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Podcast.com Has A New Look – Looks Like iTunes October 7, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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Podcast.com has a new look and it looks a lot like iTunes. To me that is a good thing. The url is a great generic and presents and opportunity. I don’t think that they want to compete with iTunes but instead provide an alternative for hard core podcasters and possible a deal with Microsoft Zune. If I were Zune I’d do a deal with podcast.com and tie a device like Zune to it.

I spoke with Glenn Gaudet of Podcast.com and he told me that “Podcast.com is the leading podcast aggregation web site that contains over 75,000 podcast programs and over one million episodes of audio and video podcast content. As a result, it is quickly becoming the web location of choice for podcast consuming enthusiasts.”

Podcasts have become a popular message medium for companies to promote their message and educate the market. However, the challenge associated with podcasts is the lack of information about who is consuming the podcast. Traditionally, the only information a content producer could get from a podcast was the number of downloads.

Podcast.com solves this core challenge by allowing content producers to segment their content into “channels” that allow the content producer to incorporate a call-to-action offers such as a free white paper and also require the podcast consumer to answer demographic questions prior to consumption of the podcast.

This new service gives content producers strong analytical information about who is consuming their podcasts and can turn their podcasts into a lead generation program.

A channel on Podcast.com is a purchased location on the Podcast.com website that allows you to control the content and messaging. It also contains some powerful features such as:

• Lead Generation
• Analytics
• Search Engine Optimization
• Channel Banner Control
• Mobile Phone Publishing
• Channel Promotion

After years of quietly becoming mainstream podcasts have certainly hit a tipping point and are now mainstream. When you don’t here all the buzz around podcasts and see them on sites like ESPN and others you know podcasts are mainstream.

The big question is the business model and monetization for content owners and the ability or marketers to get their messages in front of targeted consumers.

Comments»

1. ggaudet - October 8, 2008

Thanks John. While I am somewhat biased, I am a power podcast consumer. While I am forever appreciative for Apple’s role in helping to create the podcasting market through iPods and their desktop podcast creation applications, I find that as a user, Podcast.com is a far more oriented to my needs in terms of creating a collection, playlists and just searching for content in general. One of the coolest features is our “Newest” feature which allows me to take my collection of podcasts that I subscribe to and automatically create a list of newest episodes which can be then brought to iTunes, Zune and other podcatchers at the click of a button…

2. Gerry - October 9, 2008

I thought I would agree , but when I went to my podcast , it wouldn’t play . And, trying to downlaod it , gave me a 404 page. can you explain why?Thanks.

3. Becky Weiswasser - October 10, 2008

Putting ads on the pages of listed podcasters and making money from them is wrong and not ethical and that’s what Podcast.com does. Pull up any podcaster and you’ll see a handful of ads on that particular podcasters listing. The podcaster does all the work and more than likely makes nothing. Podcast.com lists their feed and they make money from someone elses hard work by selling ads. Are they sharing the money with the creator of the content they are listing? No. This is theft.
They get around anyone thinking that they (Podcast.com) are illegally listing the podcasters themselves by adding the following clever couple of lines (On the add a podcast site page):
“Don’t see your favorite podcast? You are in the right place. Add it to our index by submitting it here:”
Anything added to Podcast.com must be added only with the written permission from the actual podcast owner.
Keep away. They must have written permission from you to list your podcast.

4. Johan Nilsson - October 11, 2008

I agree with Becky Weiswasser. I discovered today that one of my podcasts is listed on Podcast.com. When I went there to check it out, I discovered not only alot of ads, my “most recent” episode is #44, and I released my 49th episode last weekend!

5. Bob Goyetche - October 14, 2008

Just plain wrong, and violates many of the CC licensing that podcasters use.

You’re right Becky, Theft is the only word for this.

stay away.

6. Mark Blevis - October 14, 2008

The podcast.com model is unscrupulous at best — that doesn’t consider how many Creative Commons licenses they are violating in the process. I’m interested in how podcast.com came about this model.

We’ll be discussing podcast.com on this week’s episode of Canadian Podcast Buffet (http://www.canadianpodcastbuffet.ca).

7. Andy Kaplan-Myrth - October 14, 2008

It’s been an open question for a long time in the Creative Commons community, what NonCommercial means. CC released NonCommercial Guidelines years ago but they’re only an unofficial guide, not official clarification of the licence, and have now been taken down. In their place, CC has undertaken a major study of what “NonCommercial Use” is understood to mean and what it should mean: http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/9557. In the meantime, CC Norge has released their own “Non-commercial Guide”, an online tool to help you figure out if your use is commercial or not, based on those older draft Guidelines.

