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Another Clueless Free Podcast Media Host Goes Out of Business

Another free podcast hosting company has bitten the dust.

Opinion podcast app launched in November of 2015 and today they launched a free podcast media hosting. Reviews and descriptions went like this on the next web website, “I’ve seen nothing as simple and straightforward for getting started in podcasting as Opinion. It’s still iOS-only, which is something the Seedcamp-backed startup will need to address, and editing lacks finesse (no ability to fade music out, for example) but there’s a really great product coming together here.”

So I reached out to them with my criteria.

  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage.
  • Stats
  • Support
  • The Ability to do a redirect and take my subscribers with me (very important).

The co-founder replied. Here is the exchange:

here is an e-mail exchange I had with the co-founder:

Dave: I'm working on a story for mobile podcasting, and I found your site. If someone joins your site, and later wants to leave do you offer a 301 redirect so they can point their old RSS feed to their new RSS feed?

Tor Rauden Källstigen (CEO and co-founder): Hi! Thanks for reaching out!

We don't offer 301:s at the moment, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem since iTunes Connect is allowing users to change their RSS-feed nowadays:

Dave: Wow, that's a shame. This means your customers have no way to migrate to another host.

Hosting platforms like Libsyn.com, Spreaker, Blubrry, podbean, all offer ways for people to migrate off their platform.

If they leave your platform, they leave their subscribers. When you change your feed in iTunes connect,

your subscriber base is still looking at your old feed (they never get the note that you moved).

This is really bad.

Tor Rauden Källstigen (CEO and co-founder): Yes, that's the case unfortunately, but on the other hand our service is free compared to the other examples.

Dave: How do you guys stay in business with a free business model?

Tor Rauden Källstigen (CEO and co-founder): Hi! We have a (very cheap) in-app purchase for unlocking audio recording longer than 10 minutes.

Surprised they made it three years

What You Can Learn From That Email

  1. Advising someone to change their feed in podcastconnect is about as good advice as giving a toddler a fork and sitting them in front of an electrical outlet.
  2. When companies refuse to redirect your feed, you are stuck using their service or losing your audience if you leave.
  3. You get what you pay for.

For those that stuck around, you are losing your audience anyway.

Don't Be Fooled

In 2017 they were voted:

Best iPhone and iPad app by Wired and Wired UK

Forbes listed them as 10 Marketing Tools Your Agency Won't Tell You About

Macworld UK – 12 iPhone Only Apps to make Android Jealous

Featured on Mashable's Can't Miss List

Best new app according to Next Web

Gizmodo's app of the week

Best new app in the app store

Why Didn't Opinion Podcast App Work?

On April 6th 2016 they stated, “We felt that podcast discovery has remained broken over a decade now – and this is our answer to that. Curated editorial playlists, supported by great machine learning powered recommendations.” The problem with a company focusing on the “discovery problem” is for the end user, there is no discovery problem. The people who think there is a discovery problem are podcast creators because there are already 200 Fantasy Football shows, and when you type in “Fantasy Football” there show doesn't show up. The end user has no problem finding a show. In my opinion, the discovery problem is finding a good show. So you focused on a problem that doesn't exist.

When a company uses a free blogging tool for their blog – that's a RED FLAG. It doesn't build confidence in your brand.

Free Media Hosting has been tried multiple times, and if someone gets big enough to get sponsors – they leave. The thing that the hosting companies plan on making money (a cut of sponsorship) they never see.

Bandwidth is not free. So when you brag that you had 700 hours of content put out in one day (for 100,000 users, that is .42 minutes) that bandwidth is not free. Someone needs to pay for that.

The company (in my opinion) jumped on podcasting because it was “hot” and tried to make a buck with a bunch of programmers who OBVIOUSLY didn't understand the front or backend of podcasting. This is like hiring a football coach who has only played soccer. Similar field, but different game.

Are You Listening Anchor.fm Users?

