Podcasting site Roundup
Let's face it folks: There are a lot of podcast directories and services. Is anyone using these sites? Are they growing or shrinking? Who's growing and shrinking? What does it all mean?
I have lots of thoughts on the subject, but won't offer much analysis here. What I thought I'd share, though, is this ranking and brief writeup I did on 30-or-so different players in the space.Caveats!
- As everyone knows (but ignores), Alexa rank is a very rough guide to a site's popularity. And it's even more rough for comparing less-trafficked sites. Also, traffic isn't a measure of success anyway. Some of these services may be white labeling their technology, serving tons of traffic through iTunes, or even making money, none of which would be tracked on Alexa.
- I'm the CEO of Odeo.comthe second site on the list. Obviously I'm biased.
- The Alexa Rank shown here is the one-week average, as I write this, on 8/23/06. I didn't take the daily, because that's too volatile, and I didn't take the three-month, because that's a little dated. The charts, however, are linked from Alexa, so should be up to date (and eventually will be out of whack with the rank).
- I'm forgetting lots of sites and just got tired of writing before I got to others (GigaDial, AllPodcasts, etc. Podcasting News has a bunch more) and there are an equal amount I don't know about. No offense is meant in any case. If I've missed any that are in the top 10, blog it and link to this page.
- I talk about Yahoo! Podcasts at the bottom. It's important, but at the bottom.
- A lot of these sites probably suffered from the summer slump, which is just ending.
- One shouldn't look at this list as a ranking of competitors. Just because all these sites/companies have something to do with podcasting doesn't mean they compete. Many are direct competitorsespecially the directoriesbut some aren't. I don't consider Libsyn and Odeo competitors, for example (Libsyn and Odeo Studio technically are, but most of our focus is on the directory). Nonetheless, the list should be helpful in getting a sense of what's happening in the non-Apple part of podcasting. A sense.
- Addendum (8/24): Yes, iTunes is not on the list. They are most certainly number one in this category, though hard to measure from the outside. I meant to make a note that I purposefully left them off because they're a whole different beastnot because they should be ignored. Also I wanted to get more of a sense of what other companies were doing when I was creating this.
|Libsyn||7,134||Libsyn started out early, and smartly, as a focused podcast hosting company, and have been quite successful in getting a number of top podcasters (both audio and video) as usersand generating revenue from them (everyone who hosts on Libsyn pays, starting at $5/month). According to Alexa, a large percentage of their traffic is from media files, rather than pages, and they undoubtably serve a boatload more that's not Alexa-tracked. I'd speculate that a lot of their web-page traffic is podcasters checking their own stats. (I'm just guessing, because media creators love to do that, and Libsyn has a nice stats feature). They recently launched Libsynpro for the commercial podcasters.|
|Odeo||7,304||Odeo has switched focus a few times since its launch in July of 2005. It started out as a podcast directory (audio-only) with, at the time, fairly advanced features like one-click subscribe, its own download client, play-on-the-page, and limited social functionality. Later, podcast creation (via web-based recorder and phone) was added, before launching a new home page that put more of a focus on personal audio messaging, rather than radio-show podcasting. In may, we moved the podcast publishing tools (including upload) to Odeo Studio, refocusing odeo.com as an audio directory, with an emphasis on listening online (as opposed to subscribe and download) and more social features.|
|Podomatic||10,878||Podomatic has more features than you can shake a stick at. You can't accuse these guys of not trying stuff. Everything from podcast hosting, to a directory/social network, to audio mail, you name it. What's more, they're a Ruby on Rails shop and located in Pyra's old office, so I give them points for that. They're one of the few who's traffic seems to be moving the right way this year; maybe one of their innovations will pay off.|
|Podcast Pickle||15,012||Recently named one of 50 coolest sites on the web by Time magazine (which I'm guessing is what gave them the recent traffic spike), this quirky-named directory of both audio and video also has a popular discussion forum.|
