Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Private Blogs Do Not Have NewsFeeds

The ability to view blogs, and web sites, and only view those that have been recently updated, is a useful feature that NewsFeeds provide. Some people take NewsFeeds for granted, and every so often you see an anxious query
Why can't my readers use a newsreader to read my blog, when I make the blog private?
as if newsfeeds are just another content protocol.

The concept of private blogs, which require authentication, is relatively recent, compared to newsfeeds. Both Atom and RSS protocols have been in use, well before dynamic templates and authenticated blog read access were provided, as features in New (2007) Blogger. This limitation affects both BlogLists, and email distribution of the blog feed, and Following - none of those features are available for Private blogs, right now.

Native Atom and RSS did not contain any provision for authentication of the reader. Anybody who knows an Atom or RSS feed URL can subscribe to that feed, using any of several different procedures. Since access to a newsfeed can't be restricted, it would be meaningless for a newsfeed (with universal access) to be published for a private blog (with restricted read access).

When you change permissions on your blog, so only specific individuals can read it, the newsfeeds for the blog are closed. This may change in the near future. Recently, changes were put into Blogger to enable validation through an RSS V2.0 feed, which will eventually result in the ability to authenticate reader access through a newsfeed reader.

Search engine access to your blog is controlled separately, and you may need to check those settings too.

For right now, a solution using Google+ may be the best choice for publicising private blogs.

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9 comments:

Rick said...

Man... this is a huge bummer. Do you know any workarounds for this?

I train new teams in my organization, and am wanting to set up a private blog for each of the new teams that they could use for venting, asking questions, and giving updates. I would then subscribe to all my teams' blogs via RSS. Any suggestions?

Chuck said...

Rick,

I read somewhere that Blogger is working on a way around this restriction. Stay tuned.

Rick said...

Thanks Chuck! My life would be complete and I could die a happy man if this were possible.

lmemmott said...

I ran up against this just this week as I was exploring the use of Glogger.com. Anyone know how to submit a formal feature request from the development team? This one is at the top of my list.

Chuck said...

Lmemmott,

Your best bet is the Blogger Wishlist. But the desire won't be any news to Blogger.

MidSpeck said...

I have an RSS feed that I have to log into to view. (Not with Blogger, lest I get anyone excited.) All you need is to do HTTP authentication. Using Thunderbird to view my feeds, this works rather well.

Chuck said...

Well, all we see from Blogger is "RSS Validation", so I would bet that we better prepare to be surprised.

ShaRhonda said...

okay, so if I am understanding this correctly, this means that my blog will not show up on the dashboards of my readers as well? Because that is the problem I am having right now.

Chuck said...

ShaRhonda,

The blog newsfeed is the source for the appearance in the Following Reading List, at the bottom of the dashboard. Private blogs won't show up there, updated. You'll only see public blog content there.