Anchor is free. They say in the future they will split the profits. Forgive me for being a stickler on math, but 50% of free is still 0.

While they do provide redirects, they OWN YOUR FEED. So when the new statistics come out later in 2017, you won't be able to see them. They are not a real podcast host.

Anchor.fm may be a fun way to interact with your audience, but I WOULD NOT build my podcast on Anchor.fm. I would give them another two years before they fold.

How Long Does Free Last?

Opinion Podcasting 11/2015-10/2017  (23 months)

Audiometric.io 11/ 2012 – 8/2014 (21 months before being purchased by panoply and taken off the market)

Podango 9/2006 – 12/2008 (27 Months)

wildvoice.com 7/2006 7/2009 (36 months)

Podshow/Mevio 8/2005 – 4/2014 (116 months – 38.8 million dollars spent)

mypodcasts.com 2007 – 2011 (estimated 48 months)

The average is 45 months. Take Podshow and their 38 million out of the picture and that drops to 31 (which is close to my typical answer of three years or 36 months)

Better Podcast Media Hosting Solutions

My favorite hosts are

Libsyn.com 

Blubrry.com

Spreaker.com

Podbean.com

Use the coupon code sopfree to get a free month at any of the above.

(In that order). For more information go to www.podcastmediahosting.com

Full disclosure, after being a customer for 10 years, I am now an employee of Libsyn. People say, “Oh you think libsyn is the best because you work for them.” To that I answer, “No, because Libsyn.com is the best – I work for them.”

Would You Spend $5.99 to Save $120?

Last year I was involved with a documentary called, “The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary” and on August 23rd it becomes available in iTunes. We want it to come out at number one. My incentive for you is simple.

  1. Go to www.schoolofpodcasting.com/themessengers and preorder the movie ($5.99) and take a screenshot
  2. Send an email to me dave “at” schoolofpodcasting.com (you see what I'm doing there right?) with the subject “I have a message – your name”
  3. I will send you a coupon for 4o% off your first six months at the School of Podcasting (or one month if you don't want to stay six months). That is a saving of $20 a month. Over six months you would save $120.
  4. I will also send you a link where you can sign up to win items like a Heil PR4o, Tascam digital recorders, Headphones, Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot, Amazon Gift cards.

All you have to do is spend $5.99 at www.schoolofpodcasting.com/themessengers

Here is a video of people commenting at the screening in New York City

 

www.schoolofpodcasting.com/themessengers

Quit Podcasting Like it’s 2012

Once upon a time, a podcast consultant came up with a podcast workflow. I didn't think it was great advice in 2012, and now five years later it's horrible advice. The advice was to use Feedburner (so you could redirect your feed if you need to), PowerPress plugin for your feed, and Libsyn.com as your media host. While the PowerPress plugin is a good plugin, after having a few sites hacked I no longer trust WordPress. I use it, but I always follow these guidelines:

  1. Get rid of any theme, or plugin you are not using
  2. Keep your site up to date. Update any plugin or theme.
  3. Always have a backup.

The other problem with this strategy was that it recommended using a feature in Libsyn called “File For Download Only.” This is meant for people with membership sites, email lists, etc. They could upload their bonus information and never have to worry about their files going to the public (iTunes). In a nutshell its for people who DO NOT want their files to be seen. The strategy from 2012, says take that feature (meant for people trying to control access) and use it to blast your episodes to everyone. The reason? You could have multiple feeds from one Libsyn.com account (saving you $15-$20 typically per month). I've always found this ironic as the people who perpetuate this workflow make tons of cash.

This video shows you the pros and cons of using the 2012 workflow, and instead, shows you how to get the most out of your Libsyn.com account (use the coupon code sopfree to get a free month)

RINGR Now Works with Lighting Ports and Offers Discounted Pricing

RingrRingr has released an update which now means RINGR will recognize a lightning port (so you could use a “Camera kit” and plug your ATR2100 into your iPhone and RINGR will recognize it. They also now give discounts for people who purchase a year in advance ($15/month) For more information see http://ringr.com/podcastcoach

A “Camera kit” (or USB to lightning adapter) is around $30.

