Podcasting not a good name? Huh?

I see that Dave Winer and Seth Godin and Mark Ramsey are talking about the name "podcasting" again.

That's a great name! And I haven't heard anyone at Microsoft complain about it in more than eight months. Even before that I only heard one or two arguments like the one Mark is putting out, but one thing at Microsoft that I've noticed is that once someone makes a good case and a consensus is formed we don't go back and reargue stuff like this. Podcasting has stuck. No use debating that anymore.

Did you know we have a podcasting email alias internally at Microsoft? Yeah

We're slow to react to podcasting as a trend, yes. Shame on us for that. But don't believe it's because of the name. It's not (Dave claimed that's why we haven't done a lot of podcasting stuff yet). 

So, why hasn't podcasting taken off more yet? Easy! It's hard to discover new ones (you gotta listen to them).

You go to Podtech.net or Podshow.com and poke around. You have to download a file before you can listen. In that time you probably got bored and started watching Lost again. Or, even if you download something like "Dawn and Drew" you find out that they aren't interesting to you, and think all podcasts are sex talk.  If you're over at Podtech you might get lucky and hit one of their great interviews, but a lot of their stuff is commercial and not that interesting.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are some awesome podcasts out there. I like TWiT, for instance. And, generally anything that Doug Kaye does. And most of the PodTech.net stuff is worth listening to too. Of course there's the Gillmor Gang. 

Interesting that all of those are on the top podcast readout on Share Your OPML. Speaking of which, have you uploaded your OPML yet? Why not? 

Comments

  1. Thanks for the plug for SYO, and glad to hear that MS is unstuck on the “podcast” name — which is Apple’s worst nightmare. Talk to a trademark attorney if you don’t believe me. :-)

  2. Thanks for the plug for SYO, and glad to hear that MS is unstuck on the “podcast” name — which is Apple’s worst nightmare. Talk to a trademark attorney if you don’t believe me. :-)

  3. Well, at GottaBeMobile.com, we call all our videos, audio pieces, etc., “InkShows” (being the Tablet related site we are).

    We like it, keeps us out of the “Pod” confusion when we discuss them!

  4. Well, at GottaBeMobile.com, we call all our videos, audio pieces, etc., “InkShows” (being the Tablet related site we are).

    We like it, keeps us out of the “Pod” confusion when we discuss them!

  5. It’s very easy to discover new podcasts though. Just open up iTunes, click the Podcasts icon, and at the bottom of the (initially empty) list of subscribed podcasts there’s a link to the iTunes podcast directory. That’s how my parents discovered them, located some they enjoyed, and subscribed to them.

  6. It’s very easy to discover new podcasts though. Just open up iTunes, click the Podcasts icon, and at the bottom of the (initially empty) list of subscribed podcasts there’s a link to the iTunes podcast directory. That’s how my parents discovered them, located some they enjoyed, and subscribed to them.

  7. Robert,
    Good to have you back this year at SXSW. Another great source of audio seems to have been coming from some of the great conferences. Once again Doug Kaye/ITC and now the CN is leading the way. We have also been posting ours as we go along. A lot of our content is out there now with more to come. I urge everyone to take a look if they are interested in any of our panels but didn’t get to attend. I always enjoy getting to listen to events that I wasn’t able to attend.

  8. Robert,
    Good to have you back this year at SXSW. Another great source of audio seems to have been coming from some of the great conferences. Once again Doug Kaye/ITC and now the CN is leading the way. We have also been posting ours as we go along. A lot of our content is out there now with more to come. I urge everyone to take a look if they are interested in any of our panels but didn’t get to attend. I always enjoy getting to listen to events that I wasn’t able to attend.

  9. Dave,

    If you’ve talked to a trademark attorney about why podcasting is Apple’s nightmare, can you enlighten us? I won’t have any trouble believing you if you ‘splain.

    BTW,

    The meaning of the name isn’t obvious to everyone… civilians have asked me if POD an acronym (Prince of Darkness? Pieces of Dreck? Poodles of Destiny?), or if it’s a reference to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  10. Dave,

    If you’ve talked to a trademark attorney about why podcasting is Apple’s nightmare, can you enlighten us? I won’t have any trouble believing you if you ‘splain.

