When web services collide

imagesnuclear-explosion

I’ve been using Feedburner for a while, since March 2005 in fact. Yesterday I started noticing that my host had started blocking any IP addresses that Feedburner uses to poll the XML feeds at certain points each day (when one is updated, for example).

This leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. I now have five or six feeds (including PUM, PodFest and bitjobs) that are showing up as not answering everytime Feedburner tries to take the original XML file and do it’s magic with it. The ironic thing is that I don’t actually use Feedburner for it’s stats/readership counts that much any more.

Ever since Clickcaster upgraded their stats service the whole thing has been out of wack, so I was actually considering ditching all the bells and whistles and just offering up the original XML files for anyone wanting to subscribe to the podcasts I produce.

I guess that’s the dangerous game you play when you use third party services like Feedburner, Libsyn or anything else that doesn’t give you full control over your content.

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PodFest is Steaming Ahead

About a month ago I announced that I wanted to organise a PodcastCon UK type event in a part of the country that hadn’t really got a prominent podcasting scene. Mainly because I was frustrated that this years PodcastCon wasn’t going to be put on until at least October, meaning there was nothing podcast related going on during the Summer.

What surprised me was the initial negative response that came my way from various prominent contributers at Britcaster – mainly those that had been involved in PodcastCon. It was as though they saw PodFest as me trying to encroach on their territory, which is definitely not the case.
It’s no secret that the guys that helped to put on that event in September ‘05 worked their arses off for three months securing sponsors, a venue and a few high profile figures in the podcasting world to make sure it went on without a hitch.

So far PodFest has taken just under three weeks to get to a point where we’re confirming speakers, talking to sponsors and have a venue all but confirmed. It’d be easy to turn round to the people that tried to discourage us from even attempting to put something of that scale on and go ape, but I’m not that sort of person. Honest.

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Stand Still While I Alienate You

Over at Britcaster a thread popped up concerning the latest Britpack podcast; a collective effort when a number of British podcasters all record a segment and then send it over to a producer who mashes it all together.

I noticed a comment from a relative newcomer to the community that really got me thinking; does talking about your own podcast, podcasting, techniques of podcasting, what’s going on in the community or anything else to do with podcasting actually alienate listeners? For me, the answer is a big fat no. It’s a little short sighted to just happily go about doing your podcast and not mention anything to do with the medium that might interest even the most casual of listeners.

Back in the day (OK, so it’s just over a year ago) I was just a listener. I had no idea what a podcast was, how to do one, who was who in the community or anything that would open my eyes when I made the transition into being a producer of a weekly independent music scene. For a couple of weeks I even thought I was the first ever podcast in the UK to do what I was doing!

If it wasn’t for Steve Lacey and, in a way Bibb and Yaz talking about podcasting I’d had never even thought about talking to other podasters at Podcast Alley or going and listing my show at the various directories lying around the net.

To educate listeners I think, to some degree, a host(s) needs to include a little something about podcasting if they feel it’s relevant to their show. When I mentioned the Adam Curry meetup last week I got a whole load of emails from people who’d seen him on MTV in the 80s and had no idea he was even involved in podcasting.

Do we not owe it to our community to help promote not only our own shows, but shows we enjoy, events that are taking place and even a bit of gossip now and then?

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Comments;

  1. Martin (Green Dragon) Apr 26th, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    I can see where you’re coming from Phil but it depends what you’re after from your show. I feel the name of the game for somebody like me is “entertainment” as opposed to “edutianment”. Most people listen in to a music podcast for that reason – music.

    There’s nothing wrong in informing the masses in the ways of the jedi ,,, errrmm sorry I mean PodCaster, but sometimes the casual listener just glazes over as soon as they hear, “this is how it’s done” they don’t really careless and let’s be honest there are plenty of sites now showing people how to “produce a podcast”. If they want to find out the infomation I’m sure they will. I’m sure also I’m not alone in receiving emails from people asking how to do a podcast — you know, what software to use etc etc.

