Buzzcast

Podcasters React to "The Social Dilemma" + IAB Certified Stats

September 25, 2020 Episode 35
Buzzcast
Podcasters React to "The Social Dilemma" + IAB Certified Stats
Chapters
00:00:00
Kevin is getting an Android phone
00:00:34
Buzzsprout is now IAB Certified
00:08:52
Buzzsprout Stats Update with Tom
00:17:09
Adding Transcripts to RSS
00:25:01
The Social Dilemma
Buzzcast
Podcasters React to "The Social Dilemma" + IAB Certified Stats
Sep 25, 2020 Episode 35

In this episode, Tom joins us to talk Buzzsprout stats, IAB Certification, adding Transcripts to the RSS Feed, and our reaction to watching "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix.

If you're an app developer or podcast host, here's Buzzsprout's spec document for adding Transcripts to the RSS feed.

Big shoutout to Brad and Jonathan who do a phenomenal job moderating the Buzzsprout Podcast Community on Facebook. Be sure to check out their podcasts!


Send an email to support@buzzsprout.com to let us know which stats you'd like us to discuss the next time Tom joins us for Buzzcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Tom joins us to talk Buzzsprout stats, IAB Certification, adding Transcripts to the RSS Feed, and our reaction to watching "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix.

If you're an app developer or podcast host, here's Buzzsprout's spec document for adding Transcripts to the RSS feed.

Big shoutout to Brad and Jonathan who do a phenomenal job moderating the Buzzsprout Podcast Community on Facebook. Be sure to check out their podcasts!


Send an email to support@buzzsprout.com to let us know which stats you'd like us to discuss the next time Tom joins us for Buzzcast.

Kevin:

Word is getting out more and more about Podcast Addict, which I've never used, because I don't have an Android phone. But I'm super excited. I have. Sorry, Tom telling you right now, I have ordered an Android phone. And it's arrived Friday. Wait, Wait,

Alban:

really? I did you bought an Android phone for Podcast Addict?

Kevin:

Yes. Well, to check that out, and some other Android only podcast apps,

Travis:

I love how we're making a big deal that Kevin has joined 82% of the world by owning an Android phone.

Kevin:

Yeah, I've never I've never used one I felt like I mean, when I showed you, the world,

Travis:

I just made up a number.

Kevin:

So Tom, did we get the email that we've been waiting for?

Tom:

We got the email we've been waiting for.

Kevin:

All right, tell me what it says.

Tom:

Well, we are now certified by the IAB

Kevin:

What does it stand for international Advertising Bureau? Is that right?

Tom:

The Interactive Advertising Bureau. And so they're an organization that supports the online advertising industry, and how it relates to Buzzsprout. And what we do is their recommendations for how podcasts hosts capture downloads, they've kind of become the default standard for how we do that, for better or for worse, their recommendations are the ones that pretty much everyone follows. And so we've been ibw compliant for years, and just went ahead and got certified so we could get that done.

Kevin:

Yeah, I like that term. There's a long history, but it's been around since 2009. Is that right? Is that when we started 2009?

Tom:

Yeah, 2008 2009.

Kevin:

And there's a long history of Tom and I remember sitting in the old house that you lived on, on a I won't name the street, but I remember sitting in that room, and we're going through and we're looking at log files, and we're like, you're like Kevin played that episode from your phone, and I'm playing it from my iPhone, and you're like, Why are there six? I'm recording six. Right? What is that? And we're trying to figure out, you know, how to accurately track podcast downloads. And so we've been very, like when I be released their their guidelines for how you should track downloads. I think they first came out with like, v1, like five years ago or something. And we looked at it. And I remember thinking like, Oh, yeah, this is great. We're doing all this stuff. But we're also doing a bunch of other stuff. And so we were trying to get into conversations, and Tommy joined a couple groups of making recommendations and all this other kind of stuff. So all that to say is that Buzzsprout stats have always been, we've always been aware that that accuracy is very important. We've always worked hard to make sure that they're, they're very accurate. When IB updated their guidelines with v2, we looked at those obviously, as well. And we said, Oh, yeah, we're doing all of those things. And so we've long stated that we are IB compliant, but we never took the steps to go through the process. And there's various reasons why we we hesitated to do that. And I won't go into all of those things. But at the end of the day, it does look like IB has, has done a good thing and that they've they've gotten enough companies, enough people in space to rally around one specification, it's not maybe specifications, not the best word maybe guidelines a better word. And we're all following those, it doesn't mean that every number between different podcasts hosts are going to match exactly, but they should be pretty close.

Tom:

Yeah, I think that's an important distinction, even you know, going through the process, you just realize they are guidelines. And so to IAB certified podcast hosts will still have different numbers, because there's a lot of variation and how you implement those guidelines.