Podcasting Lessons From The Lead Singer of Stryper Michael Sweet

I grew up listening to Styper and have always been blown away by their lead singer Michael Sweet. I'm currently readying his book Honestly My Life and Stryper revealed

I'm only 47% of the way through this book, but there are some great lessons that you (as a podcaster ) can take away.

Check out this video below

Check out Styper's latest release (super heavy and Michael is still hitting notes only Dogs can hear http://amzn.to/2jQS8zg )

Michaels Solo stuff is equally awesome. Check him out at www.michaelsweet.com

Who is the Next Hendrix of Podcasting?

This article originally appeared in Podertainment Magazine in 2014, but the questions are still the same (I did add a new paragraph).

Jimi Hendrix loved to play the guitar. He took one with him every place he went. He had two passions: guitars, and women. I was watching a new movie on Netflix called Jimi Hendrix Hear My train a Cominand it shows some new footage of Jimi at the Monterey Pop festival. One of the things I love about this new footage of the festival isn’t of Jimi. It’s of the audience sitting there with their minds blown as they try to comprehend what they are watching. The movie gave me some new insights on old facts.

  1. Hendrix couldn’t get anything going in the USA. He had to go to England to get a record deal. He had perseverance to chase his dream.
  1. He had only been playing clubs a very short time when four guys named Ringo, John, Paul, and George came into the same club (please tell me you know who the Beatles are). Along with the rest of the people in the club, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. While, it’s cool to have the Beatles go, “Whoa. what is that?” There is something to remember (see #3)
  1. This is still before twitter, before the Internet, before fax machines. He couldn’t get booked on the Ed Sullivan show (like the Beatles, Stones, and Doors) because he was too racy. Ed wouldn’t like Jimmy waving his tongue at the ladies and grinding his amplifiers. Yet the tale of Jimi Hendrix spread like wildfire, and once people in the states got to see him, it became an inferno. All based on word of mouth.
  1. Jimi took other people’s music, mixed it with his own personality (that was addicted to experimenting with sounds) and combined it with his love of guitar, and turned it into something that was 100% complete original.
  1. He was extremely humble. While Kanye West may waltz around telling the world how he is the greatest, Hendrix would blush as the simplest of compliments.

So what does this have to do with podcasting?

