Podcasting needs no eBay

Podcasting needs no eBay: [Updated] I’ve already said why I think podcasting has succeeded in 140 days. It’s precisely because those who are pioneering it are not turning it over to those who want to develop a central place for it.

I’m just an observer, okay. But despite my admiration for those involved, whenever I see articles like this in the NY Times about (arguably) the first people who got rich from anything related to blogging (not, from blogging, but from developing an early platform for bloggers and selling to Google, pre-IPO), jump into a business to create an “eBay for podcasters,” I cringe.


Odeo plans to base its business on the premise that the explosion of digital audio content has created the need for a central place to find relevant material and that there will also be a need for a market to buy and sell “premium” content in much the style of the eBay online marketplace.

I don’t understand how people I look up to can have such a misguided “premise” about podcasting.

Podcasting does not want to have a “central place.” The web hates central places. I use eBay as both a buyer and seller and believe me, I hate that it’s a central place as it is now a monopoly. Knowing what we know now, would early adopters of eBay say I want there to be a monopoly running the online auction market? I wish an open, distributed alternative to eBay existed.

I’m all for marketplaces developing for podcasts. But podcasting is more than “programming” — this is where those metaphors of old media for new mess up investors. Podcasting “programming” can be as simple as leaving a voice mail message. Podcasting programming can be a recording of a sales meeting that is distributed via RSS to employees who are traveling.

Podcasting will open the way for self-produced audio and video programming to be available on an endless variety of marketplaces: audible.com, iTunes, Napster. Podcasters shouldn’t be looking for a “central marketplace” that marginalizes them. They should be integrated into all the markets that exist today — and more. No, on second thought, don’t waste your time on marketplaces. If you had spent the past 140 days worrying about marketplaces, there would be podcasting.

Flashback: On February 14, 2003 (two years ago), I posted these thoughts on another “eBay for blogging” concept:


In his dreams: Tony Perkins, an expert at losing money in magazine publishing (but then, aren’t we all?), is now claiming that his Always On Network (with the URL www.alwayson-network.com, not the more memorable and obvious one) will help usher in the “ebayization” of media. His innovation? A blog of business articles and some early contributions by
folks in his contacts file.

Quote from Perkins:

“The bloggers have shown us the value of truly participatory media sites, so we’re just going to bundle it up and polish it and commercialize it.”

Does that sound familiar, or what? But in 2003? I mean, how can a reporter just sit there and take down such a quote without laughing out loud in 2003?

I guess in 2005, one can say the same thing without drawing a laugh.

Update (7:42 p.m. CST): Why is Odeo causing me to have this negative reaction? When I realized this post is bringing new people to the rexblog (a link from Dave Winer does those sorts of thing), I felt the need to reflect on why I had such a negative “rapid cognition” to Odeo and why I would be so off-put by someone starting a company that, on its surface, seems like something that’s supportive of podcasting.  After thinking about it on the drive home, I had to go back and re-read the NY Times article and then read the “back story” post on Ev’s blog to get to the bottom of my reaction.

Now I think I know why I found the news so hollow,

I think it’s because of the “just some guys in an apartment” shtick doesn’t ring true.

I think it’s because I’m envisioning someone writing a business plan about something that thousands of people around the world have actually created — with no business plan.

I think it’s because Odeo is a distraction from the real story.

I think it’s because I think podcasting is not a medium or platform or something someone can centralize in a marketplace. It’s a movement that will end up being countless different things in the hands and minds and ears of millions.

I think it’s also that when it comes to podcasting, Adam Curry and Dave Winer have walked the walk when they talked the talk: They have spent months evangelizing podcasting and devoting hours each day to creating a “movement” with a kind of giddy enthusiasm that only someone crazy-passionate about a concept, a notion, a cause — and not a business plan and demo — can understand.

I think it’s because opportunism should never be confused with passion.

How did I do this before?

How did I do this before? It’s has been a while since I’ve mentioned
one of those things I found, then bookmarked and now find myself
using everyday, the ObjectGraph dictionary.
It works like Google suggest, but has definitions, elements and
a thesauaus. The guy
developing it, Gavi Narra,
maintains a weblog
and is
quite open about how it works. He launched it on December 24 (which makes me feel good because I heard about it on January 4) and, now he gets an average of 1,500 different IP addresses per day using it. I imagine a few of those users have
become hooked on it, like me. He’s added google ads to the results
pages to see what the economic impact will be.

To me, this is one of
those ideas that doesn’t need to be “demo’d,” it’s just addictive.

To do list

To do list: I love Chairman Mr. Magazine Husni’s annual guide to magazine launches. However,  before you start  celebrating and sending out press releases
it might be helpful to
review titles that have been honored with inclusion on the list in past
years. Like his somewhat ironic mention of the magazine Seude in his
quote in the NY Post this morning, it’s rather common to see magazines
quietly close even before their significant launch has been noted in
the annual Guide.

Sullivan’s take on Google’s comandeering tactics

Sullivan’s take on Google’s link comandeering tactics: Danny Sullivan, search engine guru, explains everything you ever wanted to know
about “AutoLink” on Googe’s new version of its toolbar. Here are the topics he covers on his great overview:

Sullivan believes
Google should make it easy for publishers (including bloggers) to opt
out. It took about 24-hours for 3rd-parties to develop hacks to do
this. But Danny is correct, Google should
do the right thing and allow publishers to opt out. I won’t say anymore
because Danny is so much more eloquent and Google may actually listen
to him.

However, I would think AdSense competitors might try approaching
publishers with the promise, “We’ll never try to take over the links on

(via: Steve Rubel)

Update: Dan Gillmor met with some Google folks and  is “not convinced, however, that Google will end up doing the right thing in the end.”