Podcast Expert: Podcast Sites, Feeds Are Garbage

Jul 28th, 2007 | By | Category: How to Podcast, Podcasting Research, Podcasting Statistics

Geek News Central’s Todd Cochrane, a long-time podcaster and the author of a book on podcasting, has taken a look at the state of podcast sites and podcast feeds and found widespread quality problems.

“The amount of garbage sites out there astounded me,” said Cochrane.

Cochrane looked at the podcast feeds and sites of podcasts nominated for awards at his Podcast Awards site. He found that many podcasts suffer from basic problems:

  • 82% of the sites checked had feed errors.
  • Of those with errors, 61% of those feeds were completely invalid according to FeedValidator.org.
  • 81% of those sites that had RSS feed errors were hosted on a WordPress blog.
  • 93% of the bad feeds were being served up by FeedBurner.

In addition to feed errors, Cochrane notes that many podcasters are still not providing clear links to their podcast feeds, or are providing only iTunes links; many podcast feeds are way too big, with one topping 1.1 megabytes; and most podcasters fail to provide a way to contact the host to provide feedback.

No Responses to “Podcast Expert: Podcast Sites, Feeds Are Garbage”

  1. Eric says:

    FeedBurner allows people to add features to their feeds that aren’t quite standard issue. This results in some errors from Feed Validator, but many of those don’t affect the function of a podcast feed (ie — don’t prevent downloading of the enclosure), only the appearance of it in a feed reader. So if cosmetics are important you, and you use FeedBurner, be selective of the features of you activate. Otherwise, have fun with the bells and whistles.


  2. Tokyo Dan says:

    When I run my native RSS (before FeedBurner) feed though Feed Validator, there are no errors. Then after I resync my feed in FeedBurner, and run it though Feed Validator again, I get two non critical errors. One error is that “Talk Radio” is not a valid iTunes category (there is no “Talk Radio” text anywhere in my native feed). The other error is that keywords should be separated with commas.

    So feedburner is adding things.

  3. Eric says:

    Tokyo Dan,

    Yeah, Feedburner adds a lot of stuff. A lot of the stuff it adds, though, are things you have to activate.

    Did you use the term “Talk Radio” for any of the descriptions you used when setting up or activating features at FeedBurner? Also, in HTML style scripts, keywords should be separated with a comma (not to be confused with the “tags” that YouTube and the like use which can be separated by a space).

  4. Timwise_97 says:

    I guess the real question is, “Who cares?” other than Todd Cochrane. If the feeds work with the agrigators and people are getting it…does it matter that there is some piece of the code that is in CAP’S which isn’t a part the standard? Todd…get a life.

  5. info says:

    If your feed validates, you should be good.

    Todd’s comments about podcast sites are very important, in my opinion. How many times have you tried to subscribe at a podcast site, and they don’t have a @#$# feed link?

  6. Eric says:

    Info, they’re important, but not entirely gospel. Feedburner bells and whistles are an example of that. I personally get cautions because I sometimes add hyperlinks into my descriptions. Just because it’s not the norm, it doesn’t make it “garbage.” My opinion is, as long as the feed validates, and it works, then that’s the end of the discussion. The rest is just aesthetics or personal preference.

    Naturally, a lot of what he says is spot on, and to an experienced podcaster, something that should be obvious. Not always, but still should be. Unfortunately, I see questions all the time from people who think that just because they put an MP3 or a video on their site, they’re podcasting. That’s the problem with the buzz-word mentality. No one bothers to figure stuff out or even understand it on a rudimentary basis.

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