|Podshow||15,603||Podshow has been doing quite a bit of development on this site late. The result, as far as I can tell, is a feature set pretty similar to Odeo'san aggregated audio directory with social features and an emphasis on online listening. Podshow.com is also the domain of the official sites/blogs of many popular podcasts that are part of the Podshow stable, such as SoccerGirl and Daily Source Code, which definitely helps them. The Podsafe Music Network at music.podshow.com also seems to drive a significant amount of their traffic.|
|PodcastAlley||18,850||Definitely one of the oldest directories, and now owned by Adam Curry's Podshow, PodcastAlley is fairly minimal, feature-wise. However, they have a popular discussion forum for podcasters and were the first place that podcasts were ranked, via a voting mechanism, which got many podcasters telling their listeners to go to the site and vote for them, which was brilliant. After a peak early this year, their Alexa rank is down significantly.|
|Podcasting News||20,717||I'm throwing this in, because they have a podcast directory, as well as a news site/blog about podcasting, and they're one of the more highly ranked sites. Not sure where they get their traffic, which seems unfortunately to be falling off, as of late.|
|Podcast.net||25,638||I don't know who runs podcast.net, but it's been around for quite a while (hence the name) and is the number one Google result for 'podcast,' which can't hurt. Hasn't changed much in a long time, as far as I can tell.|
The name explains as much as I know about Podcast Directory. Looks pretty generic, but they're somehow managing to build traffic.
Update: The Washington Post reports that the site is run by one Andrew Leyden, who makes $30,000-$40,000 per year from it via Adsense.
|PodTech||41,797||PodTech is probably the most recently VC-funded podcasting company. They snagged $5.5 million in March of this year. From what I understand, PodTech is mostly a content company, and there are a lot of other content podcasting companies I didn't include on this list. But PodTech is probably the most significant one and has had a lot of press with things like the hiring of Robert Scoble.|
|Pluggd||47,403||Pluggd is another newer entrant and another audio directory with a focus on listening online, socially. Not sure what they thought was missing in the space, but their design is better than most. TechCrunch's review from 6/22/06 said, "The podcast directory space couldn't be much more crowded, but I like this one. Presuming that all the early kinks get worked out, it looks good." But maybe they'll catch upit's early for them.|
|Digital Podcast||52,071||YAPD (yet another podcast directory). These ones are digital.|
|Hipcast||60,158||Hipcast used to be called AudioBlog (not to be confused with Audioblogger, which is run by Odeo). It's a paid publishing/hosting service which lets you publish to your own blog (so, again, the Alexa numbers probably aren't that meaningful here). Hipcast (then Audioblog) raised money last September with an indication they'd be building out in Asia.|
|ClickCaster||64,264||ClickCaster is both a directory and creation tool. Both audio and video. They recently launched a new video site.|
|indiePodder.org||64,692||Yet another one owned by Podshow. Very bare bones, but an open directory (i.e., lots of people contribute). Used to be called iPodder until Apple made them change it. This one is not getting a lot of love, I'm guessing, but it's still the second Google result for 'podcasting.'|
|Podzinger||71,127||Search, of course, is where the money is on the web, so every category needs its Google. TechCrunch said of Podzinger: "Assuming they get this working properly, it's a great way to search for content within podcasts and other audio files." Not sure if they didn't get the kinks worked out, or just that nobody cares about searching content within podcasts.|
|Podfeed||90,077||Don't know much about these guys. They say they're "a podcast directory that helps you find podcasts, read and write podcast reviews, listen to podcasts and share your podcast with others." Sounds good.|
|Melodeo||92,449||This Seattle-based company reportedly raised $9.5 million in VC in late 2004but at the time they were a mobile music company. They recently relaunched as "the first podcasting and social networking service for PC and mobile phones." Even more recently, Om reports they were "saved" by wireless carrier Alltel in a mobile podcasting deal. So maybe they have tons of mobile usage that wouldn't be tracked here. I hope so, because their name has a very nice ring to it.|
|The Podcast Network (ADDED 8/24)||95,216||The Podcast Network (TPN) is a content network, I believe (couldn't find an about us on their site). As I mentioned, I wasn't primarily looking at content companies here, but they have a whole bunch of podcasts, and they complained about being ignored on this list, so I've added them.|