Kevin:

So it is a bit of a process to go through, it doesn't take a terribly long time, again, depending on what your technology stack looks like. But ours was, like I said, since 2009, we've been trying to be as accurate as possible, and have been following these guidelines since they came out. And so we've long said that we are compliant. And so going through the process was pretty quick. I think we made it in was about three weeks,

Tom:

Tom, of your time. Oh, I mean, only because we had to space out the meetings, it was probably a total of 90 minutes of meetings to go through our code. And part of that is because like you said, we were already compliant. So we already knew the specifications, we already knew how to do the different things and we didn't have to go make any changes as we went through the process. The other thing is we use Ruby on Rails, which is a great expressive language that we use in our technology stack, which made it really simple to be able to go through that process.

Kevin:

Alright, so here's where the rubber hits the road. Because I know that, you know, if you listen to the podcasts of others in the industry, they will tell you as soon as a company comes becomes IRB compliant, then everyone starts on the platform are going to get chopped in half or more. Right, Tom? So when people log into their podcast this week, and look at their stats, their numbers are gonna be like nothing, right? They had 100 plays last week, and now they're gonna log in and see like, 10 Right,

Tom:

right, right. there's not gonna be any difference at all because we've been IRB compliant. So we've been doing this forever.

Kevin:

Wait, no change at all. That's what you're saying. Right? Right. There will be no change. As people log in. They don't have to worry. I'm being I'm being I'm joking around here that that's the point is that we get a little we got a little bit rubbed, because there's been some rhetoric in the industry. People saying I be compliant doesn't mean anything. And it bothers us because we are fans of competition and we're we don't like any anti competitive things we don't like taking something like this that a lot of people can be doing for free. And that don't necessarily have the money to get the certification. And I'm not saying the certification not worth the money. It absolutely is. And it's a good thing. But it's hard for a company that's just starting out and wants to get into the podcasting space because they have a new idea or a fresh take on it. And it's going to cost a lot of money to get that certification. There's others in the industry have a certification and saying, you shouldn't host there, or they're not a viable competitor because they don't have this certification. And we've spoken against that. And we support other people coming into this industry and pushing us and driving this whole thing forward. We'd love it when a new small host pops on the scene and starts doing innovative things helps us get better, it helps podcasters be more successful in their shows. And so we don't like leveraging the certifications are expensive tool sets that you have to buy or whatever, as a reason not to use someone

Tom:

you want innovation in this area. That's that's what I feel like, especially after going through the process, as you realize, I mean, things change rapidly in this industry. And so you want to be able to innovate in the way that you do that. And so how a podcast host chooses to do that right now, you don't have a lot of flexibility in that

Alban:

yet to kind of maybe take a step back for some people who may not have followed this for a little bit. This is an expensive process to go through and get actually certified. And that was our one of our main things was for a long time, like we're donating 10s of thousands of dollars. And for a lot of people in the industry that was cost prohibitive. And for us, we went well, we already know we're following all of this. So we're compliant. Why doesn't everyone just say they're compliant? And then we're good. So we went through this really expensive process to basically find out there was no change on the Buzzsprout side. Right? And the actually, the biggest change in my mind will be when I'm at podcast movement. And I have a question. It's one goes, are you ibw? compliant? I'll just say yes, rather than the certified? Well, it's not. I'll just say certified and come on. Yeah, I mean, I'll just say yes. In rather than being like, Well, no, we have not gone through the process, because we don't think you need to go through it. And then like the minute you try to have like a five minute discussion, talking to a customer, potential customer you've already lost. So it's like, Alright, well, if the talk in the industry for so long has been. This is very, very, very important enough that some customers not a lot, but some that was like on their five questions to make sure they asked. With that in mind, I guess like it made sense. For me on the marketing side, I was happy to be able to add that at that checkbox. But in the end, it's kind of like a little bit of a bummer. Kev. I mean, you guys feel like it makes it's another one of these things that makes it harder for new people to get into the industry. And help push you know, I don't want it to end up being just Buzzsprout to other hosts someday, where no one ever pushes each other. Like we want it to be tons of options, so that we all push each other. And that means kind of keeping the barrier to entry low.

Tom:

Here's what I think, for the majority of podcasters. They don't know what IB is, they don't care what IB is. And so for the ones that care, it's important to be able to answer that question. And to be able to say, Yes, we are IB certified. And for some of our podcasters who get into different forms of advertising, it could actually be helpful for them to say that, Oh, I'm with a host who is IAB certified, because as an advertiser, they might care that your stats are certified. And so I think it provides some, you know, marginal value. But it's not the end all be all.

Travis:

So big picture just to wrap this up. When you log into Buzzsprout, everything's gonna look exactly the same that it did a week ago. And you can feel really confident that what you're looking at is an accurate representation of your podcast stats. Is that fair to say? Absolutely. Yes.

Alban:

So Tom, you've been spending a little bit of time thinking about stats, can we? Can we ping you for some more stats? Because I know, we've gotten a ton of feedback on your last appearance on the show where you gave, you know, people ideas of where their podcasts how their podcasts are stacking up.

