We learn something new every day at RawVoice. The tech industry and the podcasting space are moving quickly and we want to make sure that we stay one step ahead of the game.
Our constant focus on what’s happening allows us to be in a position to provide quality products and services to all stakeholders in social media. We work with individual content producers (aka podcasters) and advertisers via our communities. We work with larger content producers and corporate clients with our RawVoice Generator offering. We serve the needs of audience members by doing our best to make our products visually appealing and easy to use.
One very important lesson that we have learned is to respect content producers and their audiences when rolling out new products and new features on existing products. If it weren’t for podcasters, their audiences and the advertisers who support them we wouldn’t be here. We’d be doing something else. We’re glad to be here though.
I consider our approach a best practice in the social media services industry. Attempting to take advantage of producers and audiences is a bad idea. The community at large can move quick in spite of its size and not being in touch can yield disastrous results. Sometimes businesses take advantage when they don’t necessarily mean to do so. Sometimes they make honest mistakes. In those cases, a quick apology and a change of direction is the best approach.
SplashCast was taken to task by Adam Curry recently for introducing a feature that created and promoted alternate feed addresses for podcasts. A number of podcast shows were added to this feature without the knowledge or consent of the show producers. Some call that RSS Hijacking. PodShow got hit by the community for the same offense last July. Did SplashCast really have their ears to the ground before introducing their MyPodcastNetwork feature? They do now.
We believe that respecting content producers means that we allow them to opt in to our services. And when we do that we leave their media on their host servers and we promote the source RSS feed.
We also need to be on the lookout for practices that can potentially take advantage of audiences. Audible.com is the undisputed leader in digital audio book distribution. When they introduced a podcasting service it was one that heavily leveraged Digital Rights Management (DRM) to help advertisers track content. In other words, your files phone home to a server to let the server know what you’re doing. And while the service was highly touted in the mainstream media it failed to catch on. Podcasters made the decision that they wanted their content to be available to their audience without an invisible tether. We took note of that preference.
Now a company called PodBridge is getting some buzz because they have introduced technology that will allow advertisers to insert dynamic ads into podcasts. How do they do it? According to the PodBridge website, “When consumers visit a Podbridge-enabled site to download a file for the first time, they also download an iTunes plug-in that resides on their PC and communicates with their mobile playback device.”
Consumers have incredible disgust for these types of technologies. In 2005 Sony was taken to task by a broad array of stakeholders for introducing technology that tracked consumption of Sony media on a users’ PC. Why go down this road given the history of these types of technologies?
By keeping our ears to the ground and adhering to what we feel are best practices, RawVoice protects all those who do business with us. Podcasters want exposure and monetization opportunities. But they also want to own their content and decide how it is served. Advertisers want to effectively reach audiences. But they don’t want to be caught up in scandal over their practices. And audiences want convenient, untethered access to content.
We strive to assist all parties very competently in these endeavors.