One of my predictions for 2008 (made exactly one year ago today) was that “One major podcast network goes down in flames.” This is one of those predictions you hate to make, but must make, because it's coming anyway and you need to plan for it.
I don't like making these kinds of predictions but, other predictions like these include “my head will have less hair this year than last” or, … “my first gen iPhone will be the last phone I ever need.” No matter how much you want some things not to happen …
If you haven't heard by now, Podango is having serious problems. From a note from Doug:
Our ability to continue operations past the end of this year (2008) is in question.
Doug and Lee were two of the nicest guys in this space. However, … the model was flawed (and they aren't the only one with this model, they're just the first ones to crash).
If you are a Podcaster on Podango (or any other site that has their domain name (not yours)), now is the time to own the very media you've worked so hard to create. If you use any other service (Feedburner, Amazon S3, Libsyn, etc.) map YOUR DOMAIN to THEIR SERVICE. Domains are currently $7.47 a year at this GoDaddy reseller – you have no excuse. This way if someone goes down (and they always go down), you can fix everything with the quick repoint of your domain name.
Don't just BE THE MEDIA … OWN THE MEDIA. Handing your content over to someone with a seriously flawed business model (and you know my feelings about Podcast Networks) with no plan of escape is as lame as launching a business with a seriously flawed business model and promising a world that you can't deliver.
If you are wondering what this means to the state of Podcasting, I point you to this Tweet:
Podango's problems say as little about the future of Podcasting as GM's problems say about the future of cars.
The news is full of stories of crooked companies and business models that simply can't exist anymore (bail-out, anyone?) that are blaming their epic falls on “the economy.” If the news was full of economics 101 stories deconstructing how bad business models often result in bad businesses that FAIL, we couldn't have 24 hours news networks.
But we're new media …
We're smarter than that, right?