Tom:

Yeah, it's, it's hard because I hate for people to judge themselves just based on numbers. It's easy to do, right? It's easy to just compare one number to the other and say, am I doing better or worse? I hate that it happens. But the reality is, it happens. So yes, I have some numbers that I can share to help people who want to compare, how am I doing compared to other folks. And so what I think is most helpful is looking at your performance in the first seven days after you launch an episode. So what I did was I looked at 120,000 episodes that have been published by Buzzsprout in the last 90 to 120 days, so that way, I could get a good amount of data on them. And I looked at how many downloads they got in the first seven days after they launched their episode. And so that can give you a good indicator of how many people are actually coming back and listening to your show how many, what we used to call subscribers, people that you know are are following your podcast and listen to it whenever you launch an episode. And what I found was the median is about 31. So if you've got more than 31 downloads in your first seven days, then that means you're going to be in the top 50% of Buzzsprout podcasters. What's interesting is I looked at the first 30 days, and there's not that much difference. And so I think, really, that's the number that we should be using, because that's where the majority of the downloads occur is in that first seven day window.

Alban:

And so for anybody who's kind of comparing this to the last time, Tom was on the podcast, those numbers which were closer to like, the median number was 100. That was for a 30 day window for the whole podcast, right? Yes. And then now we're just talking about a single episode. So if you put out a single episode, and you're getting, what do you say 31 is

Tom:

the median. So if you log in to your Buzzsprout site, and you go to your stats section, and you click on any of your episodes, and it shows how it performed in the first seven days, that's the number I'm talking about here.

Kevin:

Right, which is a good indicator, possibly for how many like active subscribers you have on your show, because we would expect that every time you publish, anybody who's subscribed will download that episode within the first week at some point,

Tom:

right? Right. That's why I think as as we're trying to figure out, what's the best way that we can succinctly communicate, you know, these numbers in a way that people can understand and process it. And then this is what I'm kind of leaning towards. I think this is a really good indicator.

Alban:

So Tom, amazon music is out. I got you to give me a stat, the very first day verse from the first eight hours, we saw a decent amount of over 1000 downloads across Buzzsprout. So people were starting to find their podcasts. And I know we've seen an uptick Gemini updates, like how is amazon music doing across Buzzsprout?

Tom:

Sure. So we've had 15,000 of our podcasters have submitted their podcasts to Amazon, amazon music slash audible. So 15,000 podcasts have submitted. And we've seen as we're recording right now, I checked right before I came in, we have about 54,000 downloads from amazon music. So it's not, you know, it's not as significant as some of the other directories right now. But it's quickly going up. So we'll see that this continues to rise. And I'm sure there'll be a big player, you know, in the next coming weeks,

Alban:

so 15,000 people have submitted, a lot of people need to submit, that's actually pretty surprising that it's that low right now.

Tom:

Yeah, I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be higher than that, because I would think everybody would go in and do that.

Alban:

Yeah, if you are on Buzzsprout, like just over two directories, and just start clicking like most of the directories that anyone that we can set up one click submission we have. And so you could just go through and click and submit your showed all these directories. And, you know, get in front of a few more listeners, if the median is only 31. Actual, probably subscribers. Getting a couple extra really, you know, puts your helps your podcast a little bit better.

Tom:

Yeah, one of the things that we do at Buzzsprout is really try to make it easy to get your podcast out to the world and different directories is a great way to do that. And so going into the directory section, it's something that we're updating all the time, we're adding new directories, making it as simple as we can to be able to get it out to the largest audience possible. And Amazon obviously, is huge. And so this will, this will be big for people.

Travis:

So where does amazon music fit into the other directories? If we look at just how many downloads we're getting from each of these directories, like Apple podcasts, and Spotify and things like that? Where are they currently ranked in the pecking order? Have they broken the top 10 yet?

Tom:

No, It'll take a while because it's only been what since last last week. So it's been less than a week for them to really get some some downloads in there. But uh, we'll be watching them right now. They're not, they're not in the top 10. So it's pretty consistent. Even looking month to month, I was looking at the numbers that we shared from July and comparing them to August. And it's there's not that much of a difference, really. So you're still talking about 50% of downloads are from Apple podcasts from the actual Apple podcasts app. So just over 50%, Spotify, almost 19%. And then from there, there's a big drop, and then you're looking at the two to 3%. And there's a bunch of players that are constantly juggling around in their cast box and podcast addict, overcast Stitcher. They're all in that two to 3% range.

Alban:

Yeah, that's cool. I'd love to see. I know when john ran his podcast stats over like, a 10 year period. And I think we've got that on the YouTube channels. JOHN go through that presentation. Spotify, like jumps as soon as they launched, but the slow and steady grower is a castbox like year after year castbox was getting a little bit more a little bit more. And they never had that like Spotify moment where they jumped 10% but uh They've consistently, you know, been creeping their way up there.

Kevin:

Yeah. And you know, who's who I've noticed lately is podcast addict. They're like the number one third party podcast app for Android. It's a really good app, and they keep continue to grow and words getting out more and more about podcast addict, which I've never used, because I don't have an Android phone. But I'm super excited. I have. Sorry, Tom telling you right now. I have ordered an Android phone. And it's arrived Friday. Wait, Wait,

Alban:

really? I did you bought an Android phone for podcast addict?

