Anchor.fm announced YET ANOTHER major update. Each time they do this, they get all sorts of press, people run over there, try it out and then leave. They are always close, but from what I see they still don't get podcasting. I didn't get a chance to talk to them like I did Spreaker, Podbean, Blubrry and Libsyn at the Podfest conference.
Oh, that's right, they weren't there.
I would say they couldn't afford it, but I do see where they are giving people $1000 just to get listeners.
Full disclosure, I work for Libsyn, but you will see I am basing this on facts and I will note opinions. I'm writing this as Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting.
Here is a brief history of Anchor.fm
February 9, 2016, They Launch, “we recently raised over $1.6MM”
March 7, 2017, Anchor 2.0 with 2.8 M in funding
Sep 28, 2017 – they announce that their latest funding “bringing our total amount raised to nearly $15M”
February 3rd, 2018 – Anchor 3.0 that seems to promise the ability to upload whatever you want, as much as you want, and get as many downloads as you want for free. What a great business model (?).
Here are some other fun things Achor has done or added:
So what's the problem?
Putting YOUR Show Under THEIR Apple ID IS STUPID
Well for a while, they seemed to hold you podcast hostage (it was unclear – if you type “301” in their help documentation it came up blank). We did get an answer. If you want to leave, they WILL redirect your feed (you STILL have to ask – this is not available in the dashboard, so you are still 100% reliant on them). They will even help transfer your show to your Apple ID (you see if they submit it “For you” they OWN YOUR SHOW– and you won't be able to see your stats in Apple Podcastsconnect.apple.com).
Why would a company even consider getting between you and your Apple stats?
Well, according to support worker Fiaza on 2/15/17, “We're working hard to get all the stat info integrated from iTunes, so you can hopefully see all that fun stuff in Anchor soon!” The fact that this is even an option (controlling someone's podcasts on THEIR Apple ID shows that (OPINION) they still don't 100% get podcasting – of the hosting companies I mentioned above NONE of them control your show in Apple Podcasts). Their answer (from a year ago) is to bring the Apple stats to you. Get in line behind all the other podcast hosting companies. So far, that is NOT happening.
Controlling Distribution – Kind Of
You can set an episode to “go everywhere” (which means it's available via RSS) or if you say “Anchor only” it won't go into your feed. I'm waiting to hear if I can have it in my RSS feed without them submitting my feed.
What makes me nervous is this text from their help section of their website:
If you are ready to publish your episode, you can:
- Edit the episode title
- Edit the episode description
- Distribute your podcast externally to additional platforms (we recommend this!)
- If you only wish to publish it on Anchor, toggle that button
- Share your episode via Twitter and/or Facebook
If you choose to distribute externally, you will then be prompted to set up your podcast!
You will then be able to:
- Edit your podcast name
- Edit your podcast description
- Choose your podcast cover art
- Pick your podcast category
All of your podcast information can be edited later on as well, from your account settings.
That's it! Once you submit your podcast, it can take up to 48 hours for it to be approved by the major podcast providers we currently distribute to.
Current list of supported external platforms:
- Apple Podcasts (aka iTunes)
- Google Play Music
- Pocket Casts
So here again, they aren't asking for your Apple ID (they shouldn't as its tied to your credit card) which means this submission is going under THEIR Apple ID.
They Appear To Be Clueless (Opinion)
In addition to the above “help” section that walks you through signing away the access to your show on the Apple platform (you know the one that has about 60-80% of the market), they also feel that Overcast, and Pocket Casts need a special submission. For the record, I've never submitted my show to these platforms and appear in both. Why? It is my understanding that BOTH of these apps pull from Apple's backend so when you are accepted into Apple Podcasts, you are accepted into those other platforms.
Here again come those pesky facts I talked about. Here are screenshots about submitting your show to Pocket Casts and Overcast.fm
So are they CLUELESS, or are they PREYING ON THE UNINFORMED?
OR BOTH (Just asking).
The jury is still out but the court of public opinion needs people to get informed.
The Cherry On Top of the Sundae
The biggest reason I don't like anchor.fm is their pricing/business model. According to their website, “you can host all of your episodes, no matter how long they are or how many downloads they get, 100% free at anchor.fm.”
So you can upload GIGS of information a month if you want, have a billion listeners and it's all free. Bandwidth is not free. This has been done (free media hosting typically lasts about 31 months see free media hosting article) and I hate to see new podcasters attaching their car to a Train that has already set 15 Million on fire and set to go off the tracks (eventually you have to make money).
There is a name for businesses that use this model: