VoloMedia Podcast Patent… Remember When?

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Via the Association for Downloadable Media (ADM) website, VoloMedia (formerly PodBridge) explained the patent just issued to them for “podcasting.” I use quotes because they say it is for “podcasting.” Patent #7,568,213 actually covers a “Method for Providing Episodic Media.” You know, like TV and soap operas. My guess is they posted it to the ADM website because no one noticed it on the VoloMedia website. Reading about this recent success just takes me down memory lane.

Remember when…

Adam Curry, Dave Winer and VoloMedia came up with that crazy idea about enclosures in RSS?

Or the time Winer, Christopher Lydon and VoloMedia really put it into practice?

Or when Doug Kaye and VoloMedia chatted and IT Conversations was born?

Or how about when Dave Slusher and VoloMedia spotted Dannie Gregoires’s RSS aggregation software using the agent name ‘podcaster’ and chimed “Podcasting! right on!” and podcasting got its name?

Wow! The memories…

I know when early on Todd Cochrane, Dawn & Drew, Dan Klass, myself and many others were trying to sort out how to podcast it was always the folks at VoloMedia who came to our aid to explain episodic media done right. Heck – they invented it!

All that initial media attention: NY Times, Wired Magazine, USA Today, CNN etc., etc. It was always our basic crew – plus the great guys & gals from VoloMedia.

You couldn’t help but bump into the VoloMedia team in the green rooms at conferences. In fact, I can’t think of a podcast conference I went to where I didn’t see their banners or leave without them forcing a VoloMedia branded shirt and pen on us.

Those VoloMedia folks are awesome! They always covered the bar bill. The stories I could tell.

Those were the days…

How about the time an overly VC funded company tried to carve out an island of potential IP defensibility and future for litigation based revenue via a broad patent?

Good times, good times….

VoloMedia can claim whatever they like, good for them. IP claims like this can be used in many ways. Nuisance litigation, acquisition value etc. etc. Prior art from many listed above will be an issue but it comes down to dollars and sense.

The big loser in my opinion is the ADM. Who in the world agreed to post this to their site? Recent “notes”, “updates” and “clarifications” aside they gave it credibility under their name as an organization, an organization supported by the very people who will likely take issue with it and litigate it. No one paid this any notice until it was on the ADM site. Well played VoloMedia. The ADM folks are all smart people, how they allowed this to happen baffles me.

What am I doing about it? I’m adding podcasting/episodic media “expert witness” to my resume. When in Rome…

New Media Expo: Top Ten Take Aways

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I have just returned from my 4th Podcast/Portable & now New Media Expo. Once again, a first class event. As most of you know, I have been involved with podcasting since before it even had a name. Having participated in it all along the way, this year’s Expo solidified many of the thoughts I’ve held over the last year. The items in this list are not fully developed; I could easily do a 30-minute podcast on each. These are more a summary of my stream of consciousness top ten take aways:

1. The Expo continues to enable us to re-connect with old friends. There is a real sense of camaraderie among the original podcasters. That was no different this year. Good times with lots of great podcasters.

2. The New Media Expo was once again a great opportunity to meet new people who are excited about podcasting. A lot of fresh faces this year.

3. Tim Bourquin (the show’s organizer) got some flack this year about the exhibit floor being smaller – not true. The show had the exact same exhibit space as in years past: 12,000 square feet. It was a much bigger venue, which affects the perceived size. Kudos to Tim for stepping up and making the financial commitment to lock in the Las Vegas Convention Center. That said, the exhibit space did not grow. In a “growth” industry that spells trouble. My take, one I shared with Tim at dinner this past week, was to lose the exhibitors and focus on the conference. (The conference sessions are where the real value lies in my opinion.) Tim is one of the most diligent and hard working people I know. If he can’t corral the exhibitors it is not for a lack of effort, it is a signal that they are not sold on the market potential. (Curious to see what he announces regarding next year.)

4. A schism is developing between “indie” podcasters and those they thought were focused on supporting them. I had conversations with CEO’s who are now clearly focused on large corporate clients; those with the resources they believe are capable of massive reach. They want to fulfill those companies’ production and ad sales needs. Think podcasts produced by TV networks, media companies and news organizations etc. This makes complete sense from a business plan and sales perspective, but is very different from what you heard from these same companies just a year ago. Some of the well-known employees of these companies have not yet come to terms with this shift. You hear one thing from them and something completely different from their “C” level management.

5. Many content producers have finally realized that if they want to monetize, they are on their own. You are your own best salesperson. Need proof? Look at who did not attend this year. If ad sales/aggregation groups were working as a market segment, they would have been the largest contingent of exhibitors. Most have vanished or “refocused” their business plans.

6. If you insist on trying to monetize your “indie” podcast (less than 50K downloads per episode) I stand by my previous advice: Sell your own ad/sponsor deals. If it is not in your blood – i.e. you don’t like selling/asking for money, my advice is to contact Todd Cochrane. Wow! Big surprise there. Many know that I have, at times, been critical of Todd’s collection of companies. But I also give credit where credit is due. With the shift of everyone else heading to the higher ground of corporate size distribution and budgets, Todd & Co. are the only folks left who passionately believe in the “indie” podcaster. I still think you can and should get more, but if you don’t like the work involved, Todd will give you a fair shake.

7. Passion is critical. Find something you love and podcast about that. Things seem to work out for those who are truly passionate about their content.

8. Corporate podcasting is alive and well. Just as with my presentations at this year’s CES and NAB conferences, companies and the folks they have charged with their podcast initiatives continue to come to sessions to learn how to produce compelling and interesting content. As I’ve said before, the real money is in consulting to these organizations, they have budgets: money to spend. If you carefully look to see who continues to come to NME events you’ll notice many of the monetization experts are in the podcast consulting business.

9. A common thread I heard during conversations with some well-known podcast figures was “I’m figuring out what I am going to do next” and “it was good while it lasted.” See #10 below.

10. I can’t help but end with this: My presentation last year was dead on – I gave everyone a full year’s notice. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

UPDATE: 11. (How could I have forgotten 11? Everyone knows all good things go to 11.) Brian Ibbott did an amazing job with the Coverville 500. That took real planning, work and investment. I can’t tell you how impressed everyone was with the event. Brian put on a great show and was ably assisted by Dan Klass as the evening’s MC. Great job guys!

Podcast Solutions Second Edition Is Out

Podcast SolutionsThe Second Edition of our first book, Podcast Solutions , is now available. Dan and I took it as a great compliment that the First Edition went through multiple printings and sold well enough to warrant a Second Edition. The book has been updated to reflect the latest podcasting tips, techniques and hardware as well as brand new chapters added to cover video podcasting.

Special thanks go out to my co-author, Dan Klass, who once again did an amazing job. I’d also like to thank Paul Figgiani, a true podcasting expert, who joined us this time filling the role of Technical Reviewer. You can pick up your new copy at local retailers or at Amazon.

History of Podcasting

Here is a history of podcasting that gets it right: this is a rarity. Given that every other recent podcast related press release seems to mention a yet unknown participant as a “podcast pioneer,” it is refreshing to see a report that takes the time to dig in to the whole story. Notice that, in addition to the usual suspects (myself included), they take the time to mention, Chris Lydon, IT Conversations, Kevin Marks, Harold Gilchrist and Bloggercon 2003 – all signs of proper research. Dan and I worked hard to get it right in our book. It is nice to see a web version available for all to read.