Kevin:

Yes. Well, to check that out, and some other Android only podcast apps, I got the pixel for a, which was the highest rated phone, like that matched my budget criteria, which was like under $500. So it's $350. It comes Friday, I'm super excited to see what have is happening on Android in the podcasting space. I love

Travis:

how we're making a big deal that Kevin has joined 82% of the world by owning an Android phone.

Kevin:

Yeah, I've never, I've never used one I felt like I mean, when I showed you to the world,

Travis:

I just made up a number. It's like it's 60 something at least Yeah, I think it's higher, I think it's like 87, that's high

Tom:

23% of our downloads are from Android devices. So yeah, probably makes sense to to go ahead and buy one habit around the office.

Kevin:

Numbers gonna start going up after Friday, after Friday.

Alban:

jobs like I'm seeing an anomaly in here. Somebody is listening over and over on Android, a

Tom:

big fan of the Buzzcast podcast.

Travis:

Any other noteworthy things that you think would be good mentioning, Tom, before we move on?

Tom:

The other stats are pretty much in line with with what they were last month, it's no surprise that, you know, majority of the plays over 80% are mobile, over 50%, United States 54%. And then UK and Canada at 5.7 5.1%. So I think they're, they don't aren't moving very much from month to month. But so not nothing else too surprising in there.

Travis:

Very cool. Well, if you're listening to this, and there's a particular stat that you're curious about, or something you want us to dig into more, just shoot us an email at support@buzzsprout.com. And we'll make sure that we ask Tom that next time. He joins us for Buzzcast Alright, so last episode, Kevin did something very non Kevin like You teased something You teased? Something was coming out something was eminence. Yeah. About transcript?

Kevin:

Yeah, I know where you're going with this. I got it. Okay.

Tom:

It's been teed up. It's been teed up.

Kevin:

Right. So it's been years that Buzzsprout has been collecting transcripts through, I don't know our we call it our UI through our user interface through when you log into Buzzsprout. You can upload a transcript and associated with a podcast episode. And we have been big advocates of doing this. And lots of different reasons. main one being accessibility to is like the search engine optimization or marketing capabilities of your show. It's good all around. We know that not everybody can do this for every episode. But if you can, we always encourage it. And so we've been thinking about how can we use these transcripts in even more ways. And one of the most obvious ways plays out in podcast listening apps. Right now, if you listen in Apple podcasts, or in pocket, a podcast addict or one of these things, if there's a transcript associated with the episode, anybody listening through those apps does not have access to it. And so we set out to change that, and have completed the work to do it. And so as of right now, if you have transcripts applied to any of your episodes, if you actually inspect your feed, I know it just looks like a whole bunch of code. But if you look through that code, you would see there's a new tag in there. It says podcast colon transcripts, and there's a link to one or more transcript. Tom doesn't want to come files, what do you want to comment on something else, you can say transcripts? Okay, transcripts. So they're available in various formats, HTML, SRT, and JSON. And depending how the app developer wants to interact with those with that content, they can choose the file format that they want. And also, depending on what you provided us that might limit the formats that are available. So if you've pasted in your own transcript that you've written from a Word document or something like that, that's only going to be available in HTML. If you've used temi. Or if you've used a script, then we have higher fidelity data. So now we can provide transcripts in the SRT format in JSON format. Again, all this stuff doesn't matter. All the technology that's happening behind the scenes doesn't matter. What does matter is that we're hoping we're starting to work with and reach out to different podcast app developers to see if they will take advantage of this new data that we're pushing through your RSS feed to be able to offer your audience a different way to consume the content. So again, think about I like thinking about this in terms of like when you listen to music, if anybody uses Apple Music, or there's another popular music listening app starts with an S I can't remember some people use that there's a way to go into lyrics mode like when you're listening to your music so you can see the meat the the words of the song that you're listening, and that's always a fun game to play. Like you've sung a song a certain way for 10 years of your life and then you go into lyrics mode, you realize you've been singing the wrong lyric, the same type of thing can happen in podcasting. So again, whether you're having hearing disability or not, there's massive benefits to being able to see the transcript along with what you're listening. And what's the alternative, right? Just to stare at the cover art for that podcast. And so, if you're in a place, when you're listening to a podcast, where you have your phone out, it's not in your pocket, or you're not driving in your car, being able to go into transcript mode and read along with while you're listening, I think has a lot of advantages. Make sure you're hearing everything correctly, or I they just said that really quickly. What did they say like being able to look at the words, there's a lot of benefits. And so we're really excited. And I think this could be a huge step forward for podcasting, and the number of people who were able to enjoy this meeting that we'd love so much.

Travis:

So Kevin, real quick, you mentioned that if you had copied and pasted in your own kind of unformatted Word document transcripts, that we wouldn't have as much information as if you would use a transcription service. So let's say someone is using something like otter.ai, which is what we use to transcribe all of our Buzzcast episodes, right? Is there a particular best practice for how to export those transcripts to make sure that we have as much information as we can possibly get to be able to collect and give to those apps?

