Conflict of Interest developing in Podcasting! Apple helping to drive the divide!



I guess I should not be surprised that Adam Curry has been given a platform from within Apple iTunes to promote podcasts. He is doing this via a new show on iTunes called PodFinder. It disturbed me though that he promoted a high percentage of shows that are under contract, and or aligned with Podshow.

It was obvious before, and has become even more evident now that his motives are to promote companies, and shows that he has a financial relationship with. Obviously the first podfinder show highlighted some shows that are not part of Podshow Network but he covered at least 3 shows that receive paychecks from him!

Adam role in the community is beyond commercial, he has become the voice that is representing the entire podcasting community. His message has become severely tainted, and I automatically wonder what his motive is when he promotes sites. If he is going to be Apple’s spokesperson than I think a few things should be done when he is promoting shows. I am sure it will never happen but here is what I would hope he would implement.

First full disclosure every single time he promotes a show that is contractually aligned with him, so that people that have not been exposed to podcasting can understand he has a financial interest in making sure those shows succeed.

Second full disclosure every time he promotes a website that he is financially involved with, or under commercial contract he should disclose this as well.

Self promotion of groups, and websites one is aligned with is good we all realize that. I promote shows I am aligned with but do so with full disclosure. I think so long as their is disclosure that a financial relationship exist then most of us don’t have a issue. This builds integrity and allows people to trust the recommendations at a higher level.

Apple has given Adam, or Adam has paid to be on their platform which I have no issue with. I am all for business, and enterprise but I think when you are promoting shows to a unsuspecting audience, then the audience needs to be aware that either the shows have paid for placement or that a business relationship exist.

I am sure I will receive a lot of flack on this but when I heard the PodFinder show today I tuned out, as soon as he started promoting his business partners. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

The good part of blogging and podcasting is this, we can say what we think and how we feel. The message may not go worldwide but if we can expose these types of really underhanded tactics then we have done out part in trying to keep the landscape a clear and level playing field.

About geeknews

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.


10 thoughts on “Conflict of Interest developing in Podcasting! Apple helping to drive the divide!

  1. “First full disclosure every single time he promotes a show that is contractually aligned with him, so that people that have not been exposed to podcasting can understand he has a financial interest in making sure those shows succeed.”

    “Second full disclosure every time he promotes a website that he is financially involved with, or under commercial contract he should disclose this as well.”

    Ha Ha, This will never happen. We know Adam.
    He saw his podshow ship sinking and decided to
    jump onto the “Apple Ship”.

    I agree with most of what you said [after re-reading it ;-) ] but still think there are
    similiarities between you and the “podfather”.
    I dont have any insite on the way you are taking the TechPodcasts thing but you gotta admit it sounds similiar to the Podshow thing, but with integrity ;-)

    Just my 2 Cents. Not bashing you at all. Just an opinion from a person who listens to 3-5 hours of podcasts Mon-Fri. (i have a boring job). There is
    definitly a trend to “sell out” these days in the podcast world….



  2. I am not against commercial enterprise, I am against commercial enterprise when reccomendations are being made by someone and a fininacial relationship exist and their is no disclosure.

    When I reccomend a website and I have a financial interest I always try to make the disclaimer. But I am also doing that on my own personal show. Not on one that is being represented as the official place to find podcast on the iTunes music network.

    Re-read my post..

  3. Let me just say i listen to your show and love it! And as a fellow Hawaii podcaster i agree but….

    We all know that Adam is all about business, and he hasnt tried to hide this fact at all. He has said on many occasions that he is a “commercial M.F.” So i dont know why so many people have their panties in a bunch. You, the Geek from GeeknewsCentral are fairly commercial yourself!! Microsoft, Godaddy, and your book promotion are no different than what “the Podfather” is doing. Also the TechPodcast Network, is this not
    another “podshow”??

    Now dont get me wrong the Tech Podcast Network is much better than the “podshow” will ever be!!

    Lets face it we all wanna be paid to sit at home and surf the net!! I know i do!! None of us likes working for “the man”!! So watch Adam out of the corner of one eye, but stay focused on what you are doing. In the end the cream will rise to the top, and if it doesnt, well it was a fun ride…

    E.T.

  4. I think our target audience, our best target audience, is comprised entirely of folks smarter than the average bear. If we wind up with some kind of subscription model, chances are they’ll have the disposible income to be able to afford a pittance that could be a decent day’s pay in the aggregate if we have even ten or twenty thousand listeners. If we wind up with a commercial model, we’ll have the movers and shakers listening to us and while we’ll have to be smart about the way we pitch position and place the commericals, we’ll have target demos that advertisers will pay big bucks for.

