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When Does A Podcast No Longer Require Her Own Website?

At the big Ed Dale “Coming Home 3” event this weekend, we got a chance to record a very special live version of Internet Marketing This Week as well as talk over some changes and ideas we have for future versions of the show. A plan for season 2, if you will. More on the specifics of that later.

One of the big questions we asked … Does the show actually need a website anymore? The Facebook Fan Page for the site does pretty much everything we do at the site – and it always feels pretty silly duplicating our content efforts.

We could easily make www.internetmarketingthisweek.com forward to the Facebook page and lose very little – while gaining back some time in the process.

Obviously, if we were an entity that sold ads at the site, we wouldn’t be asking this question. Since the monetization of the Podcast comes from building an audience that knows, likes and trusts us, what point is there in having the site?

And, if needed, we could always put ads and the like into the copy of the content at Facebook – disclosing accordingly of course.

I thought I’d pass this question on to you and see what you have to say.

When does a Podcast no longer need her own Website?

About Podango’s Demise And The Smart Podcaster’s Response

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.

I’d link to show you that quote but, … the server is currently showing a 503 error. Here’s some commentary from Michael Geoghegan and a bit from Podcasting News as well.

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?

Right?

You Can’t Handle The Truth About Podcasting

First, please watch this embedded clip from YouTube to put you in the proper mindset.

You can’t handle the truth!

Son, we work on an Internet that has limits. And these limits can’t be changed with men with vc funding – no matter how much you’ve got.

Who’s gonna stream to millions at once? You? You, Hulu?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You praise streaming and you curse the Podcast. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not admitting what I know: that streaming, while sexy, simply can’t scale.

And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is the future of media online…

You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want portable time-shifted media. You need portable time-shifted media – without the restrictions that simply won’t scale.

We use words like streaming, drm, walls … we curse these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under tens of millions of dollars in funding without ever facing the truth, and then questions the manner in which I provide it!

I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you tell me how your plan on streaming to millions of users at the same time. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think our future is!

As much as I just enjoyed watching 30 Rock on Hulu a few minutes ago, …

Streaming won’t scale.

DRM won’t scale.

Devices that dial home with my watching habits won’t scale.

Oprah tried, and fell flat on her face, and then released everything she had via Podcast.

Did her impact change? Did she make any less money? Did they sell less copies of that “New Earth” book?

Do we have something to learn from Oprah?

Yes, we can track everything – but at some point it all falls apart. I point to the USSR and East Germany as recent examples.

Yes, we can stream video right now but it is simply nothing compared to a few million people watching American Idol on a Wednesday night. If you want the numbers television provides on our glorious Interweb then, dear friends, you’re going to have to find something that scales – something that “works.”

Podcasting can scale.

Without the need to call back home, without the need to worry about where every 1 and 0 is located, without the need to own it all, this can work. Podcasting can scale.

Streaming can’t.

DRM can’t.

You can’t handle the truth about Podcasting.

Thoughts?

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The 12/07 Podango Downtime Can Have An Upside If They Do This Right

Let me start by saying that I’ve been a big fan of Podango since day 1. I’ve liked their people and their model. I keynoted their first “Unconference.” I launched the “Internet Marketing Podcast Network” with them and have blogged about them numerous times. Even had Lee Gibbons on both the Electronic Marketing Interviews show and on New Media Matters.

I went really loopy when they bought Gigavox from Podango. I was like two friends getting married. That system is the bedrock of all of my audio Podcasts right now.

Well, around New Years Eve, the honeymoon was over. I tried to publish something before the old year was over and the Gigavox / Podango publishing system was down. A little research in some forums shown it had been down for awhile.

Note: Not all of Podango, this was just an issue with the Showbuilder Lite system (the part I use).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand holiday breaks and the like but … there was no way to contact anyone (minus the old rolodex) and I tried everything I could.

It remained down.

For at least a week.

I told Lee (sometimes with all caps ;-)) and the gang that this was unacceptable (they agreed) and that we needed to move from a “sorry we were down” to a “when we go down next time here is how things will change” kind of approach. In this space, things go down, the issue is what we do about it and be pro-active instead of re-active.

I bullied them into getting me a downtime document by Friday the 4th with the promise that I would Blog accordingly and explain what I thought of the document or that the document never arrived.

The document arrived. On time.

It wasn’t perfect. Really, it wasn’t even ‘close.’

I suggested a few things.

They agreed. They edited. We’re in ‘close’ mode now.