We Have Had a Few “Hendrix” Moments in Podcasting

  1. Rocket Boom – A cute girl doing a “Daily show” type presentation about technology. It was funny, cute, and informative. It got 25,000 downloads per episode in 2005. In August 2008, Sony Pictures Television signed a one-year distribution and advertising deal with Rocketboom for a seven-figure guarantee plus a share of future revenues generated by the show. Everyone went, “How much????” Oh yeah. Steve Jobs used their videos in two presentations. Sadly it is no more (youtube).
  1. Geekbeat.tv (originally geekbrief, now geekslife)- An attractive perky female doing news (OK, this is SO not original, but Cali Lewis’s “shucks, snort, giggle” personality was). There was a difference between Geakbeat and Rocketboom. The difference was Cali Lewis IS a geek. She is one of US. People’s reaction, “A girl geek, really?” I’ve had a few short conversations with Cali over the years at expos. Completely humble. (see www.geekslife.com and Cali is now using her real name).
  1. Marc Maron – What are all these “A list” comedians doing in this Garage? Hey wait, this isn’t a two minute plug about your movie? It’s the tonight show format, without commercial breaks every 5 minutes. Marc’s tells stories that only one who has worked in the entertainment world would know. He wraps in sarcasm and cat stories. His first episodes involved breaking into his old radio studio where he had been fired (OK, they had a key) and recording at night. Even the production was a cool story. Shortly thereafter every comedian began interviewing every comedian on the planet hoping to duplicate his success.  They didn’t. See Marc at www.wtfpod.com
  1. Keith and the Girl – While the format of straight talking male host combined with Giggling co-host is not original (Howard Stern?), Keith and Chemda uniqueness is how they bond with their audience (they have a “Keith in the Girl Week” in NYC every year). This attention to their audience creates such a loyal audience that their listeners went from tattooing the Keith and the Girl Logo on their body to BRANDING the Keith and the girl Logo on their bodies. This lead to people asking, “they did what to their what?” I do need to add in regard to originality, there is no one like Keith Malley. He is truly one of a kind. Pair him with Chemda and you can do a case study on chemistry. When I’ve interviewed Keith and Chemda, they were just as fun off the show as they are on their show. See them at www.katg.com
  1. No Agenda Show – The No Agenda Show features Adam Curry (you know one of the guys responsible for inventing podcasting, as well a being on MTV back in the day) and John C. Dvorak (veteran tech reporter and TV personality). They do something that today’s main stream media does not: it’s called reporting. You dig in, follow the trail of information, and present it to the audience for them to decide (you don’t decide for them). They also do something no other podcaster does on a weekly basis: they have people donate thousands of dollars to the show. When you donate $1000 to the show (there are payment plans if needed) you are dubbed a “Knight of the No Agenda Round Table.” They dub this business model a “Value for Value”. Response when you tell someone they received $1000? They got what? Adam did a tour a few years ago and happen to come through my town. He’s so layed back, he’s almost laying down. www.noagendashow.com
  1. John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur on Fire. I’ve had the pleasure of having a few conversations with John. He is so, well “John Lee Dumas.” He is raw energy. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of people trying to out John Lee Dumas – John Lee Dumas (it’s not gonna happen). When John launched his show he decided to do it DAILY. People went, “Woa, you can’t do that? or , “He’ll never keep it up.” Hundreds of episodes later he is still going strong. He’s also asking the same questions (pretty much) every show. Wait. Are you allowed to do that? It’s your show, you can do anything. After John started publishing his income reports, tens (soon to be hundreds) of “on fire” podcasts tried to catch his lightning -without being able to duplicate his personality and dedication they might be doomed to mediocrity. Fan John’s flames at www.eofire.com

A 2017 Reflection

So why would I print an old article from 2014? Because so many people saw the success of the podcasters above and tried to copy them verbatim. You will never out “John Lee Dumas” the original JLD as it comes natural to him. Every comedian started a podcast interviewing other comedians, and most of them are not very funny or interesting. Marc Maron is a great interviewer  because he listens. 

So many people want the large donations of the No Agenda Show until they realize the HUGE amount of work that it takes to produce such a show.

So quit naming your podcast “WTF is happening This Week In Cold Cases On Fire.”

Who is Next?

With the doors of creativity wide open it’s a shame that so many try to follow in the exact same footsteps of other podcasters and ignore their own unique gifts.

Is There a Drought in Podcast Creativity?

You are unique. You have different experiences, history, personality traits, and perspectives. I urge you to embrace those, and stop and think before creating a “Water Skiing on Fire” podcast. Step back, and examine what makes YOU unique, and how can you approach your topic in a complete new way that others have not?

Try it. Hendrix swapped up his band members at the height of his popularity. He was constantly experimenting.

While podcasting has been around for 12 years now, surely we couldn’t have exhausted all the formats and configurations of content? Surely someone can take the reporting skills of No Agenda and combine them with the humor of Keith and the Girl and meld it with the raw discipline of a John Lee Dumis to come up with something completely original to create jaw dropping “Man you gotta hear this” content. Is it you?

Dave Jackson has been helping people launch successful podcasts since 2005. His podcast “The Morning Announcements” has been downloaded over 1.4 million times. He speaks at media events and is the author of the book “More Podcast Money” He runs the School of Podcasting (www.schoolofpodcasting.com) and wants to help you with your podcast.

