Maybe it’s time everyone stopped calling Odeo a podcasting company. I’ve been critical of Google’s apparent lack of focus and direction many times in the past, but they’ve got nothing on Odeo. I mean here’s a company with some very smart people working for them, some substantial venture capital behind them, and yet very little to show for it. Perhaps the last notable thing Odeo did with regards to the core offering was redesign the website – and that was in December 2005. I have to agree with what Alex Williams said – “These dudes must have some pretty mellow investors.”
That’s not to say they are standing still. Odeo recently launched two new products, Hellodeo and Twttr. The former is somewhat related to podcasting, while the latter appears to have absolutely no connection whatsoever. Hellodeo lets you record a video message from your webcam to embed on other websites, and Twttr allows you to stay up to date with your friends using text messaging. Notice a trend? Yep, moving further and further away from podcasting.
I think it’s fair to say that LibSyn has done far more in terms of getting people into podcasting than Odeo has, and somehow I doubt that Evan Williams and crew have any tricks up their sleeve. Odeo, quite simply, seems lost. It’s a shame too, because they had the opportunity to do something great with podcasting. Maybe they should just purchase LibSyn?
You might recall that in May of last year, Fortune magazine named Odeo one of their 25 Breakout Companies for 2005. I wonder what they would say about the company today? I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t make the list again.
Maybe Odeo will come out with something amazing and I’ll be forced to eat my words, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I do however, think Odeo would be wise to read Dead 2.0 Skeptic’s 11 Suggestions for Not Being a Dot-Bomb 2.0.