Tumblr Removes RSS Import Feature, Becomes Far Less Useful

Update July 6, 2011: Without notice, Tumblr is once again importing my feeds. The company says that it is grandfathering in those of us who had feeds but not allowing this feature for new accounts and not allowing new or modified feeds.

I’ve been using Tumblr as a place to aggregate some of my disparate content. When I checked the site tonight, I discovered it had not imported any content for two weeks a week. Without warning, Tumblr turned off the RSS import:

Tumblr has quietly removed the ability to automatically import RSS feeds to your tumblelog. They removed the feature during their recent redesign without give their users any warning.

So, if you were importing your Twitter feed, Weekly Top Artists, or other blog into Tumblr and noticed that it stopped working — that’s why.

I don’t know how many people were using Tumblr like this …. not too many, I guess, as there doesn’t seem to be lots of complaints. But it makes my account there worthless to me, because I’m not going to shift my blogging from WordPress to Tumblr.

Tumblr has not updated the support page on integration (screengrab), however:

You can automatically import feed (RSS/ATOM) content from other services as posts on your blog. From the Dashboard, click Customize → Services to add feeds to import.

When a new feed is added to Tumblr, its most recent post will be imported, followed by any posts added from that point forward. Tumblr skips any entries that are more than 2 days old.

The time between updates can vary greatly depending on the service. We try to crawl feeds once every hour, but we do respect each feed’s “Time To Live” (TTL) declaration which may affect the update interval.

If the dates and times on feed items are missing or are all identical, then Tumblr can’t import the feed. It won’t be able to tell new content from old content. If this happens with one of your feeds, we suggest you speak with the service creating the feed and ask that they add unique timestamps.

You must continue posting or logging in to Tumblr for feed imports to remain active.

This is not true. The only access to “customize” is through this link … and the only options are to EXPORT Tumblr posts to Facebook or Twitter. No import.

tumblr dashboard
The Tumblr Dashboard No Longer Allows RSS Feeds To Be Imported

Update from @c0up (emphasis added):

This is what Tumblr customer support had to say…

Hi Karma,

In order to conserve our resources, Tumblr is no longer supporting feed imports on blogs that have not already imported feeds in the past. We deeply regret any inconvenience that this may cause. But, this change will allow us to focus our resources and energy on other useful Tumblr features.

Sorry we can’t be more help,


However, this is also a, umm, lie. My Tumblr has been importing feeds for a LONG time … and it’s no longer importing anything.

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

20 replies on “Tumblr Removes RSS Import Feature, Becomes Far Less Useful”

I’m a bit slow on the uptake but the reason I was using tumblr was to aggregate all my blogs on blogger so that my cards could be shown. I found a RSS aggregator and will push my blogs to Tumblr with but what a palaver ! :( Thank you for your post, it just confirmed what I feared.

I ended up with the third YouTube video imported out of 3 I posted to my YT acct last night. Maybe they should just shut down importing for good if they don’t want to get it to work properly. :\

Hi Justin – good to know that they are consistent in their answer about grandfathering and managing resources.

I checked yesterday and my feeds are importing again. WTH? Nothing from Tumblr when they turned them off, nothing from Tumblr when they turned them back on.

I contacted Tumblr Support (whom is ever attentive & wonderful) about the RSS issue-

Had unconnected a Feed to work on things and when to reinstall.

They responded:

In order to conserve our resources, Tumblr is no longer supporting feed imports on blogs that have not already imported feeds in the past. We deeply regret any inconvenience that this may cause. But, this change will allow us to focus our resources and energy on other useful Tumblr features.

At least they’re Grandfathering the existing ones though all mine are still working & I can add new ones to those with them already.

Streams with no existing RSS, no dice. sad.

Tumblr seems to be run be people who don’t use it in many ways.

Starting to get a little jenky but still the best platform in town.

Hi Kathy,

Sorry for the late reply.

Here are some screenshots.



However, I might need to retract some points made on my previous comments. I have two tumblr accounts. After having checked both if the import feature is still on, only the one in which the import feeds has been active in the past has this feature turned on, just like what has been stated on the customer support reply. On the other tumblog, it is nowhere to be found.

Hello, I had the same problem and searched for Google and that’s how I arrived at your blog.

However, navigating on the new dashboard, the RSS Import feature is STILL active (thus, the ability to import tweets). While it was located under services on the “Customize” section for the theme, it now can be found under “Settings” right from your dashboard. Check it out, it’s still there, they just moved things around, as well as the site indexing settings.

Hope that helps.

I stopped using Tumblr about a year ago when they made it a requirement that you had to visit your tumblr admin page at least once per week for their system to continue reading from your RSS feeds. I also used Tumblr to aggregate my different blogs and sites. I now have a much better system using PlanetPlanet software.

It won’t get as much automatic exposure as it would on Tumblr, but if you’re basically looking for a good personal archive with some social features, Google Buzz does a good job at aggregating your content from RSS. I’ve heard of people using FriendFeed for this purpose as well.

I noticed the Tumblr loss of RSS imports soon after the dashboard and site changes. Even if they follow what that support email said, nothing is importing that I had running before the update. Also, if this were true, that it could still be used by those using RSS feeds prior to the update, I see no way to adjust the settings to stop the options if I wanted to.

Its also been annoying that you only have one option for Facebook: post everything, or post nothing. With Twitter you can at least use the option at time of posting.

Thanks for sharing the info.

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