    I tend to agree that sometimes, some, not all, PodCasters get a little carried away with the big idea of PodCasting. It can be entertainment, it can educational, it can informative, but it can also be dare right dull if we get too involve in the “geek” aspect of it all when an audience wants nothing more than something to play in the background whilst they run through one of the day mundane chores.

    Each to his/her own of course. We’re all still learning, we’re all still making mistakes.

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Barry BURBs Apr 26th, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Just noticed your tagline Phil, “life, tech, podcasting, rants” so naturally it is an area you would cover. Other(s) Martin (seemingly) and I, naturally, have other areas to cover, which is great, it’d be rather dull if we were all the same. :)

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 Phil Apr 27th, 2006 at 12:59 am

    I’m not talking about telling people how to podcast, or the geek aspect of it I’m really talking about mentioning the latest goings on in the community that may affect my show in the future – those sorts of things.

    Barry, my podcast is at bitjobs.net and is an independent music podcast, just as yours a Martins is – this is just the blog.

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Eban Apr 27th, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    I have become very hard on this subject. We do this for hours a week and people get it for free, but I get as many complaints as I get props.

    These are our shows and we do them because we enjoy them. To talk about our lives, podcasts, or the scene is natural. This is what intrests us.

    I got this way when one of my Royal Court members informed me after I got the Podshow contract that he would not really accept ads or changes to my show. I do around 10 shows a week (I started new shows for the Podshow network) and that means around 3 to 5 hours a day on creating, publishing, networking. and promoting my shows. Listeners get it for free, I mean give me a break, I will talk about ass-shaving if I want to with kind of time investment.

    Talk about what you are passionate about, if one or two self-righteous or self-important listeners leave, someone will take thier place.

    Did I mention they get all these hours of quality entertainment for free.

    Damn, I am so intollerant these days.

  5. Gravatar Icon 5 Phil Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:02 am

    I think when it gets to the point where you’re making money from your show where you play music, you need to have someway of ensuring the artists don’t feel as though you’re just using them to make some cash.

    As far as content on an individuals show; I think it’s just a little short sighted to not talk about anything to do with the podcasting community. AC does it every day and has 200,000 listeners – doesn’t look like it’s hurting him to me! Not only does talking about podcasting promote other artists, events or whatever it also shows your audience that it’s worth looking past just your show and going out to find other things to listen to.

    Like you say, listeners are getting it for free and always have the FF button to use, this ain’t radio after all ;)

  6. Gravatar Icon 6 Eban Apr 28th, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    It was a non-musical, listener only Royal Court member that nailed me, the bands are stoked about the wider audience. It is really cool to see the artists getting that this could really grow for them as well.

    That was a bit of a rant there yesterday, lol. that is the downside of the net however, not only do people want everything for free, but they want it all their own way. It is wacked, lol.

  7. Gravatar Icon 7 Phil Apr 28th, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Oh well I’d tell them where to stick it!

    Unless they’re actually contributing to your show in terms of helping you produce it they really have no right to tell you what to do, which is exactly what you said ;)

Wikipedia Nonsense

Good friend and former workmate Phill Corbett sent me an email this morning about a Wikipedia article he’d started about me back in July; it’s up for deletion. Now this isn’t entirely surprising if you’re familiar with the people that seem to spend their whole day policing that place.

Non-notable. Low google hits.Hasn’t dones anything particularly noteworthy.Vanity/advertising for his websites and podcasts. The JPS 17:13, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

When someone else writes about someone why is it always considered advertising or vanity? I remember someone submitting an article about PodcastUser Magazine when it first launched and it was quickly dismissed as someone trying to use it as a free bit of advertising. There are plenty of more effective ways to advertise somewhere than on Wikipedia.
I’m not too bothered that they want it deleted, it just makes me laugh that these people think they know what is and isn’t worthy of being listed on a site like Wikipedia. I read on Seb’s blog lately about how his article was deleted. He mentioned a new site called Wikitruth, a kind of rebellion against Wikipedia where previously deleted articles are appearing.

