Apple removes Ping Feature Podcasters Need from Itunes!

Since Apple introduced Podcast in the iTunes application in June of 2005, there has been a feature where a podcaster could ping Apple to let them know that a new episode  had been published.  This guaranteed that time sensitive content was able to get listed and be available to subscribers with a few hours of its posting. Sometime earlier this week Apple removed that feature. It came to light when we discovered that pinging apple now redirects you to a online version of iTunes.

Completely unannounced to even their support people, Apple.com has removed the documentation how to ping iTunes when your podcast updates from the official  iTunes podcast specifications. I cannot even start to explain how bad an impact this is going to have. Apple says they will now update directory listings once every 24 hours. Problematic if  Apple just visited your site 5 minutes before you hit publish on the hottest story of the decade. Podcasters with evergreen content this change means little.

Since July of 2005 when Apple introduced Podcast to iTunes this has been a critical feature in more ways than one. From a tech support angle, it makes it much harder for my company to support podcasters when they are having trouble as well.

In recent days my audience members complained that the listings were not updating for a couple of days after the show was published which is suspect because once subscribed to a show the listing in iTunes should update automatically when you sync your phone. This is going to negatively impact on listener numbers either way, and also make shows that have time sensitive information less relevant. If you are a podcaster you need to voice your opinion very loudly with Apple. We need this feature re-instated to ensure that podcast listings on iTunes get updated in a timely manner.

For More Info on how this is going to impact you please read my companies official post on this.

Todd Cochrane

Comments

  1. says

    Todd, the ping service only updates the iTunes Store, not your iTunes client. Your iTunes client checks for new shows according to the interval that you set in prefs. It doesn’t talk to Apple looking for new shows.

    Unless people are only playing podcasts through the iTunes Store and not subscribing, I don’t see this as a problem.

    If I am mistaken, please enlighten me. From all that I have read what I stated above is correct.

  2. says

    I’m not so concerned about iTunes listings being updated. For me, this tool was invaluable when troubleshooting feed issues. Without the ping page we were used to getting, there’s no way for us to verify what feed Apple is pulling the content from.

    This was a key resource back when we had to “update” feeds while FeedBurner was being acquired by Google, and was helpful for us to point out that Apple was indeed not updating the feeds, despite using the “New Feed URL” settings in various podcast plugins, or even in manually adding a redirect to an htaccess file.

    If Apple wants to pull it because of confusion with their new Ping service, I’m okay with that. Just be proactive and make a new tool that will give us who troubleshoot many feeds the same functionality. We need troubleshooting tools like this, and taking it away without replacing it with something else (and letting the folks who write plugins like powerpress and podress know) is imperative in maintaining developer and customer relationships.

  3. says

    make that “taking it away without replacing it with something else is bad form … … and communicating changes like is imperative in maintaining developer and customer relations”

  4. Esbjorn Larsen says

    Let’s build something better than iTunes! If we can get 500 podcasters to remove their feed from iTunes if they don’t listen to us would be a great start 😉 Screw’em

  5. Steve says

    The ping feature was actually removed well over a year ago, when iTunes transitioned to iTunes 9. Previous ping response pages actually did nothing, and they recently transitioned it to a “download iTunes” page. Which is most likely why you are just now noticing it. So if you haven’t had a problem over the past year, then this obviously won’t be a problem for you moving forward.

    If you were to contact the folks at Apple to ask about this (like I did), you would have found out that it was removed because they replaced the feature with an automated ping on their backend. And the automated ping can be as fast as a few minutes, not every 24 hours. It’s meant to make our lives easier, with one less step during podcast submission. So Apple is trying to HELP us, not screw us.

  6. says

    This is incorrect, the ping feature was working as advertised up to about two weeks ago. We used the ping feature for other purposes and know it was working up to 3-4 days of this posting. The information from Steve is incorrect.

    If you were using Podpress the ping feature had been broken for several years, which was a podpress issue not an apple issue.

  7. Buzz says

    Just posted our latest podcast. The new podcast shows immediately on our iTunes preview page after we posted our updated XML file. So whatever iTunes has done it’s a change for the better – no ping necessary and immediate posting of the new podcast in iTunes.

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