    Let Adam Curry and Ron Bloom have the great unwashed. Let them have the folks who can’t hear the shill even though it sounds the same as what they’re being fed by the Time-Warners and the Viacoms.

    The folks who don’t recognize that the “experts” on CNN all happen to be editors-at-large for Time-Warner-owned ‘zines, or that Paramount Pictures always gets their movies reviewed on CBS thanks to the “synergy” of Viacom owning them both are ripe for the kind of old thinking Curry and Bloom are bringing to podcasting.

    I’m not real big on audio-only formats. I podcast only because I love audio-only; even watching radio be resuccitated from a near-death experience only to face death in present tense hasn’t dissuaded me.

    Bottom line, I don’t have trouble with Curry and Bloom acting like big media because they’re cleaving to the very thing they gained an audience by eschewing. It won’t take long for the really smart folks–who I think is all we want anyway–to figure out they’ve gone to the dark side.

  5. Thank you Treocast for mentioning the copyright issues that are apparently and potentially the big violation here by all the parties mentioned. I am paying close attention to hear a precise accounting of what has been done by PodcastAlley and other’s mentioned.

    A serious copyright violation would get Apple’s attention I’m sure.

  6. This is something that I have trying to point out to the community since just prior to the Podshow announcement. Why the community has not seemed to care, I cannot say.

    But this has been in the works for a lot longer than Adam lets on. Podshow.com and Podfinder.com were registered last year. And as poor of an implementation as iTunes 4.9 is, it didn’t happen overnight either. In the now infamous “Strategy Cast” Adam and Ron said the iPodder.org was owned by Podshow and that Podcastalley was an affiliate of Podshow. This all has been part of the business plan for a long time.

    As far as full disclosure goes, why would he? Ethics? He has bigger things to worry about: investors. You might not like it, and you might not agree with it, but it’s a business now and that’s the way a lot of people conduct business.

    It took 4.9 to open a lot of eyes, but I am afraid that 4.9 marks a point of no return for podcasters. We’re all now “wanna-be’s” – indie podcasters hoping to get signed one day… at least to the millions of iTunes users who are just now learning of podcasting existance.

    The only thing I see at this moment that can change any of this would be for all the podcasters who’s copyrights and licenses have been violated by both Apple and Podcastalley to unite. But I seriously doubt something of that magnitude will happen…

  7. I agree completely, I still enjoy Adam’s show and will continue listening, but he has definately made podcasting he’s new career and it can hurt podcasting’s future.

    This is because so many get their initial information on podcasting from Adam now, things are looking somewhat grim.

  8. I don’t think you’re saying anything revolutionary here at all. People have been saying this stuff for days, since iTunes came out, chock full od podshow-infused casts all over the main page.

    The stuff you want is never going to happen, though. The divide will get wider and wider, and anyone who think Curry and Apple aren’t in this for profit and profit only in the long run are naive and don’t understand business.

    This is no-brainer stuff. There is an obvious disconnect between the requirements for a normal indie podcast and podshow podcasts. Have you seen Dawn & Drew’s feed? It’s horrific and not well-formed, yet their info is in iTunes nice and clean. It’s amazing that you and I have to have certain proprietary tags in our feed to get listed right, yet their tags don’t effect the way their show appears in the directory.

    No doubt, special treatment is in the air.

  9. I think this is an accurate assessment of the situation. A business will naturally seek to insure it’s own prosperity, and this is how Apple and Adam/Podshow have elected to move things alone. It is disappointing, since the community for podcasters has seemed to be so strong.

    I think your ideas have merit, and I think that disclosure is not an unreasonable thing to ask for.

  10. I don’t think you’re saying anything revolutionary here at all. People have been saying this stuff for days, since iTunes came out, chock full od podshow-infused casts all over the main page.

    The stuff you want is never going to happen, though. The divide will get wider and wider, and anyone who think Curry and Apple aren’t in this for profit and profit only in the long run are naive and don’t understand business.

    This is no-brainer stuff. There is an obvious disconnect between the requirements for a normal indie podcast and podshow podcasts. Have you seen Dawn & Drew’s feed? It’s horrific and not well-formed, yet their info is in iTunes nice and clean. It’s amazing that you and I have to have certain proprietary tags in our feed to get listed right, yet their tags don’t effect the way their show appears in the directory.

    No doubt, special treatment is in the air.

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