Phill is currently having a discussion with the people who initiated the deletion vote, so I’ll keep you updated. If anyone wants to have a butchers, it’s over here.

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Podtrac Survey Results

I just got an email with some of the responses I got from the Podtrac survey I was running a few weeks ago. No real surprises from the responses that were given, although one thing did stand out.

I talk way too much.

Out of the 300 odd responses, at least half put things like “talks too much” or “sometimes rambles a bit but I don’t mind it”. This isn’t going to turn into a moan, but it did make me snigger a little when I read through.

Getting a little more serious; when asked what they liked about the show, most people put the music or ‘the host’ as an answer. Some, however, mentioned the fact that there aren’t any ads (not traditionally, anyway). I can’t decide whether that’s a good thing or not, especially as we’re getting closer and closer to some advertising on the show.

I guess we’ll see how people take it when it gets into full swing. The e-lottery ads have been running for a few weeks now without anyone really taking any offence to them. I wonder how having something a little more targetted will go down.

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Time to Head North?

I spent this weekend with a friend* of mine in Sheffield after having to miss out on the festivities in London.

Saturday was spent travelling, drinking tea and getting ready for an 18th birthday party in the evening. As the day went on I realised a number of things; mainly that nearly everyone you meet in Birmingham would sooner look at the ground than give you a smile and start chatting about random things. Even though I was seen as the outsider to start with, by the time the beer had been flowing for a while it was like we’d known each other for years.

On the way back to Brum yesterday I couldn’t help thinking about what it would actually be like to live up there. Most of my friends around here have either moved away or are eternally stuck at their desks, never having enough time (or energy) to go for a few beers. Is it time I took the plunge and moved to somewhere new? This isn’t all based on what happened over the weekend, it’s the culmination of a good six months of transition in my life. I went through a break up, met someone new, lost my grandad and got interviewed for the BBC (among other things).

It’s always going to be hard to move away from somewhere I love, but I think it’s time I ’spread my wings’.

*For those of you wondering, the friend I referred to is of the female gender and no, I’m not going to give you any details.

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You’re All a Bunch of Moaning Podcasters

Well, some of you are anyway.
Believe it or not, there’s a huge amount of moaning going on in today’s podcasting world. It’s mainly within existing communities and is becoming more and more prominent as the medium grows. Now I’m not someone to talk about using an existing community to promote something I’m doing, but it has to be the main annoyance I’ve had to put up with lately.

Usually a forum is a place where you contribute to the ongoing discussions taking place. Granted, if there isn’t much going on that interests you it may not be something that you want to take part in. Nonetheless it isn’t an excuse to shamefully use said forum as a place to shamelessly self promote what you’re doing. Podcasting and promotion do go hand in hand, but there’s got to be an unwritten rule somewhere that if you hardly ever contribute somewhere, you don’t suddenly go around posting to dead topics with details of your next stunt, how you’re looking forward to being asked back to an event, trans-continental trip or other such guff.

After a long train journey back from London a couple of weeks ago, I checked one of the many podcasting communities I sometimes frequent, only to find four posts that did exactly what I described above. Naturally I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to remain my cautiously friendly self, so I proceeded respond to the poster with the below;

Richard, nothing against your trip to the states or anything else you’re doing but could you possibly hold off on the meaningless promotional posts? We’re all well aware you’re going over (well done) – I think you may be pushing it a little too much.

Looking back, I’m not sure the way I worded it was quite right for the situation, but I do know it wasn’t meant to scare him off from the community. The written word is not the best way to get a point across sometimes, but I’m sure it really doesn’t warrant someone deleting all of their posts from a forum – effectively throwing their toys out of the pram.

This isn’t just restricted to communities within the British podcasting world. I’ve recently given up going to Podcast Alley because of all the name calling, back stabbing and other general child like behaviour.

Expect more rantings on this blog. There’s a lot to get out.

