Hello Hello. Welcome to Tuesday; I hope everyone has found ways to keep “working” ahead of the holidays and not dreaming too much about the hordes of food we here in the US will be eating in a few days. Today’s problem is a hodgepodge of things – a good mix. Today we’re talking about what happens when a podcast app is acquired, ExxonMobil “fools” The Dailyand more.
EXCLUSIVE: Acast acquired RadioPublic in February; now podcasters say the business has gone dark on them
In February, Acast, the Europe-based hosting and monetization company, acquired RadioPublic, a podcast player and company known for its creator-centric technology. The acquisition was pitched to me as a way for Acast to reclaim the podcast space and become big in the US. Notably, Matt MacDonald, co-founder and chief product officer of RadioPublic, told me at the time: “We have no intention of shooting [the RadioPublic] app down.
But now, nine months after purchase, podcasters say the app is stuck and not updating. New episodes are not regularly uploaded to some show pages; some podcasters cannot publicly list new shows; and, beyond that, many say they can’t get in touch with the company despite a dedicated support email and social media. The problem seems to have been going on for months. Lots of people have tweeted at the company, but I’ll include some screenshots below so you can get an idea.
A podcaster, Klaudia Amenábar, who animates queer star wars podcast Podrace of RuPalp, tells me that she ran into problems trying to distribute the show on RadioPublic. Although her RSS feed worked fine on all other listening apps, every time she tried to make it publicly available on RadioPublic, she received an error message. This went on, she says, for months and is still unresolved. MacDonald emailed her directly, once she tweeted about Acast’s account, and told her the team was “unable to assist individual podcasts in diagnosing a specific error,” according to one. screenshot seen by The edge. She then tried to also distribute a second show with a separate RSS feed and received the same error. Her hosting provider, Simplecast, fixed their RSS feed to make sure nothing weird was going on, she says, and, “in the end, they were like, ‘This is really weird, must be a problem of RadioPublic'”.
I contacted Acast for comment and got this: “We are aware of an issue that currently appears to be affecting a small number of streams on the RadioPublic platform, impacting the submission and display of new content. We understand this is frustrating for affected creators and for fans trying to access new content from the affected streams. Our team is investigating the cause and working to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We will share an update with the community once we have more information.
Now, RadioPublic is not a prominent or even remotely essential application to podcasters’ distribution strategy. (Dave Zohrob, CEO of Chartable, tells me that over the past 30 days this was less than 0.1% of plays, as does Justin Jackson, co-founder of Transistor.fm, from March data, which, yeah, not great, but also not helped by the fact that at least some shows can’t update their episodes.) But the reason I bring up this story is because of the many acquisitions we’ve seen in this space and use that as an example of how not to handle it, especially if you’re connecting directly with podcasters. Don’t leave them hanging. Another podcaster I spoke with, David Cameo, the founder and host of Death screaminga Walking Dead podcast, tells me he embedded the RadioPublic player on his website for four years until the company went silent.
“I just gave them up. Should. Nobody cares.”
The DailyThe ExxonMobil announcement and the struggle to get good podcast ads
A conversation is brewing about how oil companies are using podcast ads to advance their message and brand. Emily Atkin at Heated newsletter wrote last week about an ExxonMobil ad that ran in The Daily what she says is misleading. (See Atkin’s post for details of the announcement and its proposed changes.)
She writes that the ad “seemed to violate The Dailythe policy against fossil fuel sponsorships. However, a Time spokesman told him, “We don’t allow oil and gas companies to sponsor The Daily wholesale”, but “[any] the company may place advertising spots in The Daily podcast, as long as it meets our advertising acceptability guidelines.
Also worth adding to the story here Perforated podcast host Amy Westervelt’s thread on other oil companies and oil-dependent brands using podcast ads. One person rating Politico Energy podcast is sponsored by Chevron, which indeed seems to be true, just as another example.
Still, that line between sponsorships and one-off advertising is definitely strange for the Time draw, and I won’t pretend to understand it. But I reached out to a few people on the advertising side to figure out how the TimeThe fact-checking process usually takes place and if this announcement raised alarm bells for them. An ad buyer told me he got the Time push back advertising content and request data or research to back up what is being said. They also said complaints are not allowed; neither are endorsements. Others didn’t seem shocked by what was said in this particular announcement. One person likened Exxon’s “clever phrasing” to how tech companies often market their products – promoting a new feature – but doubted the Time‘ listeners would be fooled into thinking that Exxon has nothing to do with oil so easily.
Basically, I imagine this is just the start of a broader backlash against misleading ads, as well as strange brand/content pairings, both from audiences and podcast hosts. This can happen for several reasons: 1.) As more independent shows become businesses, they cede control of their advertisers to bigger, hungrier sales teams. 2.) As more money enters the space, which I will have much more to say about in the coming weeks, bigger advertisers are pouring in, often those who run more controversial businesses. 3.) Dynamic ad insertion becoming more popular means that more shows allow ad marketplaces to automatically insert ads based on audience targeting. This could produce unwanted matches.
All this to say that I am closely watching how this plays out. We expect weird graphic ads to appear next to articles we read online. We probably feel the same way about radio commercials. Will this expectation of shitty commercials also happen to podcasts?
Confused podcast listeners take a helpful look at the Apple Podcasts bombshell
You might remember people pointing out months ago that Apple Podcasts maintains an extremely low app rating. People hate that, I guess. So imagine the shock and awe when the positive reviews started pouring in, bumping its rating from 1.8 stars to 4.6. The catch, though, is that these reviews are all touting various podcasts, not the app itself. My colleague Sean Hollister has the whole story, but Apple has confirmed that he’s relying on a new review prompt. “With iOS 15.1 released last month, Apple Podcasts began prompting listeners to leave a rating and review, just like most third-party apps – using the standard rating and rating prompt available to all users. developers,” an Apple spokesperson said. People are just confused as to what they are supposed to be looking at. The power of an in-app push!
Facebook pays people up to $50,000 to use its live audio feature
Information reports (from behind a paywall) that Facebook is using money to trick creators into using its Live Audio Rooms feature. According to the article: “Facebook offers to pay musicians and other creators $10,000 to $50,000 per session on its five-month-old live audio product, plus a guest fee of $10,000 or more,” according to ” persons having direct knowledge of the terms case.”
At this price, hosts must compose four to six live programs of at least 30 minutes each. I’ll be shocked if anyone logs into these rooms, honestly, but I can’t blame people for wanting to get the $$$. However, what I don’t fully understand about these tech companies spending millions to get people to try out their new feature is if any of these users will actually stick around when the money runs out. An open question at this point.
Now, finally, one for the Goners in the room:
Since when podcast is releasing a musical commentary album?
I hate to admit that I became a goner, but it happened. For our purposes, however, Since whenan interview and culture show co-hosted by Chris Black and Jason Stewart, signed with Jagjaguwar label to release an album this now a tracklist and details. Released on December 17, the duo apparently recorded an 80-minute commentary on music by various Jagjaguwar artists. Two CDs for $13.99. Accessories for creative monetization.
Alright, that’s it. It’s long, but I have to make up for lost time in the future. I’ll catch up with you all next Tuesday. Ta-ta.