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Can Podcasters Get Paid For Their Attention?
Episode 6612th January 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:10:37

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If you've ever snail-mailed a friend, you've paid to get someone's attention.

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In the future, would you allow your listeners to pay to get

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your attention, podcaster?

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you probably already do.

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

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Podcast tech, more often than not, always seems to be looking

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for a way to get podcasters paid.

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And that's a good thing, right?

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Many cash-conscious podcasters, some are trying to make a living out

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there, some are just trying to pay their hosting bills, but they're keen

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to try out new monetization angles.

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But what if your attention could be monetized?

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Now, Pat mentioned on Monday's episode as a future roadmap item that very thing

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for PodInbox, the option to add some sort of money along with your engagement.

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That's an interesting model that I think is worthy of exploring on today's episode.

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You might've noticed for a few months now that there's a Boostagram

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Corner at the end of most Podcast Pontifications episodes and lots of

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other podcasts do something similar.

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The initial name of Boostagram was based on the singing telegram, really.

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Or maybe a candygram if you are a fan of the movie Blazing Saddles.

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With a Boostagram, it costs money for someone to send a message to you.

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Simple enough.

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But that's not really any different than the postal service.

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Or even harken back to a time, if you can remember, when

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long-distance phone calls cost money.

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The difference then versus now is who is getting the money.

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In the digital world, the cost of transmitting a message is,

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effectively, zero, really.

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So we have no need for stamps if we're just sending an electronic

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communication, no telegraph operator, and the transmission lines that we

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use today to send all of those things are already subsidized sunk costs.

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Today when we pay to send a message, that money goes to the

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recipient rather than the carriers.

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And that's a good thing.

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This idea of monetizing attention, if you will, tends to be pretty

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polarizing amongst podcasters.

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You're either in the pro-getting-paid side where you probably see this concept

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as just an additional potential revenue stream and, therefore, a positive thing.

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Or, you might see this as just one more consequence of late-stage capitalism

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at all costs, further dividing the world into the haves and the have nots.

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Now, both are valid positions, as are myriad other subtle nuances and

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opinions found within those two camps.

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Personally, I lean towards the pro-getting-paid side, which I'm just

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now deciding to call the F-U-P-M party.

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Although, I can see the inherent vileness the skeptics are whirring about with that.

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You see, it's an ethical conundrum to be sure, but it's one we're

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already wading into and we have been wading into for quite some time now.

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If you'll check out your notifications tab on Twitter, they, Twitter,

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already isolates replies from verified users, which segregates the

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noise from the riffraff, I suppose.

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In fact, most social sites have some sort of badge or icon identifying

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the special-ness of a select group of users, automatically and by

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design, giving their posts and even direct messages an extra heft.

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Given the arbitrary nature of how those are doled out, and I am saying this as

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a person who has both a verified Twitter and Google account, I don't really see

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much difference between earning a badge or paying for a message to rise to the

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top of a Podcaster's message queue.

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But there's an even more ubiquitous example of this

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already in the podcasting world.

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Listener support is huge for many podcasters.

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We have Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee, and myriad other services used

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by podcasters every single day.

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Some of them have special tiers that give members members-only rights,

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if you will, like a members-only message board or priority status

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to messages from paying members.

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We're already used to granting special rights to those who support

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our podcasting efforts with their hard-earned funds, so seen in that light,

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allowing someone to boost a message doesn't really seem all that nefarious.

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Again, I think there are huge, huge opportunities for abuse and this

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ass-hattery will happen and this concept might actually perpetuate that.

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I get it.

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And I hope the developers who are making these tools and

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services do not ignore that.

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I guess they can if they want to build their own cesspool of the internet, but

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we have too many of those right now.

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And that doesn't mean we have to support those that don't do a good job.

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However, I think this is a space that's worth keeping our eyes on as people start

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paying podcasters for our attention.

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With that, 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

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

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corrected, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.