One other thought: While I haven’t spent much time at podcast.com, it seems to me they’re indexing and linking to podcasts, not copying them. If so, that doesn’t really involve the copyright or CC licences at all. It may be unscrupulous, but that activity on their part at least would probably not be copyright infringement. Just a thought.

8. Andy Kaplan-Myrth - October 14, 2008

Shoot — forgot the link to the CC Norge tool: http://www.creativecommons.no/ncguide/

9. John Furrier - October 14, 2008

Hey Fellow Podcasters – I think that we need to cut Podcast.com some slack on this one. I see the debate and remember Podshow getting their asses handed to them on this issue, BUT it’s not like Podcast.com is pulling in much cash on these ads. What I like about what they are doing and why I posted this is that they are aggressively trying to get a revenue model going for the sector. We all know itunes has no business model.

I think that given the gravity of this conversation that podcasters who are interested in this issue should form an ad-hoc affliate program and work with Podcast.com to increase the payout for the ‘true value’ of podcasts.

Personally I think that the CC issue is important but it is not as critical as the undervalued nature of advertising in podcasts. Podcasts deliver very targetted users who are deeply engaged and effective yield on what ads deliver today is feable. I see a dire need for the podcasting sector to get the effective CPM yields up higher.

If I were podcast.com I’d have an opt-out button for folks who want to pull their shows down if they aren’t happy with the CC issue.

10. Bob Goyetche - October 14, 2008

Andy – What if a podcaster has determined that his/her RSS feed is CC licensed? Clearly pulling that content and putting it on a page with ads goes against the CC license, wouldn’t it?

I’m all for people trying to develop revenue models – but when that model goes against the content creators’ expressed wishes, then that’s not so cool.

The fact that it doesn’t generate much cash doesn’t enter into it. – it’s either ok or it isn’t. In the case of several of the podcasts listed, it’s not ok.

The whole idea behind CC is that the license is stated up front, so no one has to opt out – it’s up to the user of the content to respect the wishes of the content creator.

That being said, Glenn responded quickly to my email asking for one of my shows to be removed as it went against the CC license, so he’s responding better than podshow did. If the action is as quick as the response, I’ll be ok with how they’ve handled the issue – but still wish they had sought permission first…

11. John Furrier - October 14, 2008

Bob,
I know Glenn over there and they are good guys. I’m glad to hear that he’s responding quickly.

There should be a CC tag that allows crawlers to identify that content and treat it the way that CC intends.

Good points

12. Mark Blevis - October 14, 2008

I don’t think opt-out is an option. It should be opt-in. It should be that transparent.

Whether the revenue that podcast.com is bringing in is $0.10, $10 or $100, it’s highly unethical that they would capitalize on other people’s content even if the licensing is open to debate and even if the intent is to help drive up CPM for podcasters.

To his credit, Glenn has been very responsive. That’s incredibly important. However, if he had been proactive from the design stage, he would have likely built a better system, one that could gain the support of more people — one that wouldn’t draw the comparison to PodShow.

13. Andy Kaplan-Myrth - October 15, 2008

Hey Bob. You asked “What if a podcaster has determined that his/her RSS feed is CC licensed? Clearly pulling that content and putting it on a page with ads goes against the CC license, wouldn’t it?”

I guess if you think of not only your podcast and site content as CC licensed but also your RSS feed itself as an arrangement of the audio files and blog posts, then yes, then they *might* be violating the licence, since they copy your arrangement of the episodes. Although that strikes me as pretty tenuous.

I guess I’m a little surprised to find podcasters, the pioneers of new media, looking to extend copyright law to what is essentially linking, not copying. I know you’re content creators, so you’re rightly concerned with content ownership. But you also know that distribution and linking is the very nature of the internet, not just a popular activity on it these days, and it can’t really be stopped. I find that a bit confusing.

14. Becky Weiswasser - October 15, 2008

Podcast.Com is like the person that finds a manuscript (accidentally left behind at an airport or on a table in a coffee shop). Somewhere a writer has put in many hours into the creation of the novel.
Of course, the novel isn’t theirs but the individual that found the novel at the airport or in the coffee shop reads it and realizes the manuscript could be a best seller and upon this realization they re-title it, repackage it and then put their name on it claiming it as their own. Podcast.Com has found/taken our podcasts, repackaged them, added advertisements and put their name on the cover.
-Andy Kaplan, regarding your comment, “distribution and linking being the very nature of the internet”:
If you’re linking my content to a porn site (that sells sexual aids, etc) and my podcast listing is alongside an advertisement for vibrators,
shouldn’t I have the right/option to immediate deletion of my listing and shouldn’t they (without question) have written and asked me for permission to list my content in their directory in the first place? This balsy theft that results in a monetary gain for the podcast link thief may cost me my reputation, dollars (and more) when my link is seen (by others) where I wouldn’t want it to be. To be listed in telephone books there are agreements. Permission must be aquired from the content creator. Period.

15. John Furrier - October 15, 2008

Becky,
Your comparision to the script being left around isn’t plausible because podcast.com is aggregating.

Will you go after Google for putting ads in search results and your result in particular.

We all need to get over this CC religion and get with reality. If Podcast was remixing or playing your stuff then I’d say that’s a problem. They are providing a navigation and link benefit plus distribution (just like Google does on search).

I would suggest doing a private email list or password protecting your site if you don’t want distribution.

16. Canadian Podcast Buffet » 116: London Free-Press, Podcast Fee-Press and Near-Death Experiences - October 19, 2008

[…] Is podcast.com making money from your podcast? (Mark’s blog post) audio comment from Daniele Rossi web comment from Bill Deys more discussion can be found here […]

17. Andy Kaplan-Myrth - October 21, 2008

This discussion may be stale now, but I’ll respond in case anybody is still watching it.

Becky wrote, “If you’re linking my content to a porn site (that sells sexual aids, etc) and my podcast listing is alongside an advertisement for vibrators, shouldn’t I have the right/option to immediate deletion of my listing and shouldn’t they (without question) have written and asked me for permission to list my content in their directory in the first place? This balsy theft that results in a monetary gain for the podcast link thief may cost me my reputation, dollars (and more) when my link is seen (by others) where I wouldn’t want it to be.”

From the perspective of law, you need to determine if you are talking about copyright or something else. CC licences only deal with rights under copyright law, and nothing else. So if you’ve licensed your podcast audio under a CC licence, then you can’t stop somebody from copying it and distributing it elsewhere. Under Canadian copyright law, you have “moral rights” that you *might* try to use to stop copying of your work in association with pornography if you think that would damage your reputation. But if you’ve licensed it under a CC licence, then you have waived some of your moral rights. And anyhow, it has to be pretty egregious to make a moral rights case stick — probably not the sort of thing you’re claiming podcast.com is doing.

But podcast.com isn’t actually copying your audio files. I see complaints being framed in two different ways above: Some people seem to be saying that podcast.com is copying your RSS feed, which is itself under a CC NonCommercial licence. Perhaps — you could make that argument. I think that would be a novel argument, and a bit of a stretch, but I can’t think of any reason why it couldn’t work in principle. Why shouldn’t the order of audio files as defined in an RSS feed be subject to copyright?

Other people in the comments above seem to be putting aside the copyright argument altogether and instead making what we used to call a “deep linking” argument. That is, podcast.com is linking straight to your site’s content and putting it on their site and surrounding it with their own advertising, depriving you of visitors and control over what is displayed with your files. This kind of argument has nothing to do with copyright since it doesn’t involve copying content from your site. It used to get traction in the web 1.0 world because content from Site A on a page on Site B was new and pretty sneaky. But this is pretty much exactly what RSS feeds are for — allowing content to travel outside the site, either to end users or to aggregators. As John Furrier points out above, displaying content outside of its home site is what search engines do — if you’re against deep linking, you’re ultimately against Google as well. So I’m not sure a deep linking argument would have the same traction nowadays that it did when people were first shocked by aggregation sites in the 90s.

But the best thing to do in order to solve this problem is exactly what Mark and Bob did: contact the person who is linking to your content in a way you’re uncomfortable with and ask them to remove it. Much of the time, you’ll find that their actions were an honest mistake and they’ll do what they can to make it right.

Cheers,
Andy

18. ilias - October 24, 2008

hello,

Just a quick jump in:
podcast.com is like yahoo.com (in its early days) for podcasts. They are creating a directory of podcasts and they put ads on their pages. This is not really that unethical. Think of the bright side: you get to be known😉 And they have to pay for their servers (and make some money). I really don’t see the issue as neither yahoo.com neither podcast.com claim that they own the content, the closest they get to the content is a more or less a distributor.

Kind regards,

ilias,


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