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Pondering Podcasting's Partiality Problem [S3E120]
Episode 1203rd May 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

It's hard for podcasting to be the great equalizing force

Evo Terra:

when podcasting's tech vendors play favorites to determine which podcasts

Evo Terra:

are worthy of timely distribution.

Evo Terra:

You're less in control than you think.

Evo Terra:

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

Evo Terra:

With millions of podcasts now available, which means tens of millions of episodes

Evo Terra:

available, the tubes that get your podcast's episodes to your listeners

Evo Terra:

are getting a little jammed up.

Evo Terra:

Okay, that's not how the internet works, Senator, but it's an unfortunately

Evo Terra:

apt metaphor for where we are today.

Evo Terra:

Because with millions of podcasts and tens, if not hundreds, of millions of

Evo Terra:

episodes available, it takes a while to get the updates where they need to go.

Evo Terra:

Now, we're used to having to wait some time before the directories

Evo Terra:

updated their front page, if you will.

Evo Terra:

But also until recently we have assumed that subscribers to our

Evo Terra:

show, using the apps connected to those directories, someone who has

Evo Terra:

subscribed/followed will get the episode within a few minutes of publishing.

Evo Terra:

The difference is the directory may not update for the general public,

Evo Terra:

just like when a delivery comes into a store, the first thing they do is

Evo Terra:

fill all the existing orders and then they put stuff out in the showroom.

Evo Terra:

Same kind of deal in podcasting if an additional metaphor

Evo Terra:

is helpful for us today.

Evo Terra:

But anyhow, people who were subscribed can now get it or always

Evo Terra:

were getting it within minutes.

Evo Terra:

Well, not anymore.

Evo Terra:

A particular podcast I listened to that dropped an episode on Thursday didn't make

Evo Terra:

it to me in my podcatcher until Saturday.

Evo Terra:

In fact, even the episode that I dropped on Thursday, no, it wasn't just a Thursday

Evo Terra:

problem, but the episode I put out on Thursday at 9:55 in the morning, it

Evo Terra:

took hours, like way into the evening, like four or five o'clock, I think,

Evo Terra:

before it actually reached my phone.

Evo Terra:

Now why is this happening?

Evo Terra:

Well, it's happening for extremely boring infrastructure changes

Evo Terra:

on Apple Podcasts specifically.

Evo Terra:

I'm going to point you to an article James Cridland from Podnews

Evo Terra:

wrote that goes into great detail of exactly what the change is.

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Apple does not update all podcasts at the same frequency.

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Instead, they, Apple, make a determination of how quickly or how worthy, if you will,

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your content is of being updated by then.

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Surprising absolutely no one, shows that have much larger audiences who

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put out content on a very frequent basis are deemed more worthy and are

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therefore updated much more quickly.

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Now, if you are troubled by this, as honestly, I was troubled

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by this when I discovered it, well, that's how pretty much all

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podcast directories and apps work.

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Or at least a lot of them work that way.

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It's just not a smart way to spend resources if you are treating,

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if you the directory, treat every single podcast exactly the same.

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Look, you're wasting resources checking all those shows that

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haven't updated in six months.

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So you want to refocus and make a determination of, I'll use the term again,

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worthiness based on a variety of factors.

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Now, if you're troubled by that, well, this is how search engines work.

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Google doesn't crawl all websites at the exact same time, every single

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day with the same frequency or depth.

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And any changes that Google, for example, discovers on a website, take time before

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they populate back in the directory.

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Some pages get updated quickly.

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Some take a long time.

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I think we all knew this was happening in podcasting, but I also think we

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all thought we could bypass this by getting people to subscribe/follow

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our shows because then it didn't have to wait for the directory to update.

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It would just go automatically.

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Well, no.

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I think we can no longer safely assume that.

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So what do we do?

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What do we do in this reality that not everything, we're not all seen

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as worthy in the eyes of the tech gurus that hold on to all of this?

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I think it's especially bad if you publish a ride home format like

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Techmeme Ride Home, or even Post Reports by The Washington Post.

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You're no longer able, those people are no longer able to be assured that

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their listeners are going to get the content before that commute begins.

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If you're publishing first thing in the morning format, like there's a

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podcast out of Australia called 7am.

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It's right there in the title 7am Podcast.

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You can't be confident that it's going to be in your listener's

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ears at 7:00 AM or on their devices that they can put it in their ears.

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And it's not just these two shows.

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Dayparting of content is a growing trend.

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I was reading an article over the weekend about somebody who is publishing

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eight different episodes per day.

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You can't trust, we can't trust podcast apps and services to deliver

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our content on a timely fashion.

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It's not a one-to-one relationship like many of us, me included, kind of assumed.

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But, you know what is?

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Email.

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I know I'm going to go off on email again, but really when you send

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an email to someone, it sends.

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It takes a little bit of time for it to go through the pipe to get there, but that's

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not an app updating a directory somewhere.

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And yes, if you've got a giant mailing list, when you hit send, it may take

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several minutes, and, I guess, possibly an hour or so for it to churn through

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what it takes to go through that, but at least you, the sender, received

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a notice when the sending is done.

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So you can then adjust the time you begin that job so that everything is

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delivered by a certain timeframe for you.

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So if you really want to be certain that your audience knows you released

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an episode and probably gets it, consider email as your backup plan, as

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your sort of fail-safe, if you will.

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Now, how you handle that email is totally up to you.

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You know, I think you know, I really go all-in on the email.

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You can see that if you sign up for Podcast Pontifications in your

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inbox at podcastpontifications.com.

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I set that to send out every day at 10:00 AM and it's in every

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inbox within minutes of that.

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Now, plenty of people still subscribe to/follow Podcast Pontifications in

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their choice, preferred listening app.

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That's fine.

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I'm a big fan of over delivery, not under delivery.

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That's my goal.

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Have you been frustrated by slow episode delivery on your show?

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If not, well, congratulations.

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But you probably will be at some point in time and certainly someone who you

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connect with likely has experienced this and is wondering what's going on.

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Well, email them this article, telling them that there's at least a potential

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weird solution of utilizing email.

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And if you love the idea, I would love for you to go to buymeacoffee.com/EvoTerra,

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and slide a virtual coffee my way.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.