Tom:

Yeah, yeah, definitely, we want the most information we can get in right now. descript provides us with the information that we're looking for our timestamps. And so the script provides us with the most information because they provide us with timestamps for each word in the transcript, which is phenomenal. With otter, you can actually export it as an SRT, which gives us some timestamps around about 64 characters worth of words. And so it's a, it's not as high fidelity as what you're going to get from the script and even Timmy, but it's at least better. And so we're working on making it so that you'll be able to upload those transcripts in that format and the SRT format. And so that's something that people can look for, in the next few days. rolling out

Travis:

well in SRT is like a very common transcript closed caption format. So if you're using a transcription service, you should be able to export as an SRT file. And if you upload that to Buzzsprout, we can absolutely can parse that correctly. Yeah,

Tom:

SRT is a great, it's a great format, because it's so standard, it should be readily available anywhere. And so that that's why we want to be able to provide it in that format. so other people can consume it, other app developers can use it. But it really is a good format,

Kevin:

right. And the goal here was we talked about fidelity and how many timestamps that we get when you give us a transcript, that lets app developers have more flexibility. So the more the higher fidelity of the data that you give them, then they can do more things. Like they can highlight each word as you say it. versus if we go with an SRT file, they only know like, in 64 character blocks, what you're talking about, you're saying at that moment, which I think is totally fine, like when I listen to music all the time. And I'm always in lyrics mode. And they're not highlighting every word, they're kind of highlighting a sentence or two at a time as as the song is going by. But as Tom points out, like future proofing the idea of getting the most data that we can, because we have no idea how app developers are going to use this stuff, when they launch or five years down the road, the more data that we can provide, the better. And so SRT is a great format. Most transcription services will allow you to export SRT and Buzzsprout is going to start allowing you to upload SRT files, but will continue to look for more services like temi and descript, that give us the highest fidelity possible, which is a timestamp on every word. So that we're you know, prepared for whatever comes in five years down the road, when you're looking at holographic transcripts as you're listening to podcasts will be ready.

Tom:

So to sum up where we are, we launched this what was it Monday, we started rolling this into people's transcripts. And so now we are into people's RSS feeds. And so now we are serving up over 43,000 transcripts are available in people's RSS feeds. And so now it's working with those app developers to see Hey, guys, this information is now available. How can we bring it into the player because that's not something that Buzzsprout can drive, but we can provide you with that information to be able to do that. And so that's where we are right now was working with those app developers on incorporating those transcripts.

Kevin:

Yep, we have a bunch of warm leads. And we have maybe one or more confirmed yeses. So that'll be an exciting announcement. Look for that in the next couple weeks. Hopefully next time we get together to record, we'll be able to name some partners. And Albert and I will work on a little blog post or press release or something announcing who's committed to working with us. And we have a spec document to which we could link in the show notes if we want that talks about, Hey, if you're in the podcast hosting game yourself, or if you're an app developer, you're interested in incorporating this into anything that you're doing. We have an open dock we want everyone to play

Tom:

not just us. And it is properly listed in our RSS feeds so anybody can look at it.

Kevin:

So that's what you want me to talk about, right?

Travis:

Yeah, I wanted to talk about spec docs

Tom:

and SRT formats and fidelity.

Travis:

So last we have the social dilemma who wants to launch us into that one?

Kevin:

This is what I think is important. I think if you're listening to this podcast right now I think you should find out find a way to look to go watch the social dilemma. It's a Netflix documentary, or is it a documentary like a movie? I mean, there's there's some genre for this. That's like a movie and a documentary combined in one there's a story there

Travis:

probably just a documentary or doc docu style.

Alban:

It's it's actually a docu drama docu drama is that 2020 American docu drama film.

Kevin:

Yeah, I knew that come up with a cool name for it docu drama is my new favorite genre.

Alban:

I only watch docu dramas, my life

Travis:

is a docu drama.

Kevin:

So if you're listening to this, you're a podcaster, you're interested in podcasting, you need to go watch this, you need to go figure out a way to watch this, if you don't have Netflix, you know, go babysit somebody kids that has Netflix and watch this. And you know, after you take care of the kids, of course, but it is a really good. Gosh, it's just it's shocking, in a lot of ways. I watched it. And then I immediately sent it to my wife and my teenage daughter, we've always known that tracking is going on. And they're using really sophisticated techniques to figure out what we're interested in and hold our attention and get us to watch more. Anytime you try to put the phone down there on the other end, trying to get you to pick it back up. We've known this stuff. But being able to the way they capture it in the way they talk about it the way that they get industry experts like they get the people behind the scenes who actually built this technology, we're on the teams talking about it and how they've now seen the unintended consequences of what they've done and feel bad and are trying to move away from it themselves and protect their families for themselves. Is it I mean, shocking, I was really, I don't know how to describe it besides shocking. And I've been a privacy advocate and against all of this stuff for a long time. And even I was caught off guard. But some of the problems that are coming again, unintended, there was no malice when Facebook set out to build a revenue stream around their service. But you look at some of the things that are going on in the world right now. And these people, these experts are convinced that social media and these algorithms are a large part of

Tom:

it. Yeah, I mean, one of the most shocking things that they talked about was how it's not just changing your behavior and your purchase habits is changing your behavior overall, that they're actually able to get people to do things that they might, they don't even realize that it's a result of what they're experiencing. They had an example of Facebook and getting people to go out and vote, which is a great thing. But what happens when Facebook is now doing it, and they're trying to get you to go do something else, you know, like they're changing people's behavior. That's crazy.