    BTW,

    The meaning of the name isn’t obvious to everyone… civilians have asked me if POD an acronym (Prince of Darkness? Pieces of Dreck? Poodles of Destiny?), or if it’s a reference to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  11. “So, why hasn’t podcasting taken off more yet? Easy! It’s hard to discover new ones (you gotta listen to them).”

    It’s not just discovery. It’s that you can’t skim a podcast in the way you can a blog entry. I can’t spare more than about 30 mins a day to listen to podcasts etc. but in that time I could read hundreds of blogs.

  12. “So, why hasn’t podcasting taken off more yet? Easy! It’s hard to discover new ones (you gotta listen to them).”

    It’s not just discovery. It’s that you can’t skim a podcast in the way you can a blog entry. I can’t spare more than about 30 mins a day to listen to podcasts etc. but in that time I could read hundreds of blogs.

  13. I think that “podcast” is a bad name because it’s misleading. I’ve had to explain to multiple people that one does not need an iPod to listen to a podcast. Even I thought that one needed an iPod to listen to a podcast when I first heard the term. It’s one thing to have a “cool” name (not that I think that “podcast” is cool), but it’s another to have a misleading name.

    80% of podcasts are listened to on the computers that download them rather than an mp3 player of any kind, let alone an iPod, accodring to http://news.digitaltrends.com/talkback109.html.

    But I won’t lose sleep over being stuck with a misleading name. :-) But I’m through explaining that an iPod isn’t necessary for podcast consumption, I’ll let those that champion the “podcast” name enlighten everyone on that matter.

    But Robert, I’ve seen some Microsoft literature or UI that referred to “blogcasting” rather than “podcasting” (I forget where I saw this). What’s up with that?

  14. I think that “podcast” is a bad name because it’s misleading. I’ve had to explain to multiple people that one does not need an iPod to listen to a podcast. Even I thought that one needed an iPod to listen to a podcast when I first heard the term. It’s one thing to have a “cool” name (not that I think that “podcast” is cool), but it’s another to have a misleading name.

    80% of podcasts are listened to on the computers that download them rather than an mp3 player of any kind, let alone an iPod, accodring to http://news.digitaltrends.com/talkback109.html.

    But I won’t lose sleep over being stuck with a misleading name. :-) But I’m through explaining that an iPod isn’t necessary for podcast consumption, I’ll let those that champion the “podcast” name enlighten everyone on that matter.

    But Robert, I’ve seen some Microsoft literature or UI that referred to “blogcasting” rather than “podcasting” (I forget where I saw this). What’s up with that?

  15. So, why hasn’t podcasting taken off more yet?

    Ummm, the answers easy enough, Sherlock — lack of skimming, lack of talent, extreme niche, lack of worth, zero ROI…

    Now where “podcasting” has caught on, and caught on bigtime, is merely mp3 sync, aka Rush Limbaugh and the videopodding aka Desp. Housewives, LOST, Battlestar Galactica and the like. A known commodity will always win out over some ego-fed geeks using gadgetry tech, thinking they have showbizy talent. Bad enough having to put up with the egos on the blogs, let alone listening to them yabber on for hours.

    Just brand it, and let the artists take it over. How it always ends up working. But the geeks still think the medium is the message, always on the wrong end of the stick, seeking technical solutions to what is at core a talent issue. And as much as it takes off it’s STILL narrowcasting, and braodcasting is always and eternally will be the big fish.

  16. So, why hasn’t podcasting taken off more yet?

    Ummm, the answers easy enough, Sherlock — lack of skimming, lack of talent, extreme niche, lack of worth, zero ROI…

    Now where “podcasting” has caught on, and caught on bigtime, is merely mp3 sync, aka Rush Limbaugh and the videopodding aka Desp. Housewives, LOST, Battlestar Galactica and the like. A known commodity will always win out over some ego-fed geeks using gadgetry tech, thinking they have showbizy talent. Bad enough having to put up with the egos on the blogs, let alone listening to them yabber on for hours.