And here is what they offered me. Here’s what they offered the community.

1 – I asked for an off-site area to post downtime issues, etc. Here was the email response

Yes, Paul. You may post that we will have it. InsidePodango.com is the domain. It will be set up and functional by Monday close of business.

We will use this domain for technology focused updates, including:
– System Status Notifications
– System Update Notifications
– Known Issues and Resolution Targets
– A Podango BBS
– Access to the Podango Learning Center
– RSS feeds for posts related to specific categories of info: system status notifications, produce news, al posts…
– Etc.

Clearly, not all of these things will be available on Monday, but
this is where we want to take it.

The site is live. Step 1.

2 – This note was sent on the 8th. They could have hid and “hoped” most people didn’t notice the downtime but they sent this:

Dear Podango Show Builder Lite user,
As you may be aware, Podango Show Builder Lite (formerly Gigavox Audio Lite) has been experiencing some technical difficulties in a couple of key areas. The main problem has been with uploading, but we have received reports of problems with assembly in some isolated instances as well.

First, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and trouble that this may have caused you. The road to transition has been a little rockier than we would have liked or initially anticipated. We are working diligently on the transition and hope to be fully transitioned soon.

Secondly, we believe the issues surrounding uploading have been resolved. If you continue to experience problems uploading–or any other issues, please let us know by way of the method described below.

Thirdly, I want to let you know how to best help us help you when issues arise. To get support, please email psbl-support@podango.com and give us your name, Podango Show Builder Lite username (we don’t need your password), and a description of the issue you’re seeing with as much detail as possible. Someone will respond to your issue shortly to let you know that we’ve received your message and will help resolve the issue. To make sure that we are timely in our response and aware of all new issues, in addition to us receiving your message via email, our email system will also send us a message to our support pagers, so that we will instantly be alerted that there is an issue that needs resolution.

In closing, We appreciate your patience and participation as we move to make this great service even better. We value your contribution to the podcasting community at large, and welcome your feedback on how to make our service even better.

In great cause together,

JT Zemp
CTO – Podango

That was the right thing to do. You’ll notice they gave an email address contact that goes to pagers, not an inbox that nobody checks.

And I support the transparency 100%. Step 2.

3 – Lee and I had dinner at CES. We’re going to continue this dialog and document.

So, as I said in the title to this posting, the downtime can be good for them if they do this right. Allowing me to air a little of their dirty laundry in an attempt to prove they’ve changed soaps is a bold move and I salute them for it.

In a few months I’ll salute either their success in making this happen or … let you know where I’m moving to.

I really hope it’s “Option A.”

My gut tells me it will be, but time will tell the true story.

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Streaming’s Decline Is New Media’s Gain

Was on the phone with a business partner today. We were lamenting some of the funny little trends in our industry.

And then a few things hit me.

And, as always, I thought I’d share:

So much (I’d say like 95%) of our paradigm for media over the Internet comes with heavy dose of old school streaming baggage.

You know the drill – most people think the servers for Podcasting are somehow more expensive than traditional servers. They think in terms of how may simultaneous streams can/should be handled, etc.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told the Podcasting story, was forced to relate it to streaming, and when I explained how much better our model is, ended up with an audience who simply wouldn’t believe. “It can’t be that easy” has always been in the back of their minds.

There are basically only two things “streaming servers” bring to the table these days: 1) The ability to do a “live event” when a “live event” was/is needed and 2) The “permission” from the RIAA to stream their music.

Well we all know #2 is quickly going the way of the dinosaur.

So, the “live” event.

Services like PhoneAndWebcast.com (AFFILIATE LINK) have made that possible and obscenely easy. For $50 a month I can “stream” to 2000 people at once. If I need more, that’s easy too. And who needs player compatiblity and format issues – it’s an MP3 stream – I can run it through Windows Media Player, Apple iTunes, WinAmp – it don’t matter.

I can stream for pennies of what it used to cost. Pennies.

There’s a funny little thread at Techmeme right now that paid video services have “no future.” It comes from a well-timed Forrester report that claims the future of video is, again, streaming.

I need to remind you where streaming came from.

A history lesson if you will.

See, for a long time, we had no choice but to stream. Internet was so stinking slow that our best bet for media delivery was to through a lot of money on machines that could delivery a second of (low bitrate quality) content every second. We could then cache about 10 seconds and start the “show.” It was as expensive as a Jim Edwards haircut, but it worked.

