Alex Nesbitt wonders over at Digital Podcast if podcasting is podfading. I don’t think it is, and I don’t think the graphs that Alex presents prove anything. Scott Bourne wrote a response today, but I think he sorta danced around the big point. He says:
Another reason that I think podcasting is still going strong is the confusion over the word. While people may not be searching the word “podcasting,” as often as they were a year ago, they are searching other phrases such as “online media.” Podcasting has never been a good word to describe what we do.
I do think it’s important to admit that podcasting, regardless of what you call it, is TEMPORARILY slowing down.
Scott is exactly right – the name is the root of the problem. Podcasting as a word is becoming both more encompassing and less unique. For example, we use podcasting at Podcast Spot to refer to audio and/or video, as long as it has an RSS feed attached. I have seen people use it more liberally than us too. This is quite different from 2005 when a podcast meant an MP3 file inside an RSS feed.
The heart of the issue though is not the name confusion itself, but the fact that because of the name confusion, we don’t have a good way to measure the growth of our industry. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, unless you try to measure it.
As a result, I have to disagree with Scott’s assertion that podcasting is temporarily slowing down. I don’t think it has slowed down at all – it has just become much more difficult to measure. Any “slowing” is merely an illusion.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the metrics to back that statement up. It’s an educated gut feeling at the moment.
All of that said, I think we’re just getting started. There’s tremendous potential for growth, and 2007 could be the year that it really takes off.
Read: Scott Bourne