Today my feed reader has given me new hope. I'm still in the signup process so I can't speak to how well it works, but Radio Tail Ripple claims to be able to give me podcast stats without hosting my files or taking over my feed. Apparently, all I have to do is make a change to my enclosure URL in my feed to take advantage of their free service. From the FAQ:
RadioTail Ripple gives you all the tools you need to attract advertisers. You can build a profile for advertisers to see, and set the privacy levels of that profile to be sure that you only share the data you choose to.
In order to get reliable statistics, our system gives you a RadioTail Ripple URL for each of your media files that you place in your website and RSS enclosures. That URL redirects the listener to your original media file but logs the download into your RadioTail Ripple stats.My only impression so far is that the site is brutally slow. My sign up procedure was painful and after 5 minutes I still have not received my confirmation email. I'm sure it's coming - 5 minutes isn't that long.
While I realize that there's no way to get around the redirect if I want them to count my stats, I'm a little anxious to see how this turns out. I know from experience that iTunes doesn't handle redirects well because I used to use them with Loudblog to track stats. Many iTunes listeners complained that they ended up downloading my go.php page rather than my audio files.
Oops! There's my confirmation email. More to follow...