    Just brand it, and let the artists take it over. How it always ends up working. But the geeks still think the medium is the message, always on the wrong end of the stick, seeking technical solutions to what is at core a talent issue. And as much as it takes off it’s STILL narrowcasting, and braodcasting is always and eternally will be the big fish.

  17. Podcasting, a term coined by Ben Hammersley, is great! I enjoy the daily cartoon from refrederator, the argument from the BBC Today programme, 43 folders, and Mark Kermode’s film reviews and so on. Once you have subscribed to a feed, the content is thereafter downloaded automatically so you can enjoy it while travelling or later, at your leisure.

  18. Podcasting, a term coined by Ben Hammersley, is great! I enjoy the daily cartoon from refrederator, the argument from the BBC Today programme, 43 folders, and Mark Kermode’s film reviews and so on. Once you have subscribed to a feed, the content is thereafter downloaded automatically so you can enjoy it while travelling or later, at your leisure.

  19. Glad to hear your thoughts on all of this. I agree that it is currently less then optimal to discover podcasts on any of the services/sites/directories out there. I find good and bad points on all of them.

    Have fun at Vloggercon. I’ll be attending via SL

  20. Glad to hear your thoughts on all of this. I agree that it is currently less then optimal to discover podcasts on any of the services/sites/directories out there. I find good and bad points on all of them.

    Have fun at Vloggercon. I’ll be attending via SL

  21. Jeff, Dave Winer invented “Edit this Page.” He was on the SOAP committee. Invented XML-RPC. Popularized RSS, if not invented a lot of its core concepts. Invented OPML. Fathered blogging and popularized that. And just today he released a new OPML tool and news aggregator. Oh, and he also was involved in the first podcasts and came up with the core technology behind it.

    What have you done? Sounds like you’re the one who just talks.

  22. Jeff, Dave Winer invented “Edit this Page.” He was on the SOAP committee. Invented XML-RPC. Popularized RSS, if not invented a lot of its core concepts. Invented OPML. Fathered blogging and popularized that. And just today he released a new OPML tool and news aggregator. Oh, and he also was involved in the first podcasts and came up with the core technology behind it.

    What have you done? Sounds like you’re the one who just talks.

  23. Dave Winer complains about a lot of things, but his contributions to podcasting, RSS, etc., are the stuff of legends. He is a very intelligent individual, and I am thankful for his contributions to podcasting.

    As far as the word ‘podcasting’, nothing to see here. The name is stuck. Use it…..or not. All you have is choice. As podcasters, it is an unwritten law to educate your current, and potential listeners. All I say is it is like radio, but better. It is citizens media, which has been adopted by everybody else. The iPod stigma will pass, but only if we allow it.

  24. Dave Winer complains about a lot of things, but his contributions to podcasting, RSS, etc., are the stuff of legends. He is a very intelligent individual, and I am thankful for his contributions to podcasting.

    As far as the word ‘podcasting’, nothing to see here. The name is stuck. Use it…..or not. All you have is choice. As podcasters, it is an unwritten law to educate your current, and potential listeners. All I say is it is like radio, but better. It is citizens media, which has been adopted by everybody else. The iPod stigma will pass, but only if we allow it.

  25. i love Collectik.net for this. it’s awesome for finding out what the best episodes of podcasts are, etc. it’s like amazon’s “if you like X, you’ll like Y” thing, except for podcasts.

  26. i love Collectik.net for this. it’s awesome for finding out what the best episodes of podcasts are, etc. it’s like amazon’s “if you like X, you’ll like Y” thing, except for podcasts.

  27. Beyond Podcast Discovery

    I’m generally bored by the whole debate over whether ‘Podcasting’ is a good name for podcasting or not. It’s been a topic of debate for most of the two-year existence of podcasting, continuing to this day. In the midst of defending Microsoft’s own…

  28. Podcasting works for me as a name. At this point, if you called it something else, I’d still be calling it Podcasting. We probably should be spending our energy creating amazon like podcast referals for people looking for content rather than barking about the name. And I have to agree with you, as much as I myself bitch about Dave’s bitching, he does get alot of stuff done for alot of folks. And as a side note, if he didn’t bitch so much…he probably wouldn’t be as interesting either.