|PodNova||109,384||PodNova is one of the first podcasting sites. It was built by a company called Active8 that's been around since 1997, from The Netherlands. They have a full-featured directory and probably one of the biggest aggregations of audio. They also have a client (alternative to iTunes for downloading) and on May 31 wrote, "we're still in the process of building the next version of PodNova. It's a long wait, but it'll be worth it." So that's coming.|
|Podcast Bunker||140,911||Podcast Bunker is surely the most secure place to find your podcasts (cuz, ya know, it's a bunker). It's a directory that's "about Podcast Quality, not Quantity!"|
|Podcast.com||130,255||I only recently realized there was a site at podcast.com (someone tried to sell it to me last year for something like $250k). It's another directory/everything. In their about page they say, "we are working to leverage the power of the generic URL to enhance user discovery of the best media the Web has to offer." And we all know the power of that.|
|Loomia||152,966||Loomia has one of the better names in this space (granted, that's not a high bar). They also launched a pretty good-looking site last July, focusing on audio and video discovery. They're from the Bay Area and seem like smart guys. That's probably true, because when I just went back to check the site, I found it was no longer a podcast directory. It looks like they repurposed their technology to be a personalized recommendation engine for other sites. So, they really don't belong in this list anymore, but I kept them for reference. (The chart may not be relevant either, if they're running their tech on other sites.)|
|ZapZap||177,126||ZapZap is interesting only because it's such a recent entrant and TechCrunch wrote on 6/26/06, "Ordinarily I would be exasperated to see one more podcast directory, but this one really is good." It has tagging, playlists, audio and video, and a snazzy design. Which is good for a TechCrunch review. I think it's from Japan.|
|Blubrry||184,971||A new site, as far as I know, I just found linked from Podcast Directory. I think it's a hosting service, as well as a directory/community with tags, and online listening, and playlists.|
I don't know what the heck TalkShoe is, but it must be related, because TechCrunch said (6/15/06): "Many people say that podcasting is still too difficult for non-technical users. TalkShoe seems pretty simple. If there really are a large number of people interested in creating or listening to home-made audio content, this service could be a good way for them to do so." The headline on the site is "Actually Talk to Real People," which, ya know, is popular activity, so maybe they'll do well.
Meta note: Did you notice the difference between those sites that have TechCrunch reviews and those that don't, at this end of the spectrum, is a very short spike in their chart?
|Podscope||260,536||Podscope is podcast search, like PodZinger, but older. Both are owned by other companies with real businesses, this one by TVeyes. I think Podscope did a deal with AOL to power some sort of podcast search for themand maybe other folks.|
|Gcast||441,224||GarageBand (the music community, not the software) launched Gcast, a podcast-publishing service, in October of 2005 with a Madonna promotion. This was an intimidating entry, but without much follow-up. Now Ali and gang are off to new ideas.|
|Podcast Player||541,620||There are so many more. Like this one, which I'll include as a representative sample. I just ran across it the other day. Someone spent a lot of time in photoshop to build this.|
Yahoo launched their podcasting directory in October of 2005. It doesn't seem like its evolved a lot (other than the addition of video)
That said, podcasts.yahoo.com is definitely one of the leading sites, but they're
unranked in this list, because we don't have Alexa
data for them, because it's a subdomain of yahoo.com. Comscore data would be possible to get, probably, but lots of these
other sites aren't in Comscore. And, what's more, I don't have the Comscore data.
It's easy to assume they're in a whole different field, since they're bloody Yahoo. But how much bigger are they? The one bit of usage data you can get from the site is the number of subscribers per podcast (only revealed in search results). The most I can find there is 8,570 subscribers for NPR: All Songs Considered. That's a little under twice as many as Odeo's most-subscribed to podcast, TWiT. However, number of subscribers means very little at Odeo these days, because most of our usage is people playing from the site, not subscribing (notice the Popular Now list on the homepage has little overlap with the top podcasts list). That may or may not be the same on Yahoo! We don't know. My general impression, though, is they're not overwhelming in this category.