Jim Edwards’ haircut made him look a lot better than early streaming platforms ever made the people who ponied up the big bucks to make it happen – but that, too, is another story.

But, again, we streamed because we had no choice. Nobody would put up with a 5 hour download for an album.

But, see, we don’t need that anymore.

Songs download in less than a minute. Television shows show up in 5 minutes. Services like Amazon Unbox let us start playing just a minute or two into the download.

Streaming, as we knew/know it, is moot.

It’s kinda like those floppy drives – when was the last time you used yours? Sure, I could send you some stuff via floppy but in the time it would take you to load it, I could have sent ten times as much via the Web.

So, streaming as we know/knew it is moot.

The stuff we could only get over stream now is unaffordable to stream.

Streaming is moot.

That’s o.k., that’s good.

Because it only means that Podcasting is on her way up.

The Forrester report is fascinating. Notice how the “implications” make one segment of the market very happy. Notice how they simply don’t ask this question:

How could 6 streamed commercials make NBC more money on a “The Office” episode than selling it at iTunes for a $1.99? We’re not that stupid.

Now for the geeks in the audience, I know where you’re going to go. Paul, what about …

Flash Video Stuff

or

Microsoft Silverlight

or whatever Java has dreamed up to “compete.”

There are a place for these things – but they are all about connected experiences.

Because everyone in the world wants to watch tv on their computer, right?

Wrong.

They just did, in the past, because that was their only option.

We have more options now.

I’d love your thoughts?

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Google Quietly Enters Podcast Space – And It (Surprisingly) Ain’t Ready for Prime Time

I saw this Adwords ad when searching Google:

Share Your Podcasts
Upload podcasts through Google Base
so millions of users can find them
google.com/base

Wow, this could get interesting. Click through to this …

You’ve got the podcast. Now, by uploading it to Google Base, you can help ensure that millions of Google users will be able to find it in their search results.

Sure gonna try that one.

So, you click through to “Post an Item” – Podcasting is one of the choices.

Wow, I decide to post Episode 1 of Profitable Podcasting. I get this note of all things:

Warning: We don’t recognize the file extension .mp3. Once it’s done uploading we will tell you for sure whether or not you can attach it.

Hmm, Google, sloppy beta testing …

Still waiting for upload.

15 minutes later … still waiting for upload. I’m guess we have a problem here. Will give it 15 more.

O.k., upload ain’t working – maybe it is a Mac issue (I am using Firefox). Let’s try the “Get a file from the web (URL)…” Same message about not knowing the whole MP3 thing.

O.k., it attaches via Web – good news.

Bad news – it attaches 1.13kb worth.

So I go to publish …

Drumroll please …

Oh yes, … here it is …

Of course, it doesn’t link to a real MP3 file. And I gave it one (tested twice). Not quite sure.

I guess this feature isn’t ready for prime time yet.

Anyone else seen success?

Google, what are you trying to do here?

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Podcast Hosting Unlimited Bandwidth

Let’s explain this as easily as possible:

Bandwidth costs money. Hosting providers pay for bandwidth. Hosting providers that give away unlimited bandwidth for free won’t be hosting providers for long.

However, … the “buy in bulk” principle applies to bandwidth almost better than anywhere else. If done right, a Podcast that does a terabyte a day can still be financed for a small percentage of 1 ad insertion in the show.

The following Web hosting providers all offer 1000 gigs of transfer (or more) for $10 (or less). I call them the Ten Buck Terabyte list:

I will gladly add to this list any legitimate hosting firm – just comment below. Only requirement – they must offer 1,000 gig of transfer for less than $10.

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Yes, if they have a program, I’ll be using my affiliate links.

GoDaddy Podcast Hosting

I’m sure that this happened in direct response to my 1and1.com discount Podcasting hosting post ;-). Really, that’s the kind of power this Blog wields.

The weekend is only moments away dear friends …

In short, www.GoDaddy.com is now offering some pretty insane Podcasting hosting / service packages as well.

Click on their Hosting options and you’ll see some very cool opportunities:

Deluxe Plan, 1 Gig of Transfer, $6.99 a Month.

Premium Plan, 2 Gig of Transfer, $14.99 a Month.

Go……………Daddy …

P.s., don’t confuse this with the Quick Podcast from GoDaddy.com package, which wants to charge more for, well, less. I’m sure they just haven’t updated that area of there site yet?
.

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www.godaddy.com

And, yes, this is an affiliate link. They may not sponsor any of my Podcasts (did I offend?), but they have a good little program here.

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