Podcasting and Social Proof – A Missed Opportunity

Podcasting and Soaccial Proof - Paul OFlaherty

There’s a missed opportunity for podcast hosting companies such as Libsyn, Blubrry and now SoundCloud, to bring social proof to podcasting simply by opening up an API that allows plugins to poll download numbers and display them next to podcast players.

Blubrry already has the excellent PowerPress plugin, which I am sure the vast majority of WordPress based podcasters use regardless of where they host their media, so it should be really easy for them to add it. Libsyn and other providers could get involved simply by releasing a plugin that checks the filename in the enclosure custom field, polls an API every few hours (or once a day even) and allows podcasters to display a chiclet or some text- just like folks do for newsletter subscriber numbers, Facebook subscribers, Twitter followers and YouTube views. SoundCloud could start by making RSS downloads (a podcasters lifeblood) part of the reported public stats instead of hiding the numbers away privately and only showing the “on SoundCloud” plays.

Why would we want this? Because social proof works when building an audience. It’s easier to pick up more followers or downloads the more you already have – then it’s up to you to keep them.

iTunes and it’s frankly poor podcast search, should not be the only social proof that podcasters have.

4 thoughts on “Podcasting and Social Proof – A Missed Opportunity”

  1. Paul, Blubrry has an API to do this for any developer that would like to implement. Over the years we have had 1-2 request for us to just include it in PowerPress. But most podcasters are very guarded of there numbers.

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    1. Hi Todd, thanks for commenting 😀

      I find it weird that podcasters would be guarded about this. I have always been proud of the numbers on my podcasts even when I was doing shows that got less than 100 listens and episode.

      I wonder if this isn’t a problem within the podcasting community – we have to hide or numbers or people will think we’re not as good as the big players? Or is it something else? I don’t think enough podcasters monetize their podcasts to make that the issue…

      Maybe we could reverse that trend by actually starting to report our numbers. Social proof works everywhere else, so with that in mind I’d like to add my name to the list of people who would love to see this functionality in PowerPress 😀

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      1. Paul, there are podcasters who are taking their podcast download number and multiplying it times 10 and reporting that, those are the podcasters we would like to use social proof but we know they never world to protect their reputations.

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