My Top Episodes of 2016

I think you should always take a peak and see what content is resonating with your audience. I looked at the School of Podcasting Stats, and here are the top episodes of 2016. Here are my top ten (with #1 being the top and #10 being lower)

Subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play Music, or via RSS

(if you are reading this via email click here to see the players and listen)

#1 The Two Most Important Parts of Your Podcast

#2 Keeping Your Podcast Legal (with Gordon Firemark)

#3 You Can Change What You Won't Start

#4 The Three Things Your Podcast Needs That Have Nothing to Do With Microphones, Downloads, or Hosting

#5 Creating Compelling Podcasts – Podfest 2016 Reflections

#6 What If Podcasting Was A Sport? Have You Been To Training Camp?

#7 Great Content: Reverse Engineering a Driveway Moment (with David Hooper)

#8 The Podcast Mindset – Favorite Social Network – New and Noteworthy Part 1

#9 It Started With a Tweet – The Amazing Troy Heinritz Story

#10 5 Voice Related Tools for Engagement and Podcast Promotion

#11 (BONUS) How Glenn Hebert Does Morning Radio From His House – Couch Cushions Test

Santa Brought Me an Amazon Echo Dot

Look, I'm a geek, I like Gadgets, and I've heard about the Amazon Echo ($179) but when I heard about the Amazon Echo Dot (all the power of the Echo without the speaker) I was all over it (as you might imagine, being a podcaster I have a blue tooth speaker, and some audio equipment laying around). With the black Friday sale making it $39, it was time to jump in the pool. So far, I'm loving it (and I haven't even got into setting up lights, etc).

Currently I can make a shopping list and a to-do list (one of the things that pushed me to buy it). The fact that I can go “Alexa add eggs to the grocery list, and then at the store pull out the app and there they are, I just thought that was cool. I can also have Alec Baldwin wake me up in the morning (I would prefer Scarlet Johansen, but the cool thing is they are always adding more features). I can have Alexa read my twitter updates, and I can customize what news source to use (hotpod even is listed as a source) and walk in and as Alexa “What's new.”

If you want to follow the journey go over to www.alexacast.com (not in iTunes yet, but give me a few days).

Here is the unboxing video, you will see how easy it is to setup. The hardest part is remembering your wi-fi password.

Want your own Dot, or Echo (see my buyer's guide), check out my Amazon Store

 

Why I’m Changing Things Up At the School of Podcasting

Learn How to PodcastThis needs a bit of backstory, so stick with me.

I remember when I was in my early twenties talking to my Mom. I was impressed with myself, and I felt I had turned out OK, so I asked my Mom what her philosophy was when it came to raising children, or in this case, raising me. Her answer was, “I tried my best not to say No. If something was going to hurt you, then I would say No, but for the most part, I let you do whatever you wanted. Then I felt as long as you didn't give me a reason NOT to trust you, I would trust you.

When I was interviewed for the Messengers documentary, I was asked why am I so passionate about podcasting. I thought about it, and here is why:

  1. I spent myself into bankruptcy trying to have children. My wife at the time had female issues, and we weren't able to conceive. I've always wanted children. I grew up waiting for the day when I could play catch with someone in the backyard. So when that door closed, I was understandably disappointed. I was also married to someone who didn't handle that news as well and became a raging alcoholic, but that's another story for another time.
  2. A few years later someone tried to carjack me. When I refused to get out of the car, I put it in reverse and pulled away. As I was pulling away, he shot at me, and the bullet bounced off my window (which would've hit me in the head/neck region). Let me repeat that, the bullet bounced off my window and went into the door. So in my head, I'm still here, and obviously, God wants me here for something, but I'm not sure what it was.
  3. A few years later podcasting came along, and it scratches every itch I have. I remember thinking, “Oh, I see. Podcasting is why I'm here.

So in a way, the people I help are the children I never had. All that to say, I want to follow my Mom's example and avoid saying no.

