Yahoo! Podcasts is dead

Post ImageI’ve seen a few blog posts on this now, and I wanted to add my own thoughts. Some time in the last couple days Yahoo added a message to the top of their forever-in-beta podcast directory site that reads “Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Oct. 31, 2007.” Not really a surprise as far as I’m concerned. Most people in the podcasting community would be able to tell you that Yahoo has ignored the site for months.

Here is what I said about the site when it launched almost two years ago:

Yahoo’s Podcasts directory is put together very nicely, I think. The layout and organization make intuitive sense, and the search functionality seems to work quite well also.

I’m not sure how many podcast directories we need, but I’d have to say that Yahoo’s is a welcome addition to the bunch.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stay true for very long.

Both Read/WriteWeb and TechCrunch invoke the magic word – video – when suggesting reasons for the site’s demise. I’m not so sure the rise of YouTube and the clones had any impact whatsoever on Yahoo Podcasts. As a matter of fact, the site lists both audio and video podcasts.

I think Yahoo chose to kill the site in part because it contains the word “podcast” in its name. I’ve written about this before, as have many others. It’s not the process or idea that’s bad, just the name.

I suspect the main reason Yahoo shut down the site is a renewed focus for the company, as speculated in the comments on TechCrunch. Just as well I guess.

Read: TechCrunch

Thoughts on Digg Podcasting

Post ImageOver at Geek News Central today Todd Cochrane had some harsh words for Digg’s newest feature, their podcast portal. Most of his argument is based on the traffic he apparently isn’t receiving from Digg:

Lately though I have come to the conclusion that for all the traffic Digg gets very little if any of that traffic in the way of downloads or pure referals [sic] comes from that site.

He goes on to offer some advice to podcasters:

My advice to podcasters is this, look at the directories you are listed in and figure out if they are doing anything to build your audience or giving you equal exposure on the front of their respective websites. If they are not find sites that are and support them in your shows.

That plan of attack might have worked when podcasting was just getting started, but we’re beyond that now. I would suggest that podcasters do in fact add themselves into Digg’s directory, flawed as it might be. Why pick one directory over another? The idea isn’t to play favorites, it’s to help the audience find what they want, wherever they might be looking. There’s more to being in a directory than just getting listed on the front page.

As for Digg’s podcast portal, here are my thoughts:

  • The way you add a podcast into the directory sucks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and the feedback you get is really unhelpful.
  • Only iTunes-compatible feeds may be added into the directory. Why Digg felt the need to perpetuate Apple’s hegemony is beyond me.
  • It would be better if episodes had a “front page” as well, instead of just podcasts. Right now you can only look at episodes for a particular podcast.

The podcast section of Digg hasn’t been around very long, so I’m pretty sure they’ll be making changes over time. There’s definitely room for improvement, but the directory is not useless.

Read: Geek News Central

AmigoFish

Post ImageI first learned of Dave Slusher’s AmigoFish project while talking to him on the way back from the Portable Media Expo (Dickson, Dave and I were on the same flight to Denver). AmigoFish was in private testing for a while, and on Tuesday Dave took the wraps off:

It’s time that I announced the project I’ve been working on in my evenings and weekends. It is a collaborative filter for new media – podcasts and videoblogs mostly. Behold, the mighty AmigoFish! You can create an account, rate the things you care about and get predictions for other things you might like. I’ve been using it that way pretty much every day for the last month, and have found all kinds of new things to listen to. Try it out and let me know what you think. I’m not going to burden everyone with the “beta” or not nomenclature. It is a work in progress, much like everything like this.

I kinda like the idea of not using “beta” to describe the service. I took a quick look at the site today but haven’t really tested it out yet. I have heard many great things though, so if you’re looking for a slightly different way to find a podcast you might enjoy listening to, give AmigoFish a try.

Dave, I realize it’s a work in progress, but you need a logo or something!

Read: AmigoFish

Yahoo! Podcasts

Post ImageI’ve been so busy lately that I missed the launch of Yahoo’s new podcast directory. I had read about it last week, but only got a chance to finally look today. What can I say? It is very much a directory and nothing else – but at least it’s a very good directory.

The directory has a section where Yahoo! editors pick the podcasts they like and display them. There is also a “what other people like” section that can be viewed by “Most Popular” or “Highly Rated”. Finally, you can browse around on your own if you’d like by category and tag. Once you find a podcast to look at, you can either listen to it or subscribe and download (using a third party application or Yahoo’s Music Engine). You can rate the podcast, add comments and reviews, and also tags.

Yahoo’s Podcasts directory is put together very nicely, I think. The layout and organization make intuitive sense, and the search functionality seems to work quite well also. They currently have an information section called “Publish a Podcast” which contains information on how to get started. Makes me wonder if they might one day add some sort of publication tool.

I’m not sure how many podcast directories we need, but I’d have to say that Yahoo’s is a welcome addition to the bunch.

Read: Yahoo! Podcasts