I've been told that I can be a bit of a wet blanket when new tools and systems enter the podcasting space. This is often due to me being in the space over a decade. Let me share a bit of history as I want to talk about chartable.com
The year is 2005. I created two different chart systems.
Before Apple dominated the world, there were sights like Podcastalley.com where everyone told their audience to vote for them. I wanted to drive traffic to the School of Podcasting and purchased a directory script, named it Podcast Charts, and spoke about it on my show and let everyone know there was a new chart system in town. The system had a way of showing what was the most popular podcast by how many people visited the site. There may have been a review system as well.
Battlingbands.com was a site where a musician could get their music placed for $2. That is not a typo. The only criteria was your music has to be on CDBaby.com so I could use an affiliate program for people to buy your music. You would be set up to compete against another band in the same genre. The prize? You got to play again for free. That's right you bypassed the $2 fee. The strategy here was to get musicians to hear about my other podcast for musicians and then buy my book. I also made affiliate sales as often Band A's fans (who already own the CD from Band A) would by the CD from band B.
I tried every voting script on the planet that would block cookies and other security measures.
The Competitive Nature of Humans Leads them to Do Unscrupulous Acts
In both of the above sites, I was amazed at how people would go to the length of signing in from different computers, clearing their cookies, etc just to make it look like a different person so they could vote. The interesting thing is, there really wasn't a prize in both of my sites.
The People's Choice Podcast Awards
I wrote about this situation when it happened but while nobody actually cheated, they went right to the edge. Throw on top of this the organizer of this function has received death threats. Is any chart/award worth dying for? No, but it does show you the passion that is involved when you put a ribbon in front of someone.
Apple Podcast Charts
Apple has a huge chunk of the podcasting space. There are those new to podcasting that even in 2018 still think you need an iPhone to listen to a podcast. People beg, plead, and ask complete strangers for reviews with a promise to review their show (review swaps). When this happens, any integrity of the charts goes right out the window.
Podtrac's “Confused” Industry Charts
Podtrac releases reports on the “Podcast industry Charts.” This is an out and out lie. It is the top shows that use their stats tool. There are TONS of podcasts that don't use their stats as they don't need them. Their media hosting company provides all the data they need (Blubrry, Libsyn, Podbean, etc)
When I first went to www.chartable.com and saw, “See charts & reviews for these popular shows” I thought, “Don't we already have that in Apple?” I scrolled down a little more and saw “THE INDUSTRY'S BEST PODCAST DATABASE” now I'm no reporter, but how does a company that just started get the “courage” to state that (when they probably started by scrapping Apple's API). Then on their blog, they point out (like I did) that Apple's charts can be manipulated. They also don't mention HOW their system will avoid the same fate.
Do I really need another service to let me know how popular Joe Rogan is? https://chartable.com/charts/itunes/us-all-podcasts-podcasts
Unified Stats – I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours
One of the things they ask for is your Apple ID login and password as well as your login and password to your media host so they can pull the stats from Apple, and your hosting company into Charitable so we can all compare notes. For me, (and this is just an opinion) with all the data breaches occurring lately with BIG companies, I don't feel giving login and password information to a company that hasn't been around for a full year yet. If you want to, go right ahead but I will let you be the guinea pig. I'm sure they have systems in place for security just like Target, Facebook, and many other companies. If you have access to my Apple account that means you can but a super-charged iMac pro. Like I said, “I'll let you go first.”
Your Number 376 in Your Niche Now What?
So you sign up, give over your passwords so the public can see exactly how popular you are (or not). You see where you are compared to all the other people who were brave enough to fork over their passwords you were #376. The previous week you were #370. Now what? Did you learn something from the charts that you didn't know before? Are you going to change your show based on this data?
One More Thing to Focus On That Is NOT Your Audience
I'm not making this up. A person approached me who wanted to find out not just what countries his podcast was being consumed, but what episode on what day. They wanted to figure out if this was a new listener or someone who had been away and come back. While I don't want to judge someone's intentions, but most of the podcasters I talk to care about how many people are consuming (and could care less where, or how. We just want a larger audience). As long as it is a real person, I don't think most podcasters care.
I did go over and sign up. I clicked around and added the redirect to my system so I could get an idea of what was going on. They do have some interesting analytics
Information You Can't Get Any Place Else
I do see where they show the average number of downloads after 7 days and 60 days. I find this interesting
I like that I can pull up two episodes of my show and compare them side by side
I can see that one of my shows peaked at #68 on the charts
So I like that it is giving me the information I can't get from other media hosts (at least not yet)
How Is Chartable Going to Make Money?
When a product is free that means YOU are the product (Facebook anyone?) and as I looked around their site I see where I can “Pinpoint the perfect audience, find new customers, discover trending podcasts, and know your competitors with Chartable Intelligence.” I just need to contact their sales department.
It worked for Facebook. Get a bunch of people on your platform, and gather information about them and sell it to people.
So What is My Gripe?
As I said earlier, people will spend HOURS clicking on this site. Everyone wants a sponsor or a larger audience, but they aren't asking their audience what they need. What kind of content would inspire their audience to share the episode with friends and family? That requires time and effort and they don't have any of that because they have their nose buried in stats. That is my gripe.
If you want to know if your show is any good, try asking your audience.