When I was at Podcast Movement, I had some discussions with people who said very nice things about me. They kept explaining how I was THE Dave Jackson, and I needed to change the way I was marketing the School of Podcasting, and I needed to charge WAY MORE than I was. I was doing a podcast for a company that had me talking marketing strategies all the time. The one that kept coming up was scarcity. You see Disney do this with DVDs. They will bring back a movie for a limited time. You have to buy it while you have the chance. It's a good strategy and works well for many brands. There is one problem.

It didn't work for my brand.

To be more specific, it didn't work for me personally. I was telling people who want to learn, “Not now.” I was telling them to go sign up for the newsletter. As a teacher, there is ONE THING you REALLY want, and that is an eager student. I had them in front of me, and telling them no. I've explained my plans (to restructure) to the current members of the School of Podcasting and when I explained that the next time the doors open they aren't going to close I now know this is the right thing to do. More than one said they scratched their heads, that it didn't seem to make sense to them. It's a great strategy, but not for the School of Podcasting. Here are some other things why I'm doing this.

People would sign up for a month, pay top dollar, go through the tutorials and leave. I was making just as much money as if multiple people had signed up. So the thought was that I would be able to give more personalized attention to these people (which I did). I planted a seed of a relationship, but I never got to watch it bloom. They came for 30 days and left.

I was supposed to get a “More motivated” student as it cost more to join. While this may be partially right, I also found out that people with deeper pockets were just as busy (if not more) than people with not so deep pockets. One of the perks of buying a year in advance was you got more one on one time. Yet the people who purchased this rarely took advantage of it. So I had added a feature that nobody was using. Was this a feature then?

I was told if your prices are too low, people won't respect you. I get that. I am going to lower them a bit, but not as low as they were. I'm removing features I thought delivered value, but nobody was using. People who paid more before will have their memberships extended.

I looked in the mirror and asked why I did this. Part of my motivation was trying to make other people happy. I sincerely appreciate the kind words that my friends said at Podcast Movement. The problem is they were comparing me to other podcast consultants who make ten times more than I do. They want me to succeed, and for that I'm grateful. However, comparing me to these people made me miserable. It added stress to my life. It lead to me feeling like what I was doing wasn't good enough. One day I woke up, went my job at Libsyn (and by that I mean my five-foot commute to work from home), I helped people all day with their podcasts. I then had some great one on one consulting calls. During the day I answered questions from the School of Podcasting members. My bills are paid. My health is better than it has been in 20 years, and I'm happy. Yeah, you heard me. I'm happy. I don't care what other people are making with their podcast. I wish them well. Here is the bottom line:

I'm here to help people. If you ask for help, I'm going to do my best to avoid saying no.

So on September 30th (International Podcasting Day), I'm reopening the doors to the School of Podcasting. While it's been closed, I've moved the membership area to a new platform (thinkific). Thinkific makes it super easy to maintain, and it's more flexible. I will offer subscriptions, and I will offer the ability to purchase just the course you need. I've removed some features so I could lower my prices (those “features” are the ones nobody was using) and I'm adding more things to the School that I think will truly benefit the members.

It's my podcast. It's my brand.

I'm allowed to change it, and in the end, nobody will punch me in the face.

Newsletter subscribers will be receiving a coupon. Sign up today

Look at and Feel Like Pat Flynn – New Smart Passive Income Theme For WordPress

Pat Flynn understands branding. He understands that one wrong move can damage your reputation. His show notes for a podcast are designed so you could pass a test on the subject. I'm a fan of his book Will It Fly, I like his Smart Podcast Player, and now he recently partner with StudioPress so you can make your website look like his Smart Passive Income website (which has always been very polished and professional. This runs on the Geneisis Framework ($59) and then Patt's SPI Theme is $99. 

This video gives a brief overview, but shows there is a ton of documentation (along with the support of the StudioPress support team).

Unfortunately, the monthly income noted on Pat's sight is sold separately….

Check it out at StudioPress