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4 Responses to “You’re all a bunch of moaning podcasters…”

  1. Gravatar Icon 1 Eban Apr 19th, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Actually, well said, I say at least. I never really got on at Podcast Alley due to the negativity of the place, but I did latch on to podcast Pickle.

    However, I have been posting a lot less there as well as I sometimes get a cavity while on the boards, the whole thing is so sweet it gets to me.

    There needs to be some reality, some middle ground. Something between the parade of assholes at the Alley and the never ending love fest at the Pickle.

    You spoke your mind, but were not disrespectful. Hey you were human, and I say good job!

    Hey, there are the ladybugs again! This is like porn, I love it! lol

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 LEM Apr 19th, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Hey, Phil! Congratulations on another format for your musings!

    I wonder, though, if another way to think about the whole throwing-the-toys-out-of-the-pram situation and the events leading up to it could be to acknowledge that all blog and forum responses (and yes, even this one) are little bits of theatre. All over the web people are posting comments to vicariously wave arms, and throw kisses (or punches), and poke fun at each other, are they not?

    Because I feel a bit responsible for the whole misunderstanding, owing to events I will not go into here (ah, mystery! that is theatre, too), I must add that the dead-topic postings you mentioned seemed to be only vehicles for displaying a rather clever parody of the signature-banner-as-advert that popped up on various websites and forums, such as yours, a day or two earlier.

    As you know, some of us Firefox users quickly figured out how to deactivate the banners, but others chose to turn the tables and poke fun at them. As frequently happens, results of that strategy were mixed: some did not think that it was very funny, and some thought it was right on the mark.

    I am not defending the subsequent tossing out of toys. I am simply hoping that we all remember that there is a lot of histrionic posturing out in the so-called blogosphere that is not worth the fretting.

    Wearing a pair of mittens while reading forum posts also helps a lot!

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 Phil Apr 20th, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Linda, that’s a great point.

    My initial grievance wasn’t actually with the parody banner that he had displayed. It was more with the topics he chose to grab our attention and the fact that in the past, he has only ever contributed to the forum to promote something.

    This indiviudal also constantly complains how he isn’t making any money from podcasting, perhaps someone should point out that any positive relationships he has with other podcasters may help in the endeavour in the future.

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Phil Apr 20th, 2006 at 11:18 am

    However, I have been posting a lot less there as well as I sometimes get a cavity while on the boards, the whole thing is so sweet it gets to me.

    I’ve noticed that too. Everyone is so back-slap happy over there that sometimes it just gets too much. The good thing about Britcaster, although it can have that Pickle-like sweetness (mmmm sweet pickles) people are still able to speak their minds. The recent debate on MCPS/PRS licensing and whether or not we need a UK association of podcasters proved that.

Argh, another blog to waste my time on

I think I was a sucker for punishment in a previous life. Either that or I’ve finally realised I should have my own blog away from other projects. Somewhere I can rant, rave and otherwise do all the stuff I can’t at other places.

Expect to see stuff ranging from complete nonsense, to stuff that could be considered nonsense if it weren’t for the hungarian bush babies keeping me ticking over.

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5 Responses to “Argh, another blog to waste my time on!”

  1. Gravatar Icon 1 coyne.phil Apr 17th, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    Test

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Spook Apr 18th, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Right – well here is the first complaint Sir!!!! The writing on this page is crap!!!

    The content is fine dont get me wrong for a moaning minnie…… but the type font you have is abismal….. sort it out or I am going to have a constant headache!

    btw – tis a very good idea this bemoaning blog site……. what a very kind lady to bequeath you such a wondrous gift.

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 Phil Apr 18th, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    What’s wrong with it exactly? Font, colour? I quite like it and, after all, it is my blog ;)

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Eban Apr 18th, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    The humping ladybugs are a nice touch, well done. Eye candy for the insect pervs!

    The oddest things intrest me.

  5. Gravatar Icon 5 Phil Apr 18th, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    YES! I noticed that too. Not that I’m an insect perv…