Apr 8, 2006
Special Baby Bonus Item
Great question Norm! At the Podcamp Ohio there was a seisosn called, Why Podcasts Suck, or something like that, and part of the focus of that seisosn was your question. I didn't go it it- another competing seisosn captured my attention. I am someone who watches and listens to a number of podcasts. I ride the bus to work, and also listen in the car. Rachel Maddow and AC360 get me to work every morning! And I listen to all sorts of podcasts including the G-spod, but DJ G and Carman. I like the fact that podcasts can be everywhere from a person who simply records themselves to a polished professional show r a high quality radio-like program inthe middle of that spectrum.First, I'm not sure that Apple started podcasts. YouTube has been doing this for a while haven't they? Granted that is video mostly, but I think that points out one of the major problems- many people aren't clear what a podcast is exactly. It might be audio, it might be video, it might be an mp3 or it might be other formats. This confusion and lack of a simple avenue for podcasts is a part of the problem.Second, podcasts aren't searchable or indexed like blogs. sure you can do a search in iTunes, but my experience is that often I find too much junk I don't want and lose interest in going through the results before I find what I do want.I often get to blog entries on blogs I don't usually read because of search results or Google Alert results. I'l generally read individual blog entries, ad if a blog has several that interest me, I'll add it to my feed in Google Reader. There is no easy way to follow this style with podcasts in iTunes.Third, too many podcasts go belly up. Ill do a search and find one that looks interesting and on-topic, only to see that they only produced 1 or 2 episodes a few years ago. I'm guilty myself of not keeping up with producing my own podcast enough, so I get it, but this is a hindrance IMHO.Fourth, from a podcaster's perspective, itunes doesn't offer you very much. Unlike a blog, where readers post comments directly while reading your blog, it takes A LOT for a listener to go in and leave you a comment or a review, because most likely they are listening remotely on their iPod et al. It is easy to wonder, is anyone listening/watching? Is all of my work worth it? If Apple wanted to to thrive, it would make an easy way, within iTunes for you as the podcast producer to see how many are subscribed to your podcast, and other stuff that can help to keep a person engaged.I want to say something about the quality of what is out there. There are podcasts out there with great content, but the speaker is too annoying to listen to, and there are podcasts with a real lack of meaningful content, but which are a great listen. Not everyone coms across well as a voice or talking head. This is often less of an issue with blogging. I too, like the fact that podcasts are free, but I think that is a problem as well. I think podcast producers should be able to set a price- $.29 or $.49 or $.99 or something and allow a podcast to be an income stream, just like apps in the app store.
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