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All Good Things Must Come to an End
It is with mixed emotions that I write this post. Effective pretty much immediately, I will no longer be writing for Biz Podcasting. The reasons for my decision are three-fold:
  1. My work environment has changed. Whereas before I was moving away from the cubicle farm as fast as I could, I have now been given more responsibilty at work which requires a more serious attitude about it. And full time hours. I'm not sure if I like that, but that's how it is for now.
  2. Know More Media has done some restructuring which doesn't fit with my goals anymore. The changes make perfect sense and in a way I saw them coming a while ago. However, they still don't mesh with where I'm wanting to go.
  3. I'm out of steam on the topic. I have written almost 750 entries on Biz Podcasting (well, OK, Leesa wrote some of them) and to be frank - it's become the "same old, same old" around here. A new directory, a new service, a new player, a new legal battle. While podcasting itself is still quite young, the challenges have already become predictable and repetitive. Writing the same entries with new names has become tiresome. It's time to bow out and let some fresh blood in here.
My initial intention was to continue posting until the end of the month, but that's not panning out very well. I've become even busier that I thought possible at work and at the same time become less motivated to post here than I thought possible. I guess once you give up ownership on something all of the motivation goes with it.

Personally, this has been a heck of a ride. I've met a lot of great people, a lot of mediocre Snake Oilers, made some introductions and started a few fights. I will always remember Biz Podcasting as a Good Time (tm). I want to thank every reader, every commenter, and every lurker. This place wouldn't have been half as much fun without you.

As for Know More Media - what can I say? Dan, Hal, and Easton have been incredible to me. They gave me the opportunity to take those first few steps outside of the cubicle farm an towards becoming a full-time blogger. As it turns out, that's not in the cards for me right now but that doesn't take anything away from the greatness that is Know More Media. The blogosphere is small and I hope we'll cross paths again - they truly are great people to work with and work for.

And with that, I shut off my mic. Run outro. I'm outtie.
Pod-Planet: Nice Notice
I received an email today from Pod Planet. The email told me that my podcast (The JaK Attack!) had been entered into the Pod Planet directory. I thought this was a pretty cool feature.

I've stumbled across my podcast here and there but that's always been under my own steam. I've never had a directory email me to tell me that someone had added our show.

Although your Podcast has been added to our Directory, you may want to go in and categorize your Podcast in our taxonomy so that Users can quickly and easily find your Podcast by category.
In order to categorize your Podcast, you simply need to create a free account on our site. Once your account is created, simply click 'My Administration' in the toolbar to view and categorize your Podcast.

I tried this and am still awaiting my confirmation email. Once it shows up, I'll log in and see what there is to see.

Nice touch.
Noopod 2.0 Released
I'm not a superstitious guy, but I still don't think I would release a product on Friday the 13th. The crew at Wilsoftech don't seem to mind, however. They've released version 2.0 of their Noopod sofware today.

From my pre-release email:

This software is specialised in RSS feeds management and Podcast. Therefore it's a direct challenger for the Apple iTunes.

I suppose that any podcatcher could technically be called a competitor to iTunes, but that doesn't mean much. Lord knows it's not the software that makes iTunes so popular. It's the library of content.

It is important to notice that Noopod 2.0 is working closely with the RSS feeds, PodCasts and WebRadios directory This multimedia database contains already more than 3750 Podcasts and RSS feeds automatically refreshed and is to continue to evolve to suit to the new communication technologies.

Noopod is only available for Windows and requires the rather hefty .NET 2.0 Framework in order to function. Since it's Windows only, that rules me out of trying it - anyone want to give it a whirl and share their thoughts?
Up Snap: Mobile Podcasting Without Data Usage
We were all thinking it (or at least I was), and now Up Snap has done it. While cellular data plans are ridiculously expensive here in Canada, we seem to have more voice minutes kicking around than anyone knows what to do with. Unlimited evenings and weekends are commonplace with most carriers and if you're like me and have to shell out for a decent data plan, you likely have more daytime minutes than you know what to do with as well.

Up Snap has decided to turn all that excess voice time into podcast time. I tried to give the service a whirl which largely involves a series of SMS responses, but just before I got to the point where I could tell the system to actually send me a podcast, the SMSes stopped coming.

Part of me thinks that it has something to do with me not being in the US, but since the first series of signup SMSes came OK, that might not be it.

Anyone want to give Up Snap a try and report back? I'm dying to hear how it works.
Podcast Teasers and Monetization.
It's fairly common for big blogs to have two feeds: one that contains full articles along with ads, and one that only contains article summaries, but no ads.

I find myself wondering today if such a thing can be done with a podcast. While there's no technical reason why a podcaster can't produce more than one file per show (and hence maintain more than one feed), I wonder what the logistics and audience reaction would be to it.

I'm also thinking that the reverse might work better in podcasting: the teaser can have the ads and the main show can be ad free.

