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Podango Speaks

Yesterday, I wrote about Pondango. More specifically, while I said I was intrigued by the concept, I was worried that there didn't appear to be any protection for podcasters to ensure that they were paid by station directors.

Lee Gibbons, Founder and CEO of Podango, read my post and responded to me via email. In part, Lee says:

"We (Doug Smith, my biz partner and I) absolutely would never intend to create a means of cutting podcasters out of any money at all. On the contrary, we absolutely insist that Station Owners allocate fair portions of their revenues to podcasters. We also have the payment system set up to distribute funds directly to podcasters, as opposed to passing it through the SDs. Finally, any podcaster who wishes to can start their own station, and compete with a S who doesn't honor distribution agreements. So, all in all, we feel like we have served Podcasters really well with the model."

Sounds like they have it covered. I'm not trying to make sation directors sound like evil people, but let's face it: those of us who have been in this space for a while have probably been stiffed before. It's good news that I, as a podcaster, can be paid directly rather than waiting for my station director to pay me.


There's another lesson here, however. Lee responded to me in private rather than commenting directly on Biz Podcasting. Lee has a concern that when CEOs and other company reps respond to blogs in comments that it can seem contrived and taken out of context.

I agree that many, many situations like this are indeed contrived, but I also feel that the purpose of the blogosphere is to have open and transparent conversations. I empathize that it can sometimes be hard to gauge the proper tone to respond with, however, and that's why I'm meeting Lee halfway and providing the meat of his rebuttal to me here.

Now we all know.

Thanks for clarifying, Lee.

4 Comments/Trackbacks

I'm still not sure this is a good thing. How does Podango prevent people from adding podcasts to stations where the podcaster hasn't agreed to take part in the station?

From all I've read it sounds like these SDs can just aggregate whatever feeds they want and then start soliciting advertising.

It also sounds like Podango won't take action against SDs who fail to pass on revenue when they state, "...any podcaster who wishes to can start their own station, and compete with a S who doesn't honor distribution agreements."

Shouldn't Podango assess penalties against SDs who fail to honor their agreements?

Hey Rob,

I also found the part about the SDs not honouring their agreements to be incongruous with the statement that Podango pays the podcasters directly.

As for aggregating - there is a sign up process. Podcasters and SDs have to sign up in order to participate so I would imagine that there's some check and balance in there. But even if there's not, then it's just like real life, right? I can aggregate your show or your blog and as long as I'm not violating your licensing (which very few bloggers and podcasters make known anyhow) then there's not much you can do about it.

I see Podango as a turn-key podcast network offering. If I want to start a podcast network, I don't have to build the infrastructure or find my own advertisers any more. All I have to do is recruit a bunch of like-minded podcasters to come together under my brand and let Podango do the rest.

Admittedly I don't see this model working for the busy spaces like business/marketing, technology, and music, but I can see niche topcis like Linux, white water rafting, and hobby farming doing well within this model.

I'm as hesitant as you, however. This is kind of a new thing and I'm not sure where all the sharp edges are yet.

Rob, Jon (and others who may be following this post and its comments),

I am Lee, Podango's CEO. In Jon's honest, and fair-minded way, he responded to me and let me know that he had posted again, here.

I really appreciated something he shared in his email to me, and I am posting here in direct response to this quote:

"I think your rebuttal is important and while I can appreciate your reasons for replying to me in private, I think it's critical that your information be on Biz Podcasting side by side with my concerns."

In that spirit, I would like to respond to Rob's concerns about Podango Station Directors possibly just taking feeds and including them without permission. Station Directors are not only encouraged to acquire permissions prior to loading any RSS feed or individual podcast into their Podango Station, they are required to do so within their Station Director Agreement. Further, Podango provides a standardized template Podcaster Agreement that Station Directors use in recruiting podcasters. It is a three-way agreement between Podango, the SD, and the Podcaster and is constructed as a win, win, win arrangement for all three parties.

Here are a few excerpts from that agreement, to illustrate what I mean:

"We claim no ownership in your independently obtained and established domain names and RSS feeds associated with your podcasts."

"By this Agreement, you permit us to create customized station RSS feeds to fulfill the end-user experience associated with subscription to your podcasts."

"We will be the agent through whom advertisers contract to place ads on your podcasts. You, the Station Owner and we will take joint responsibility in recruiting advertisers to advertise on your podcasts. Advertisers pay us directly and:

"1. We will pay the Station Owner and you directly.
"2. We will make these payments by the fifteenth day of each month..."

Still, you are right. Rob. Podango is introducing a brand new model. There are bound to be challenges and unintended consequences, as with all solutions to existing problems. In consideration of that fact, I am very confident in spaeking for Doug Smith, my business partner in saying that our passion is to find those issues as early as possible in our lifecycle and mitigate them in the most fair and expedient way we can find.

Please let me hear of any specific concerns you have, and I will be sure to address them with you either personally, or in the public forum in which you bring them forward. (Thanks for that coaching, Jon!)

Hey Lee,

Thanks for stopping by. This is a good conversatsion. I'm glad we're getting soe of this stuff ironed out.

Im still confused as to whether podcasters are paid directly or via their SD, however. A small point I'm sure, but I'm curious :)

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