Kevin:

One of the most startling statements in the whole movie was like that they started talking about did Russia hack facebook to influence the last election? And they have experts from the Facebook team are saying they didn't hack facebook, they used it. Right? The tools are there. This is how companies use Facebook, and whether you want to influence somebody to buy your widget or to vote a certain way. The tools are there to allow you to do that.

Alban:

You know, we think Well, what's the problem with voting if someone's being encouraged to vote? Well, that's not the problem. The problem is that we have companies like Facebook that have the power to influence your likelihood to vote. And they also know so much about you that they probably with like 98% accuracy know who you will vote for. So let's imagine it doesn't matter where you are on the political spectrum. If Facebook says we want candidate a or candidate B, then they can make it more likely that the people who are going to vote for candidate a see all this positive stuff about voting. Do I think they're doing it right now, as a company that's like their policy? No, I don't think that they're doing that right now. But one of the tenants of like democratic society is that we do not give this inordinate amount of power to any group. And our government is limited so that the government can't run over our lives. But instead, now we have companies that have just this incredible amount of power.

Kevin:

And here's the scary thing, though. Alban, it's not limited to Facebook. It's these tools are available to anybody who wants to use them to push anything.

Tom:

I mean, it's a well defined science. That's what was funny is that some of the people that are on the on the docu drama, they're experts, and they're like, I used to teach this stuff. And then I realized how it was being used. They've created a whole science around this whole economy around this. And it's, it's just out of control, like the people who set it up are no longer in control of it. And so that's what's scary when you talk about Facebook as the example. Well, what happens when they lose control, and now it's something else?

Alban:

Well, one thing that's super interesting is I know that social dilemma has a lot to do. Tristan Harris is one of the main people in it. And he said for a long time, like pretty much everybody who started Instagram and Facebook and so many of these groups, all of them went to school at Stanford, and were part of the J Fox persuasion Technology Lab, like it's this one area of the world that said, oh, here's how you convince people to do things. And it's not bad when you're saying, oh, why don't you engage with the app a little more. But at some point, they become so good at it. That is very, very bad. It's not like, oh, why don't you spend an extra seven minutes on Facebook? it, you are not going out spending time with your family, because you were spending eight hours a day looking at Tick tock, or something. And like, whatever the thing may be, it's not a positive thing for people to be spending, you know, all this time and all their life, just totally addicted to their phones. And there is these massive teams. Now, the smartest people in our generation, are trying to figure out how to get people to click on a few more ads and spend a few more dollars. spend a little bit more time watching YouTube. Look at another commercial.

Travis:

Yeah, I just finished reading a book called How to break up with your phone. I was like, Oh, that's perfect. I need that. Yeah, it was really good. I mean, it's the first half of the book was here, all the ways that your phone is designed to keep your attention. And then here's like a 30 day detox of like, step by step by step how to reorient your relationship with your phone to be more healthy, like so you don't feel like man, I'm spending all this time in my phone, sitting on the couch next to my kid who's playing and what's my attention, like being able to kind of decouple yourself from that, that addiction, and just had to have a good relationship with your phone

Tom:

and think of it this way. We're grown adults trying to decouple that addiction, right? When they start going through the statistics of how it's affecting, especially middle schoolers, and high schoolers, you're talking about, like, we have a lot of skills at our disposal as adults and living here for a long time. And they don't. And it was, at first I was like, oh docu drama, that, you know, they have these little skits going, and I'm like, this is kind of cheesy, but about halfway through it. It's moving, because you're watching the effect that it has I mean, dramatize. But on the middle school daughter, I mean, I paused it, I literally I paused it, I went and I got my daughter who was asking to get an Instagram account, I made her sit down on the couch next to me. And we rewound it, and we watched that whole section together, because it's just it has a profound impact on on their lives. Getting all this exposure, all these different touch points with the outside world. It's just not. It's just it's not the way it's meant to be. And it's a it has a lot of negative side effects that they talk about.

Alban:

Well, when you think we're running this experiment, yeah, our kids kids saying, here's what we're gonna do, we're not just going to have it on TV, we're actually going to have all that you see, are completely photoshopped and fake images, everyone has been altered significantly. And we're going to see how you end up at the end when you're out of college. Like how do you view your relationship to your own body? How do you see the world? How do you feel about yourself? And like, not surprisingly, rates of anxiety and depression and children and high school college are skyrocketing. Well, why is that? Because we're running an experiment. Say what happens if you expose people to the most beautiful photoshopped images in the world for their entire formative years? Turns out people actually think, Oh, I'm not good enough. Because I don't look like that or have that much money or have those things when that's all we expose them to.