Something like this:

  1. Create and encode show as per normal
  2. Create a 2-minute summary of the show either by compiling bits of the show or by "pre-narrating" the show.
    1. Either slap an ad in the teaser or run this feed through Kiptronic or some other ad service so ads are placed into it as it's downloaded.
    2. This little guy can help people figure out if they want to bother downloading the show or not (c'mon, we all know half of them are direct downloading anyhow)
  3. Post each show in its own feed.
    1. Or perhaps, only post the teasers in a feed. Full shows can only be had via direct download from your website. More ad impressions.
What do you think? Am I crazy?
Textbook Publishers Trying iTunesU
McGraw-Hill has tired of trying to get student's attention by putting supplementary material on websites and CDs. Given the interest in iTunes and podcasting, the book publisher is going to give iTunesU a try.

The school in question is the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the pilot project actually started in the summer semester. Apparently, initial results are pleasing:

The students were more engaged with the content served up in this platform,” [Scott Criswell,  product manager for online-distribution platforms at McGraw-Hill Higher Education] says, even though it was the exact same multimedia material that had flopped on a supplementary Web site. He says he is not sure whether that happened because of the “wow factor” of using iTunes, or whether using the popular music store “fits the way students learn better.”

Knowing college like I do, I think that the regular old September to May students might be a better indicator of interest and activity. Students in the summer semester are generally motivated either by fear or self-improvement.

The question begs to be asked, though. What's with the supplementary material to begin with? Just include it in the book already!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Podcasting Observations from a Listener
Dpeach (shrug) on My Thought Spot has posted two entries (1, 2)in the last little while about what bugs him or her about the podcasts he or she listens to. Statistically, dpeach is most likely to be male, so I'll refer to him or her as such from here on in.

Unlike many podcast listeners, Dpeach listens to 40-ish podcasts a week. I don't know what the average numbers are for listeners, but I'm pretty sure than 40 shows a week is well above the norm. Since he listens to so many, I'm inclined to take his thoughts with a little more weight than I might otherwise.

There are four things that drive Dpeach nuts:

  • Episode Creep: Shows that get longer as time goes on. We were guilty of this on our own JaK Attack! at one time, but we now make a conscious effort to keep the show at 30 minutes. We rarely succeed, but we're usually close.
  • Volume Levels: This is a recurring trend which seems to indicate that podcasters aren't getting much better at this. I agree that there's nothing more annoying that having to crank up the volume on a show to hear someone talk only to have my ears blown out a few minutes later by a bumper or song.
  • Songs: Dpeach doesn't like songs in podcasts. He figures that if he wanted to listen to songs, he would subscribe to an indie podcast. I can see his point, but we play an indie song every episode and while we don't get comments on the song every week, every single comment we do get on the song du semaine is positive. I agree that putting a song in the middle of a business podcast probably isn't appropriate, but it fits in many.
  • Profanity: I totally agree.
So there you go. Some insight from a relatively heavy podcast listener. Do with it what you will.
IODA Joining With Kiptronic
Kiptronic is a podcast advertising service that I've had my eye on for a while now. Kiptronic's distinctive strength is two-fold. For starters, the service offers an Apache module which (allegedly) can be used on any Apache server to insert ads in podcasts. I say allegedly because the one time I tried to get it working, it didn't and my support calls disappeared into the ether. The second neato-O thing about Kiptronic is that it offers the ability to geo-target ads. Big word meaning that the Kiptronic system has the ability to deliver ads to listeners from specified geographical areas.

Geo-targetting is becoming bigger as the underlying technology that associates IP addresses and geographical regions becomes more robust. The power of geo-targetted ads is great and it addresses one of the podvertising issues that competes with main stream media. If I am an advertiser hosting an event or sale in Calgary, why would I want to pay to have my ad podcasted all over the world? There's little value in that. Kiptronic's geo-targetting allows me to ensure that my ad is only heard by (and therefore I only pay for) people from Calgary or region.

The Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA), an associate of indie music artists, has decided to use Kiptronic to promote concerts specifically because of this geo-targetting ability. Bands that have concerts or tours coming up can use Kiptronic to advertise to listeners in those specific cities and areas about their upcoming dates.

Keep an eye on ad services that offer geo-targetting. Those services are the ones that will rise to the top.

Update: OK, OK...Jonathan Cobb from Kiptronic has soundly thrashed me for stating that Kiptronic "allegedly" works. I meant it as more of a "I can't verify it because it didn't work for me" statement rather than a "I suspect it doesn't work" statement. Apologies to the Kiptronic crew.
Don't Forget Your Domain
Podshow recently made news again. This time, though, they weren't being flamed by their customers or the Internet at large. Rather, this time they were caught being forgetful.

Yup, on the 9th of October, the domain expired out from under Curry and the gang. Thankfully, there are enough safeguards in place to prevent someone from scopping a domain the instant it becomes available and there was no harm done to the Podshow crew.

I'd like to get Curry's take on the thing, but apparently Podshow is still having troubles because his media for show #475 won't download for me right now. Maybe there was some harm done, afterall.

Anyhow, while it's fun to sit and point, the real lesson here is to keep your contact information up with your registrar. All of them will send out many notices that your domain is about to expire, so as long as you've kept your contact info with them up to date, you'll get them. Alternatively, make yourself a date in your Palm, Hiptop, Windows Mobile, Outlook, Yahoo Calendar or whatever else you use.

Do it now. Then you can really forget about it.

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