What does Todd think about the Audible Podcasting Initiative?

I have had a day or two now to absorb their announcement and a phone call that came into the house tonight from a new friend in New York convinced me of a couple of things. First of all to my new found friend in New York you should have been in bed it was 1am your time. I can be reached most anytime you have my private number.

First of all let me say this, I respect my listeners so much that I think utilizing a mechanism that measures how long they listen to my podcast goes against just about everything I stand for. If it looks like a turd and smells like a turd it probably is. And collecting listening habits of listeners is definitely a turd.

That being said, I will be the first to admit that I really love raw numbers and I am fact driven to a point! With that I think the non-intrusive formula I have been using is good enough and the information that I am able to obtain does not go against my principles of privacy that I hold dear.

So just what is the secret podcast audience size measuring formula. Well it is pretty simple, and I did not even come up with it. A smart guy by the name of Kevin Devin did. He determined if we were conservative in our calculations and program rules and counted the raw unique IP’s that download a complete audio file, and then see how many times that IP comes back and downloads new shows we should have a pretty good idea of the sustained listener base.

We don’t go any further and “mine” that data to figure out who the listener is, what they are using for toilet paper, where they live or nothing crazy like that of which media companies are dying to figure out. The only thing we know is that usually one IP equals one listener and if that IP comes back and downloads another show they have stayed subscribed beyond one show or more.

Again I want to emphasize that It is not important who, what or where that listener is. Because guess what you all send me 100’s of e-mails a week telling me who you are and what you like or don’t like about the show pretty simple isn’t it.

Lets be honest for a second. The media houses would love to get their hands on that treasure trove of information because they can turn that IP into Sally down the street and what kind of car she drives. Guess what I love my audience to much to lower myself to that level. I will not wrap my content in some foreign format just to measure the audience. I would imagine about the time I did my listener numbers would head south faster than a speeding bullet.

I have always thought that the content and added value is what listeners stay subscribed for. I try to find news they would not find else wise, and if I can save them a few bucks from time to time or alert them to something cool I have done my part. Sure the sponsorship helps, and I know the audience respects the need for me to have a sponsor or two and if they like something the sponsor has to offer I hope they buy the product If not, so what! But I also stand behind the products that I endorse.

So in a nutshell the idea Audible had is noble but not well suited for the majority of podcasters. I have met Mitch who did a lot of the work for this new initiative and like his straight forwardness, and I know he will respect my opinion. But lets sum it up in a few words if a advertiser and or agent does not trust me and is not willing to listen to my needs and my audience needs then it is probably a company that I am not going to want to do business with anyway. Podcasters and the Audience are your typical hard working people that deserve to insure that I and any partners I work with respect their privacy and don’t sell out to the highest bidder.