Kevin:

So I think it's worth just redirecting the shift just a little bit back to podcasting.

Alban:

Welcome to us hating guy social media podcast is all new show.

Kevin:

Right? One of the things that the social dilemma does well is it talks about the problems and the the dangers that are happening in the social world right now. And so they track it back to the roots a little bit. And at the end of the day, none of these companies set out to increase depression in teens, none of these companies set out to make phone addiction, a problem that people now have to break themselves of this bad habit. They didn't set out with these malicious goals. They set out to drive revenue for a product that they were giving away for free. Right, they needed to be able to continue to provide their product for free. And they knew that if they did that well enough and got enough attention. It's like some terms they use, like attention economy, if they drove attention high enough, they would have enough revenue to grow their businesses and it worked really, really well. And these companies are huge the biggest companies in the world right now, except for Apple, who is a privacy centric company. But the Facebook's and the Twitter's and the Pinterest and the you know, well, I was gonna say Instagram, but that's owned by Facebook and tick tock and who knows what's gonna happen Tick Tock. They're all driven by the more attention that they can get of yours, the more revenue they can drive for their company. This stuff does not exist in podcasting yet, but it is certainly Jumping on the radar of like minded people, people who have seen the success in these other industries. And I've said, Hey, podcasting is starting to get a lot of people's attention. There are a lot of people listening to podcasts. This is really interesting. How can we leverage this to grow? You know, who is going to be the YouTube, in in the podcasting space. Spotify has certainly been turned on to this. Maybe there are others. And I don't want to slander anybody's not moving in that direction. But at least you've heard our opinions on this show that we believe that Spotify is keenly aware of the opportunities that exist in podcasting, and they're going all in on it. And there, there could be others. So this doesn't have to be a slam fest on Spotify. I want to talk about like the industry overall, like dynamic ad insertion, non hosted ads, these things are great for independent podcasters. Because we're small, independent show, if we want to do a host art ad, we can create a relationship with an advertiser, they give us a little bit of money, we talk about a product that we like on our show, it's fantastic. It doesn't scale. It doesn't scale to millions and millions and millions of impressions. It doesn't solve the problem of Hey, this person hasn't listened to a podcast in three days, how do we trigger them to get them to listen to another podcast so that we can make more money, which is the most profitable ad to serve up in this podcast based on the age you know, demographic information, geographic information, time of day mood of the person, relationships, a person's in everything that we know about this person, it doesn't scale to that. But people are trying to build technology to introduce this stuff into podcasting. And if you like what podcasting is like today, and you see the problems associated with all of that ad tech, like we have to try to do something,

Tom:

right, I think raising awareness, like at least we need to be aware, it's one of the most common things that we hear in our Facebook group. And if anybody ever cancels Buzzsprout, which rarely happens, but if somebody were to cancel their Buzzsprout account, they are canceling because they want a free service. And that scares me, because what you're saying is I want to jump into the attention economy, I want to sell my attention to somebody else. And in I'm going to get rewarded for that with free hosting. And I never want to participate in that I just don't want to do that.

Alban:

It's actually preferable for us when people leave to go to another paid host. Because we're like, okay, that's still in alignment with what we believe is the right way to do this. Because you're paying for this service to get your message out to your audience. And you're still participating in this growing this overall ecosystem. When someone goes to one of these free hosts, the only way they can ever work and actually make money is if they drastically increase the amount of people listening, they drastically increase the number of ads sold. And they drastically increase the mount of money they make per ad. Well, that means they have to learn everything about your listeners that they can they have to connect it to all these existing profiles online, so that they can piece together, how old you are, what you're likely to do, what you're in the mood to purchase. And we all know these times, you're like, oh, is my phone listening to me? Because it's weird. I got these, you know, these ads at the right at the right time. The creepier thing is they're not listening to you. Just the things you do on your Facebook account are so obvious to them what you want, that they can serve you the perfect dad, they don't have to listen to your conversations to figure it out. It's just the stuff that you're doing on Facebook and online with them tracking you. And it's just incredible, that we are kind of inviting this into podcasting. Because the reason this is so such a nice area of the web is because we haven't invited all this like creepy ad tech into the industry. And yet there's still some pretty large players hoping that that's the way we go.

Travis:

Yeah, that's one of the big reasons that we are all big fans of overcast. Because Marko does a great job of just being on top of this kind of stuff. And Kevin, I know that he just released a new update for overcast. What is the what are the new privacy things look

Alban:

like? Kevin won't know cuz Disney go on Android.

