Getting personal

There has been a very good and spirited discussion about Audible’s efforts to measure and serve ads on podcasts with many pioneers — Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Om Malik — giving their reaction and Mitch Ratcliffe, who helped create the Audible product, responding in turn. Audible should be listening to the marketplace to figure out how to make this work, for the marketplace is telling them they’re on the wrong road. Maybe they will. But it certainly doesn’t help when Mitch gets personal about Dave. Dave responds as well he should.

I understand what it feels like to work hard on a product only to find some people issuing Bronx cheers. The design of the first Entertainment Weekly sucked. I couldn’t say that out loud; I did need to defend our product. But we rushed the fastest redesign in magazine history because we listened. Audible: You’re trying to do something for and with the podcasting world and the podcasting world is giving you tons of good advice. Listen first. Turn off the microphone and leave your headset on.

: Doc also here and here and Mitch comes back here. The personal stuff is only noise.

: LATER: Ben Barren does a great analysis of Audible’s 3-cents-per price for measuring each listen of each podcast. I translated that into a $30 CPM and said it was insane. Ben shows how those numbers compute for one ‘cast, Keith and the Girl, to demonstrate just how insane it is:

Chemda (the girl) mentioned last week they had 500,000 listeners. Remember they have no advertising. Yet, Their Own Choice. They’re not even sure what Adam Curry does or what his business model is. Listen to their other LA episodes this week : Here and here. Times that by 3 cents per listen for the charge audible want for tracking stats and .AA conversion I assume : That equals $15,000 for one episode of Keith and Hurl. Times that by 5 shows per week. $75,000 a week. Lots of vig there. Ill give audible benefit of doubt and say 4 weeks per month. That’s $300,000 or $3.6 million per year for K+TG to get stats on listeners. (and remember you can listen to podcasts on your PC and not enter any user details so im not sure how audible really think they will get comprehensive user details) Im sure you can run your discount factors, non-active subscriber numbers, monthly churn rates, % of those that dont listen to the whole podcast – to get to a total KeithandtheGirl monthly usage number, but if you want my opinion, Audible just spent $35K on a Wordcast Sponsorship for the “Portable Media Expo” to build “negative brand equity” as they used to say in my DDB ad agency days.

See, too, Mike Arrington’s proper fit over Audible’s moves.

There are some interesting features that add to the podcasting discussion and normally I’d write about it over at TechCrunch. For instance, Much of what Audible is doing is goes way beyond what Fruitcast (TechCrunch profile) is allowing publishers to do. While Fruitcast allow insertion of ads into podcasts and tracks downloads, Audible is able to pingback listening metadata as well (albeit via a closed file format and crazy prices), something that will be very interesting for publishers.

But wow, did they ever screw up the follow up to the announcement.