The state of RSS feeds in Podcasting

Over the past 7 days my team of volunteers at Podcast Connect, have been reviewing all of the nominations for the 2006 People’s Choice Podcast Awards. This year we had some automated tools to help us with RSS Validation, and recorded site and show grading process.

I have never been so utterly blown away by the sad state of affairs when it comes to Podcasters RSS feeds, and some of the crap we have been sorting through.

1st of 3281 nominated shows the RSS Invalid rate according to FeedValidator.org was a shocking 78%

2nd of the remaining 22% that were valid 96% had glaring errors

3rd With website reviews done on nearly 500 shows. 42% did not have an RSS feed button on there home page, 99% had a iTunes link. 26% did not have a link to the file in there show notes, 21% had less than 2 lines of show notes and 3% of the sites the reviewers could not even find the podcast section.

4th We found RSS feeds over 500K in length with the longest feed having 367 entries. I guess people did not realize that iTunes stops importing feeds when the rss file exceeds 250K

5th Good luck contacting podcasters only 49% had contact information available from either a home or contact page. The remaining shows had absolutely no way to contact them besides the comment form on their websites.

Even more amazing we found of the 3200 plus shows 200 shows that were calling themselves a podcast had no RSS feed, was not listed in any directory, and only provided direct link downloads not surprisingly these shows had low double digit nominations.

This was beyond frustrating to the team and we had a conference call today to talk about it, we were all pretty blown away by the stats. It looks like to me we have a lot of podcasters that are going through the motions yet have not a clue on what it takes to build a successful show.

This was not even a issue last year, it just goes to show you that the more people that are doing shows the lower the bar becomes in taking the time to make sure the most basic functions of a site is maintained. Some of these folks need to pick up my book, and read the fundamentals, and promotions sections. It is beyond sad, and I am beyond disappointed on the state of RSS feeds in the space. There was even one podcast that we reviewed that said you have to use iTunes and you have to use a iPod to listen to a podcast.

The question I have is what does your site look like.