Asking Hard Questions of Podshow

On Twitter yesterday – CC Chapman posted about how people had been asking him if Mobil Oil was a sponsor of his show. This came about after Podshow started running pre-rolls on their network from Mobil. The pre-roll spots are pretty interesting – and attempt to engage the audience at least some because they aren’t typical commercials. They talk about how Mobil is a sponsor of the Rock and Roll Geek Show, and their stuff is cool because of that. Let me just say that I have no problem with PodShow putting ads on any show. When you sign up for Podshow – that’s the deal – you get free bandwidth, they put pre-roll ads on. Supposedly, you can opt out of any ad campaign, but in scouring the site, I have been unable to find any place to do this. I guess you have to email their support team to do this? I don’t really know, because it’s not really clear. It’s clear they are trying to be engaging with the pre-rolls – and not just throw straight commercials up, even though PodShow’s own CEO said recently in an interview:

“There’s no engagement with pre-roll advertising,” explains Bloom. “We believe programming needs to be episodic, invited in by audiences, and must provide a trusted environment for marketers. Messages can be integrated in a relevant and engaging way that audiences embrace.”

So even though he recognizes pre-rolls aren’t that great, they’re running them anyway…..

But what bothers me the most is the seeming lack of respect Podshow has for the podcasters providing content on their network. There’s never been any type of notification before a pre-roll campaign starts so that a podcaster can opt out BEFORE it starts. It’s quite possible that there is an environmental podcaster out there who might not want the Mobil pre-rolls on their podcasts on principle – but they would have had no way of knowing that these spots has started, except to listen to podcasts on the Podshow network. By that time they could have had hundreds of downloads of their show. The fact that Podshow doesn’t communicate with the podcasters on their network shows a lack of respect for the people who are creating the media that sustains it. I’m surprised both at Podshow, and at the podcasters who show indifference. This is YOUR media – your show – and if there is something running on it you don’t like – stick up for yourself, damnit!

Podshow received a lot of flack a few months ago when they ran their “Suck Less” campaign pre-rolls as well. They could have easily avoided this if they had at least had the courtesy to notify podcasters. Again they have started a possibly controversial pre-roll campaign, and again they have forgotten the people who make their business model possible. Now – I don’t have anything at stake here – I don’t use Podshow as primary host of my shows (although I do let their feed vacuum suck my shows in, so they can be played from the Podshow site). But I am just wondering – why are podcasters letting this happen?

–*Rob

Addendum: I’m wondering – am I the only one looking at things in the podcasting world critically? It seems like it. I’m not trying to be negative. I’m trying to get people to think and engage conversation about what I think are tough topics for podcasters to confront. I have nothing but the greatest enthusiasm for the medium of podcasting, and I want it to thrive.

Podcamp Philly

This past Saturday I had the chance to attend my first podcasting conference. Well – “unconference” as they call it. I had a blast at Podcamp Philly meeting all the great folks I’ve had the chance to interact with through my podcast, blog and on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

I was a little hesitant at first to go because it seemed from when the conference was first announced that it was having a rough time getting going, but over the summer the momentum really got going. What it turned into was a great conference with a few hundred people! This was not what I expected initially at all!

It was at Drexel University, right in the heart of Philly. Parking was free, and the conference was free – that part could not be beat! The whole thing was subsidized by corporate sponsors. The sessions were varied – everything from nitty-gritty technical stuff to broader based discussions. I really enjoyed the live recording of Bucket as well. The ability to network with these folks was just amazing.

What I found most satisfying was the fact that even the “A-list” folks who were there were just as accessible as everyone else! I’ve seen this in action the past few months since joining Twitter, but it really came to the fore at the event itself – and I continue to interact with these people on a daily basis through social networking. Among them: CC Chapman, Jen from Bucket, Corey from Bucket, Chris Penn, and Annie Boccio. If you’re not on Twitter – get on there and follow me and I’ll follow you back! I met some cool folks there that I would never have met otherwise, as well, including Benet Wilson who blogs for Aviation Week!

I’m looking forward to the conference again next year, and PodCamp NYC – which is early next year in February.

–*Rob

PS in all my excitement over Podcamp, I forgot to mention that last Friday I put up another episode of the Jersey Jamcast. Go download!