  29. Podcasting works for me as a name. At this point, if you called it something else, I’d still be calling it Podcasting. We probably should be spending our energy creating amazon like podcast referals for people looking for content rather than barking about the name. And I have to agree with you, as much as I myself bitch about Dave’s bitching, he does get alot of stuff done for alot of folks. And as a side note, if he didn’t bitch so much…he probably wouldn’t be as interesting either.

  30. DotNetRocks is a great podcast! Interestingly, they call themselves “an internet audio talkshow.”

    Anyway, Carl and Richard do a great job.

  31. DotNetRocks is a great podcast! Interestingly, they call themselves “an internet audio talkshow.”

    Anyway, Carl and Richard do a great job.

  32. curious recomendations above. My three major ones are music;
    http://www.americanheartbreak.com/movabletype/index.xml
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/roadhouse
    http://www.bfbs2.com/rnb.xml

    I don’t listen to much talk on podshows. In fact the only two I can think of are really timeshifted radio shows that I never get to listen to on air;
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/podcast/drk_rss.xml
    http://triplej.net.au/thissportinglife/podcast/tsl.xml

    BTW, Neither, especially the second one, rewards the skimmer.

  33. curious recomendations above. My three major ones are music;
    http://www.americanheartbreak.com/movabletype/index.xml
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/roadhouse
    http://www.bfbs2.com/rnb.xml

    I don’t listen to much talk on podshows. In fact the only two I can think of are really timeshifted radio shows that I never get to listen to on air;
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/podcast/drk_rss.xml
    http://triplej.net.au/thissportinglife/podcast/tsl.xml

    BTW, Neither, especially the second one, rewards the skimmer.

  34. I would highly recommend Dave Slusher’s Amigofish (http://www.amigofish.com).

    It is a recomendation engine for podcasts. You can use it without any registration or uploads, or you can upload an OPML file of the podcasts you listen to and it will recommend other podcasts you would probably enjoy.

    It is how I discovered a number of my current favorit podcasts.

    I’m an outlier – I no longer listen to the radio (after listening to the radio every day since I was 7, I’m nearly 32). I grew up without a TV and when I moved to the bay area in January, my tv stayed behind in Chicago. I’ve never been one to buy a lot of CD’s (or download a lot of music). So other than reading (or viewing videos) online, my primary media consumption IS podcasts.

    I listen to a mix of music and news/talk podcasts, with a few hard to categorize ones. A quick list (of names, don’t have the urls handy):

    “Must listen” podcasts – the ones I listen to any day they are published:

    - Cubscast – for my twice weekly update on the Chicago Cubs by fans for fans, a really fantastic example of the best of the medium – light use of music, great discussion and summary of the past set of games, and interesting interviews, rarely more than 20 minutes

    - Digital Flotsam – amazing mix of storytelling and music, produced all to rarely, but worth listening to

    - Down in the Flood – better than 99% of ALL media – “professional” radio, “professional/public tv” etc. This is a ~40 min exploration of the orgins of American Roots Music – always engaging and amazingly well done, one of the few podcasts I do not delete after listening to, but instead save and treasure

    - Adam Curry’s Daily Sourcecode – I’ve been a listener since nearly the very beginning and still enjoy it

    - The Pacific Coast Hellway – relatively short mix of rants, comedy sketches and great music, produced five times a week – foul and profane, impossible to do on mainstream radio yet laugh outloud funny and intelligent at the same time

    - Escape Pod (Robert – btw – this is likely one that you and Patrick would both really enjoy) – audio readings of some of the best of science fiction. A paid market for sf short stories they have done over 50 episodes and all are worth reading, they also publish a feed of just those stories that are not-explicit for their large audiance of families (all of the stories are good and always well read and produced)

    - Accident Hash – great mix of independant music, produced in Boston

    - Digital Noice – another great mix of independant music from Detroit so with a slightly different perspective

    - Karin’s Themed Podcast – truly incrediable podcast out of the Netherlands of a set of songs all around a given theme. Karin mixes in music from all genres and times (so not “podsafe”) creating a hour+ of solid music to listen to, one of my favorite podcasts for background listening while I work

    - IT Conversations – I subscribe to the “full” feed and listen to those shows that interest me (full disclosure, my conference – MeshForum – is distributed online via IT Conversations, watch for my interview with Robert and Shel later this summer!)

