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Giving Your Podcast's Listeners A Public Voice With PodInbox
Episode 6410th January 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:11:33

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It's the rare podcaster who doesn't want more engagement or

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feedback from their listeners.

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But getting people to do so has been historically hard.

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Maybe the incentives need to change?

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Voicemail and podcasting have made for some strange bedfellows

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since the beginning of podcasting.

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At its core, voicemail is about giving the listeners a chance to talk back

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to the podcast, something that seems like it should be incredibly easy given

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the fact that most podcast listening takes place on a mobile phone, right?

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Well, as podcasters, we all know how hard it actually is.

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One company, PodInbox, is trying to change all that and use the power of

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voice, both for the listener and the podcaster, to increase podcast engagement.

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PodInbox is the Branded Benefits Sponsor for today's episode, and I

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asked the founder, Pat Cheung, how PodInbox will make podcasting better.

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The way I see it, podcasting is a very one-sided conversation, normally.

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When a podcaster jumps on the mic, they're usually just speaking into the void.

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The trend of podcasting these days is for audience engagement, right?

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And there's a lot of technologies tackling this with live and social audio.

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But we have a little bit of a different way we're approaching

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it in that [PodInbox is] letting fans interact with the podcaster

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asynchronously through audio messages.

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How does the information get back to the podcaster, and how

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do other listeners/users of PodInbox interact with the content?

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Every podcaster gets a PodInbox page where their fans go and interact

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with them by leaving audio messages.

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All the messages are public, right now at least.

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Our philosophy is let's keep all the messages public to make it a

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little bit more of a fun and social atmosphere to share messages.

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So we make podcasting better by allowing an audience member to talk back to the

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podcaster, and to have that shared comment - in voice - available to other people

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who might also want to listen to that podcast via the podcast PodInbox page.

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Am I capturing things properly?

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Yeah, I think you said it better than me.

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So, if we look at SpeakPipe and Community and Google Voice, and you

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compare those to PodInbox, what does PodInbox do differently than the other

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solutions in the market right now?

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One of the big differentiators we started with is, what if we

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made these voicemails public?

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That's already very different.

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It seems so simple, but that nuanced difference is important

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because when someone comes to your page, let's say, there's not much

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social proof of what you do there.

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You don't really get to listen to other fans.

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You don't get to meet other fans.

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So we like to say ours is a lot easier and a lot more fun.

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I'm always curious who else is listening to this podcast?

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Through our app, you can actually see who are the other super fans interacting with

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that podcaster.

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And we have

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these social profiles, too, similar to what you might see on Instagram

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or Twitter, these little profile cards that you can actually learn a

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little bit about the other fans, too.

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So we think that's interesting and different.

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You're almost combining reviews with voicemails.

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Those reviews are public, and they act as really good social proof.

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I see many podcasters, I am one of them, who, if I get a nice review, I will

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share that across my social channels.

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Do you see something similar for PodInbox?

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Reviews is a good analogy, but I think we go a little bit beyond reviews.

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We really think about it as engagement because when a fan leaves

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a message, you as a podcaster, can also leave a text or an audio reply.

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So we really believe that just a slight touch point of engagement

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can really get that fan excited.

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When the fan gets really excited, that's when they become a super fan,

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and that's when they actually spread the news about your show with their

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spheres of influence or whatnot.

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So a reply is very different, right?

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Let's say you got a voicemail; you can't actually leave a voicemail reply

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to the person who gave you a voicemail.

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You have to call them back.

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So it's way too involved for a lot of podcasters.

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We really designed this whole product with the podcaster in mind,

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like how much time they have, how manageable these voicemails will be.

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So in their dashboard, we give them tools to download the audio

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clip to play on their show.

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We see a lot of podcasters do this to spark this fan engagement.

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And that's one of the downsides of, you mentioned this other tool, Google Voice.

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It's actually really hard to download an audio file from Google Voice.

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We see a lot of people still saying, "Email me your audio clip."

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W e've heard that many times and we're like, wow, people are still doing this?

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Then, of course, there's this weird exchange where people say, "Well,

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how do we email you an audio clip?

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There's no record function on email."

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And then, the podcaster has to reply and say, "Download an audio app, and

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you record your audio, you download it into your Drive or whatever, and

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then you add it as an attachment."

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That's a little cumbersome, obviously.

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What's on the roadmap?

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You've got a great system, nice and easy.

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But what can podcasters look forward to with PodInbox in the coming units of time?

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The feature we're really excited about is helping podcasters

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monetize from their audience.

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So if you think of the Patreons of the world or the Buy Me A C

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offees of the world, we want to add that functionality to PodInbox.

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The reason why we're excited about it and a lot of our users are excited about it

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is our philosophy is that at the point of

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engagement, that might

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be a good place to ask for monetary support.

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A lot of times, we hear podcasters asking them to go there, to go

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do something, which is, maybe not the most natural thing, right?

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You have to go there to give money.

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And what we think might be a little bit

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more natural—we study Twitter a lot and other places—w hen they're

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already engaging, when they're finding

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that value,

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I know you talked a lot about value for value, when they're

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getting value directly

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from that podcaster, then they might be

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inclined to say, wow, this podcaster actually

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puts a lot of work into this.

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I want to

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support this podcaster

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with a tip or a donation or whatever.

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They might be inclined to do that.

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So if you can

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imagine, they leave

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you a voicemail, and maybe they really

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want you to hear it, maybe seeing a donation that comes along with that

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might be very eyecatching . A lot of the

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creator economy is based off of this notion of being appreciative for what

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creators do.

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That's

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what we're trending towards because there's a lot of ways to monetize, right?

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Sometimes there's an expectation of getting something when you give.

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We think

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that Patreon is a little

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bit built on that premise where you get content and things

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like that.

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Right, support

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me, and I will give you access to these things, a t-shirt, a

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sticker.

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Buy something to get something,

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yes.

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And we're not too sure how well or not well that works

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in the podcasting industry.

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A lot of podcasters

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have a lot of things to give, like t-shirts, and they have the

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time to do that, but a lot of

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podcasts don't

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. We think a lot of times fans are just

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so excited even to engage; that is reward enough.

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Right, just

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having that

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connection, enabling

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that engagement, and then finding clever ways to have some sort of

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monetary value attached to it as

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an option is an interesting

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way

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for them when they want to take the next step.

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A special thanks, again, to Pat for his insights here and to PodInbox

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for being the Branded Benefits Sponsor for today's episode.

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Engagement is at the center of everything that Pat mentioned

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during this short interview.

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And I tend to agree with Pat that the public nature of

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voicemails really changes the entire

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landscape of feedback and reviews in

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general.

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I talked

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about it very quickly, but I really think that this concept might be the better

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reviews we've all been looking for.

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But try it out and see for

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yourself.

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Even better,

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if you enter "Evo," my name, E-V-O, into the promo code box when

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you sign up at PodInbox.com,

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you'll save 30%, which gets it down to like less than six bucks a month.

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And if you want to see it in action, there is a PodInbox page for this show.

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Just go to

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PodInbox.com/evoterra, and you

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can listen to the messages people have already left me.

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And

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leave your own, as well.

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Of course,

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there's no way I can have a fun conversation like this without my

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mind spinning and having other ideas.

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I want to talk about engagement more.

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Specifically, about the power differential that exists between

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listeners and podcasters.

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And by the way, it's in our favor and we need to

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change that.

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So that's

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going to be

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tomorrow's episode.

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Later this

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week, I'll dig into the

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ethics behind non-standard

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monetization options.

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And I'm going to wax poetically

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for a long time about a world where all of the data of all

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podcasts is made public.

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That should be fun!

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.