It started as Podshow, and they told everyone you can quit you day job and start podcasting. A handful did.
I remember making $300 for putting in a McDonalds ad into my show. It was cool.
Later they changed their name to Mevio. Most of the sponsors turned into affiliate programs. They stated they the affiliate deals were better than what we could get on our own. I didn't see it (including any stats on clicks and conversions), but I was getting free hosting, and regular checks. We had a group of podcasters, but we couldn't connect. The first New Media Expo, we all got to hang out. After that it was on. For whatever reason Mevio didn't create any kind of “official” forum for the podcasters. They also started getting slower and slower on answering questions. The line up started changing. Key people left. We were getting no information.
We created an online group (it might've been yahoo, I forget). The communication between fellow mevio podcasters was awesome. We put into plans to help promote each other. To grow each others audience. We also started to piece together what was really happening at Mevio. Why was it that when I logged into to post a show I still had to watch and ad. Why was it that we couldn't point people directly at our affiliate links, but to our affiliate links on their website (it seemed like an extra click). They were trying to get SEO juice with backlinks to their site. Why? They weren't interested in good content anymore. There was no application and approval process. Come one – come all. They would take on any podcaster who could spew an affiliate code and point back to their site. People thought they had hit the jackpot getting on Mevio. Sure it saved you $15 a month in hosting, but these poor people had come late to the game. Nobody was quitting their day job, and at this point many people (at Mevio) were losing their day jobs.
Later Adam Curry left. That's when I knew it was a matter of time.
For the record, I don't think Adam had anything to do with this. Adam is a great idea man. He thinks way outside the box. I have huge props for the podfather. If you're not listening to No Agenda, wake up people you country is slowly melting away.
From my point of view, my guess is their business model was all about ad plays on their site and selling advertising (not for podcasters, but for their website). That's about the time they kicked out the audio podcasters. Some of us went to Libsyn.com, some of us went to Blubrry.com (you can get a free month at either place using the coupon sopfree). They shifted from the ear business, to the eye business.
This week they closed the doors. 39 million dollars – gone.
They open offices in the UK and Ireland, and in LA.
December 2006 the network produced 52 million download requests (or so they stated).
They purchased Podcast Alley (and later, it pretty much closed), and launched the Podsafe Music Network (something I hope stays online).
What I Remember Them Doing Wrong.
They were ahead of their time. Now we see podcastone.com and themidroll.com getting advertising that is working in podcasts. They really, really, really had to fight to get those first ads. Kudos to the early sales guys.
They hijacked their producers feeds and made duplicates in iTunes. Welcome to Podshow kids, we control your feed now (this was later fixed, but what an awful first impression)
They spent a long time trying to turn mevio into a content consumption site. To make it easier to subscribe to podcasts. When iTunes came along, the game was over, but they still insisted. Lots of money was wasted.
The missed out on getting podcasters who were engaged with their audience, and they did a crappy job of promoting who they had. They had tons of technology that sat there wasted. I could've been able to insert my own ads, (dynamically) but I wasn't allowed to play with the grown up toys.
Podcasters had to trust that they were not getting screwed out of commissions. When we all got to talk to each other, it got ugly. When the “key contact” people turned into a key person (who changed on a nearly monthly basis) it got worse.
Communication is the lubrication of any company, and they sucked at it from day one. When they found out about the “private” producers group we created they were not happy and insisted on being involved. They did “man up” for a few posts and admit what was going wrong, they pulled back the curtain, and almost inspired trust. They took it over and then they disappeared. One of the worst things you can do is ask for someone's opinion – and then ignore it. It was a great moral booster, and I'm guessing most of us didn't pimp our codes so much after that (we just enjoyed the free hosting).
They wasted 39 million dollars. That's amazing. I would love to know where that went. Is rent that expensive in San Francisco?
To Cali Lewis, C.C. Chapman, Dawn and Drew, Michael Butler, Marcus Couch, Anji Bee, Mage Weinstein, Brent with Podshow radio, and many others.
I will always remember the hope, and thank them for the shot they gave me.
Good luck as http://www.bitesizetv.com/