    - Podtech news – again I subscribe to their full feed but generally skip through some of their episodes, but enjoy most of them for a different take on the tech industry, a more enterprise centric perspective.

    And I have about 20 other podcasts that I subscribe to that are published less often, though many of them are ones I also listen to immediately when they are published.

    So there are a lot of great ones out there – but yes, there are 1000′s of not so great ones as well (but that’s the appeal for me, all of these content producers are exploring and dicovering what works for them and their audiance – and the beauty is that it is a “niche” medium. So I listen to podcasts in the many niche’s that I belong to – Cub’s fan, sf reader, geek etc.

    Shannon

  35. I would highly recommend Dave Slusher’s Amigofish (http://www.amigofish.com).

    It is a recomendation engine for podcasts. You can use it without any registration or uploads, or you can upload an OPML file of the podcasts you listen to and it will recommend other podcasts you would probably enjoy.

    It is how I discovered a number of my current favorit podcasts.

    I’m an outlier – I no longer listen to the radio (after listening to the radio every day since I was 7, I’m nearly 32). I grew up without a TV and when I moved to the bay area in January, my tv stayed behind in Chicago. I’ve never been one to buy a lot of CD’s (or download a lot of music). So other than reading (or viewing videos) online, my primary media consumption IS podcasts.

    I listen to a mix of music and news/talk podcasts, with a few hard to categorize ones. A quick list (of names, don’t have the urls handy):

    “Must listen” podcasts – the ones I listen to any day they are published:

    - Cubscast – for my twice weekly update on the Chicago Cubs by fans for fans, a really fantastic example of the best of the medium – light use of music, great discussion and summary of the past set of games, and interesting interviews, rarely more than 20 minutes

    - Digital Flotsam – amazing mix of storytelling and music, produced all to rarely, but worth listening to

    - Down in the Flood – better than 99% of ALL media – “professional” radio, “professional/public tv” etc. This is a ~40 min exploration of the orgins of American Roots Music – always engaging and amazingly well done, one of the few podcasts I do not delete after listening to, but instead save and treasure

    - Adam Curry’s Daily Sourcecode – I’ve been a listener since nearly the very beginning and still enjoy it

    - The Pacific Coast Hellway – relatively short mix of rants, comedy sketches and great music, produced five times a week – foul and profane, impossible to do on mainstream radio yet laugh outloud funny and intelligent at the same time

    - Escape Pod (Robert – btw – this is likely one that you and Patrick would both really enjoy) – audio readings of some of the best of science fiction. A paid market for sf short stories they have done over 50 episodes and all are worth reading, they also publish a feed of just those stories that are not-explicit for their large audiance of families (all of the stories are good and always well read and produced)

    - Accident Hash – great mix of independant music, produced in Boston

    - Digital Noice – another great mix of independant music from Detroit so with a slightly different perspective

    - Karin’s Themed Podcast – truly incrediable podcast out of the Netherlands of a set of songs all around a given theme. Karin mixes in music from all genres and times (so not “podsafe”) creating a hour+ of solid music to listen to, one of my favorite podcasts for background listening while I work

    - IT Conversations – I subscribe to the “full” feed and listen to those shows that interest me (full disclosure, my conference – MeshForum – is distributed online via IT Conversations, watch for my interview with Robert and Shel later this summer!)

    - Podtech news – again I subscribe to their full feed but generally skip through some of their episodes, but enjoy most of them for a different take on the tech industry, a more enterprise centric perspective.

    And I have about 20 other podcasts that I subscribe to that are published less often, though many of them are ones I also listen to immediately when they are published.

    So there are a lot of great ones out there – but yes, there are 1000′s of not so great ones as well (but that’s the appeal for me, all of these content producers are exploring and dicovering what works for them and their audiance – and the beauty is that it is a “niche” medium. So I listen to podcasts in the many niche’s that I belong to – Cub’s fan, sf reader, geek etc.

    Shannon

  36. My biggest hangup with Podcasting in general is most are so freaking long, and the speakers talk sooooo sloooow. Yes there are a few gems out there, but unlike a blog where you can do your own self condensation of content in an age of information overload taking longer to make your point an educate me will quickly get you voted off the island.

