks in. I really think they ought to double this value. 256k is pretty small.

I could reduce the size of my feed but I need a window of about 30 items because of the way the ranking of posts changes within Tailrank per day. I could drop the clustering in the RSS feed but this changes a lot of the advantage of Tailrank. Hm.


  1. Dear Kevin,

    Sorry about that. We kind of picked that value arbitrarily after surveying the “good” feeds and the “out of control” feeds, and we found very few cases where feeds were legitimately larger than 256K.

    Of course, there are exceptions, with yours being one of them! We don’t yet have a way to override this limit on a per-user or per-feed basis, so I can’t lift it for just you. And, to a real extent, feed size=$$$ for us, so I’m hesitant to raise the level for all feeds without looking into the impact a bit more.

    So, that’s where we are right now. I’m afraid I don’t have a great solution for you right now, but I’ll keep thinking.

    Eric Lunt
    CTO, FeedBurner

  2. Yes, sometimes i get that error and i really get pissed,500k should be the minimum..

  3. Eric.

    What happens when I setup my feed in feedburner… and its 200k. Then I publish a few more posts and it grows to 260k? Will my feed implode?

    Why is there a limit at all?. Are you guys using fixed-width CLOBS or something?

    You should just use a distributed filesystem. Not sure about your backend though…

    Kevin

  4. Kevin,

    When we come across a feed that has grown to be >256K, we serve up the “last known good” version for subsequent requests. We also put a new item in the publisher’s FeedBulletin, which is a personalized feed that we use to communicate problems we have reading the source feed. You can find the URL for your FeedBulletin in your “My Account” page.

    Really, the only reason there’s a size limit is to limit our bandwidth exposure on out-of-control feeds. It’s an artificial limit that we’ve imposed. What we really need to do provide the capability to raise that threshold on a per-account or per-feed basis, we just haven’t put that functionality in there — truthfully, because there really hasn’t been much of a demand.

    But, there obviously is a demand here, so I’ll make sure that gets prioritized appropriately.

    As far as the backend, we are storing the source feeds as clobs (non-fixed width), but we’re also evaluating MogileFS. It just hasn’t been a source of pain for us … yet.

    Thanks!

    Eric Lunt
    CTO, FeedBurner

  5. Thanks for the feedback.

    I think for the time being I’m just going to cut the RSS feed down to only 10 items. The problem is that Tailrank’s home page isn’t a linear result set and the content can change. I standardized on thirty thinking that the position of items won’t change enough within an hourly basis where it would drop anything.

    I think it would be possible though for a client to poll hourly and miss one or two items as the climb and then fall….

    Kevin






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