Podcasters Defend Podkeys Service

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-12-05 Print this article Print

While Marcus is seeking legal redress for what he refers to as a new form of Internet extortion, Podcasters happy with the redirection service provided by Podkey arent hesitating to come to its defense. One such comment demonstrates the possibility of a user having registered with Podkey and then forgotten about it: "From my own experience, I have to say, my dealings with George have always been on the up and up," Podcaster Kevin Devin wrote on Lamberts blog.
"I too had created a Podkeyword for my Podcast WAY back in late 2004. Interestingly, I had actually forgotten about Podkey until iTunes hit with their Podcast directory, which ended up including two different listings for my feed. The Podkey one, and my actual."
When Devin discovered the listing, he wrote, he discussed with Lambert what the impact would be of deleting the keyword altogether. Devin planned to have Lambert redirect what was listed under the Podkey feed to another special feed that contained only a single "special" Podcast providing listeners information on what was happening. This way, Devin wrote, listeners would receive notice in his own voice as to what was going on and could then be redirected to his actual feed, which he preferred to use. "Additionally, it would be simple to include in that special feed the tags to tell iTunes NOT to list that feed," he wrote. While it would have created an interruption of service similar to what Marcus experienced, thats just what happens when a service such as iTunes collects data from numerous directories, Devin said. "That act by Apple is what has caused most of this problem ALONG WITH our own willingness to list ourselves with services like Podkey," he wrote. "I have no doubt that had [Marcus] asked [Lambert] to do the same thing for him, for all of his keywords, the results here would have been far different than what is happening now," Devin wrote. Click here to read about Podcasting usage tools from Audible. As it is, Lambert runs the service free of charge, on funds that flow out of his own pocket. "I went and did something, I was volunteering," he said. "They took my free service and now they called it extortion, hijacking. And to be threatened to be sued, and harassed … why would I ever want to do something for people on the Internet again?" Beyond the profane response to Lamberts alleged wrongs, calmer minds are pointing out that the heart of the problem is this: Once the wrong RSS feed gets into a directory, its extremely difficult to find out and to fix it. "I have that problem with one Podcast where some of the listings point to a staging server and not the real server," wrote Dan Bricklin, well-known blogger and the developer of VisiCalc. "I think in the early days someone subscribed to the staging server while I tested out the Podcast series and some list picked that up and other lists copy from each other. "This is a big problem. Its not like Google where things are somewhat self-correcting as people point to the one the owner points to," Bricklin wrote. "Once this points wrong it just perpetuates itself and you cant fix it. In this case, the RSS feed owner [Podcaster] got into a bad situation." Yahoo declined to comment on this specific incident but provided a statement about the general issue. "Yahoos goal is to help grow the industry by providing a valuable service that brings Podcasters and listeners together," the statement said. "We are committed to working with the community to help identify solutions for broad industry challenges like this." Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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