  37. My biggest hangup with Podcasting in general is most are so freaking long, and the speakers talk sooooo sloooow. Yes there are a few gems out there, but unlike a blog where you can do your own self condensation of content in an age of information overload taking longer to make your point an educate me will quickly get you voted off the island.

  38. I’m not surprised Microsoft doesn’t have a problem with the term. They’ve all but ceded the entire digital music player market to Apple. Windows Media players are a dead end.
    Don’t believe me? Check out the XBox 360 support for iPods (and compare it to the lack of support for most WM players).
    I wish it weren’t true – I own an XBox 360 and incompatible WM player.

  39. I’m not surprised Microsoft doesn’t have a problem with the term. They’ve all but ceded the entire digital music player market to Apple. Windows Media players are a dead end.
    Don’t believe me? Check out the XBox 360 support for iPods (and compare it to the lack of support for most WM players).
    I wish it weren’t true – I own an XBox 360 and incompatible WM player.

  40. [...] Robert Scoble thinks that the reason why podcasting have not taken off more is because it’s hard to find new ones. “You go to Podtech.net or Podshow.com and poke around. You have to download a file before you can listen. In that time you probably got bored and started watching Lost again. Or, even if you download something like “Dawn and Drew” you find out that they aren’t interesting to you, and think all podcasts are sex talk. If you’re over at Podtech you might get lucky and hit one of their great interviews, but a lot of their stuff is commercial and not that interesting.” [...]

  41. Social networking with OPML

    Via Scobelizer (in an article in which he opines that podcasts aren’t taking off as much as people expected because of the difficulty to find and preview them), follow the link from the title to Share Your OPML. At that site…

  42. Hello, When searching for podcasts, one doesn’t simply sit down and begin a quest to locate them. That action falls outside of the human experience. Mostly, a person would be introduced to podcast episodes from referrals or by asking a close friend – that is how we work as humans, and no new technology is going to make out actions change.

    Also, I just wanted to submit an information update regarding the MyChingo Audio Comment System.

    A new FREE Membership is now available!

    The free audio comment system has all the same features as a paid membership, with a reduced recording time of 2-minutes per message instead of the 30-minutes which paid members receive.

    Sign up for your free MyChingo Audio Comment System by visiting http://www.mychingo.com/signup.asp

    Michael

  43. Hello, When searching for podcasts, one doesn’t simply sit down and begin a quest to locate them. That action falls outside of the human experience. Mostly, a person would be introduced to podcast episodes from referrals or by asking a close friend – that is how we work as humans, and no new technology is going to make out actions change.

    Also, I just wanted to submit an information update regarding the MyChingo Audio Comment System.

    A new FREE Membership is now available!

    The free audio comment system has all the same features as a paid membership, with a reduced recording time of 2-minutes per message instead of the 30-minutes which paid members receive.

    Sign up for your free MyChingo Audio Comment System by visiting http://www.mychingo.com/signup.asp

    Michael

  44. [...] I do have one question through… Why are we always overlooked by promient bloggers and services? It still amazes me that people always gloss over us and talk about Podtech when I think we cover relevent web 2.0 news and ideas as well. Oh well, I will probably never understand ;) [...]

  45. “It’s hard to discover new ones.”

    Why is it more fun to wander through YouTube? Maybe when podcasting shifts from 90% audio to audio+video, then you’ll get more adoption. But will it still be called podcasting?

  46. “It’s hard to discover new ones.”

    Why is it more fun to wander through YouTube? Maybe when podcasting shifts from 90% audio to audio+video, then you’ll get more adoption. But will it still be called podcasting?

  47. From my own personal observances — and I do Internet marketing, seo for a living — I LIVE on the Internet — I think that the greatest market segment that podcasting can appeal to simply hasn’t picked up on it yet. I’d wonder what high percentage of people online really even know what RSS is yet.

  48. From my own personal observances — and I do Internet marketing, seo for a living — I LIVE on the Internet — I think that the greatest market segment that podcasting can appeal to simply hasn’t picked up on it yet. I’d wonder what high percentage of people online really even know what RSS is yet.