Kevin:

So guys, I'm not going. I'm going to have both I'm gonna have iOS and Android. Yeah, so if, if you're interested in privacy, you might want to check out overcast. The latest update to overcast anytime you click on a podcast. It will tell you the name of the show, roughly how frequently they publish a new episode. And then right underneath that is a link that says privacy and tracking. If you click privacy and tracking, there is a screen that shows the service that is hosting that podcast and any ancillary services they're using to get more information about listeners are served ads in the episode. So I'm going to take one that we have no connection with. This is I've just clicked on the Kim commando show. Kim command A huge radio personality is now doing a podcast as well. So when I click on the Kim commando show, privacy and tracking, I see that she's using chargable. for tracking and stats, and megaphone for dynamic ad insertion, tracking and hosting, you can click through on any of those links, and see the full privacy policies of the company behind them. But Marco is taking a step further. And he's put the warning emoji next to anybody who's doing dynamic ad insertion and tracking. So dynamic ad insertion, he says may insert custom ads for each download, which may include local ads for your region or other personally targeted ads. And for tracking his warning says, may follow individual limit listeners behavior across multiple shows on the web, often to track a response to an ad. So that's what we would call like attribution. So if you listen to an episode, then you land on a website, they want to be able to put those two data points together to figure out that their ad worked. It's technically possible. It's pretty cool. The unintended consequence is there, all these data points getting used, you know, a profile is getting built around you an avatar, again, I'm going back to the social dilemma analogies that they use in that docu drama. But that avatar starts to become more and more clear. And the clearer it becomes, the higher their ability is to manipulate and impact purchasing decisions or political decisions or behavior in jayveer. In general, right. And so this stuff is coming to podcasting. I think the what I love about what overcast is doing is they're starting to, you know, Shine a light into some of this stuff and say, Hey, there are companies there are charter bowls. megaphones, aren't 19 gets a warning. I don't know there's a few other companies that get warnings. Buzzsprout does not get a warning. What we do is we do hosting and stats, we don't collect personally identifiable information, we do get the IP address of listeners, when they download an episode, we use that to give a rough geolocation lookup, which if you've seen the map, in the Buzzsprout stats is not high fidelity at all, the deepest that we go is to give you a city, which we get a lot of people write in, and they're like, I know somebody listened in Denver, but I'm not seeing a Denver thing. And we're like, Yeah, but it says Colorado Springs, I mean, like, we don't buy IP address, we don't necessarily always know the exact city that somebody downloaded. But we're not going to go any further than that. There's no reason for us to go any further than that. And there's unintended bad consequences when companies start going further than that. And there are people who are doing it in the podcasting space. So I love that mark, is shining a light on this, what do you guys think?

Alban:

Yeah, I think it's great. I mean, I feel like the party has been moving this way, talking more and more about should listeners have there be like a privacy policy for listeners. And I don't remember if we were the first ones to do that or not, but Buzzsprout tells you like, we basically collect no data on your listeners. And now that's pretty common for podcast hosts. I know captivate has a feature where they actually will expose kind of the same thing that Marco is doing here, show you the privacy policies for prefix URLs. And I think all that's good, because everyone's trying to reiterate, if you are going to go down this path, at least let's put it out in front of everybody and say, we are going down this path, we're going down the path of tracking everything, and the path of all this attribution. Because I think when it's kind of in your face, then you go Wait, I really don't want to be doing this, if it was in the background, which is that's why we accepted it with, you know, when we moved to Facebook, from MySpace, like we accepted it, because it was in the background. Well, now it's here in front of us, and we know where it leads. And hopefully, the podcasting industry will kind of see this and go, yeah, we can have that over there on all that social media junk. But let's keep this one little area of the internet. Let's keep it protected from a lot of these negative influences that we've seen in so many other places.

Tom:

Let me say that too. So I watched the social dilemma. And I'm like, I'm done. I'm done. I was already pretty much like going out the door of Facebook. But I'm like, I'm done. I'm no longer posting any my kids pictures or anything like that. But I continue to use Facebook because we have this incredible Facebook group of Buzzsprout podcasters. And so what I found is when I go into Facebook, now all I'm doing is interacting with our Buzzsprout podcasters. And they are so good like it is it's not the polarization that you see in the social dilemma. Like people are nice, they're encouraging. People are being transparent. They're sharing, you know, this is where I am in my podcasting journey. Can somebody help me and then other people are jumping in and helping them. And man, I just want to give a shout out to, you know, a community that I feel like is way beyond what we could have ever done on our own. like they've they've just done an incredible job. And I know Albin Travis, you guys have helped to, to grow that community. And I just, I'm just blown away by by how encouraging that group is.

Travis:

Yeah. And we have some incredible moderators in the in there too. That really helps us. Make sure that we maintain the specialness of you know, just make sure it's a community of people that are helping each other. So Big shout outs to Brad and Jonathan do a great job in that community. We'll leave links to both of their podcasts in the show notes for this episode if you want to go support them, and give them a huge thank you by bumping up their IAB certified stats and and if you are on Facebook and you want to be a part of a community like that, then definitely encourage you to go and check out the Facebook group, the Buzzsprout podcast community. That is it for this episode and we will catch you in the next one.

Kevin is getting an Android phone
Buzzsprout is now IAB Certified
Buzzsprout Stats Update with Tom
Adding Transcripts to RSS
The Social Dilemma