What defines good podcast hosting?

Dave Jackson, podcast coach, book author and most certainly a well known podcaster, has a post on his blog named "What I Look For in A Media Host". In 7 points Dave describes what he considers to be a good podcast media host. Here is, point by point, how Podigee holds up to his criteria and if not, why.

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1. Do not mess with my file

The file I upload is the file I download. Don’t rename it. Don’t resample it at a different rate. Don’t mess with my ID3 tags. The only company I allow to do this is Stitcher (they resample) and for the record they are NOT a media host (they are a distribution system).

The short answer: Yes, we mess with the file, but we have our reasons.

The long answer:

When you upload a file to Podigee, we send it through Auphonic to improve the audio quality and convert your raw audio file to the most popular audio formats (MP3, AAC, Ogg-Vorbis and OPUS).

Auphonic applies audio algorithms for removing disturbing frequencies and normalizing the volume level to meet broadcast standards. If you want to learn more about the magic they can do, visit the Auphonic examples page.

The output sampling rate depends on your input file the ouput format. MP3 and AAC are always 44.1kHz because there are known problems with older hardware players and 48kHz. Ogg and OPUS will always be 48kHz. This is a design decision by Auphonic and we trust them fully. If you have questions about this topic, just write them an email and they will explain their reasons behind it.

We also add metadata like the episode title, description, category and also chapter marks with images to all four audio formats to give your listeners the best possible listening experience.

Currently, we also change the file name of the output files to include the podcast and episode name. While we don't consider this much of a problem these days, because most listeners will never see the file name at all, we also understand why people want their file names to be kept, so we will improve on this in the near future and don't touch file names if you don't want to.

So, while we understand that changing your audio files may be an issue on other platforms, we consider it a part of our feature set and the reasons behind it define Podigee as a platform.

Podigee not only aims to provide podcast hosting but rather wants to be a part of the whole production workflow. To underline this we have a features for improving podcast authoring for beginners and advanced podcasters on our roadmap.

2. Don’t limit the size of my audience

I don’t want to have to worry if you are going to shut off my downloads, or charge me extra. Give me a fee I can put in a budget and count on. in a nutshell, unlimited bandwidth.

We do not limit bandwidth in any way. Our goal is to increase the size of your audience by making the access to your podcast easy, platform independent and bandwidth efficient. We are able to scale up our download infrastructure automatically when traffic suddenly increases with no additional costs for our you.

3. Don’t Limit the Size of My Catalog

I want to be able to point people to my entire back catalog. This means unlimited storage.

We have a limit on how much you can upload each month depending on the plan you choose. But once uploaded, your content will stay online as long as you want it to, with always consistent download speeds. In addition to that we do not limit the number of episodes present in a feed. If you want you can have unlimited episodes in your feed.

4. Don’t Take Control of My Feed

If I use an RSS feed that you supply, I want the ability without having to ask for it to switch my feed to another host. I will be with your company because I want to be with your company – not because I have to. This is part two of number 3. If anyone is going to submit my RSS feed to iTunes or any other directory, it will be ME. I will maintain all control.

If you ever decide to leave Podigee, you can redirect your feeds and blog to wherever you like for as long as you like. On top of that we will provide an export of all of your data so you can archive it or upload it somewhere else.

5. Give Me Stats

I’m going to need stats that show how many downloads I’ve received. I’d like these on the per episode level as well as over all. I want to know where my audience is coming from, and how they consumed my content. It would also help if they were accurate.

We just released the new version of our statistics system with podcast and episode level tracking, more accurate counting of downloads and a more powerful interface for browsing through the numbers. The interface is still lacking some features, but we already collect the necessary data to enrich it in the future.

6. Give Me Support

I want to get to know you. I want to know where you’re located, and how long your company is been around. I am putting a lot of faith in you, and I want an answer to my email quickly. If possible, I’d love a phone call if I have a serious problem. The bottom line is I need to know there are people behind the name of the company. People who are paid to help me if I need it. Please don’t point me at a forum filled with other unhappy customers looking for solutions and call it “support.”

Awesome customer service is our first priority. If you want to get to know us, let us invite you for a beer in Berlin, Germany or Zurich, Switzerland, let's talk via Skype or phone or simply write us an email with all of your questions.

We have guaranteed response times depending on the plan you choose, but usually we answer a lot quicker than we guarantee you. Just have a look at what our customers are saying on our website.

7. I want you to charge me for your service

I can’t pay for food with a smile, and I’m pretty sure you don’t pay for bandwidth with a handshake. With this in mind charge me for your services. I pay for everything else, so why not your service? This means that down the road I don’t have to move all my files (Thanks Podshow, podango, and many other free hosts that have gone out of business).

Yes, we charge you to allow us to keep our service running and improving it one feature and swiftly answered support email at a time.

Conclusion

You see, in most of the points we completely agree with Dave. For the other points we want to improve as much as it fits into our vision and mission, which will not always align with his views.

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