Why Did Yahoo Kill Its Podcast Portal?

Sep 27th, 2007 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, iPod Accessories, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcast Directory Sites, Podcast Distribution

Yahoo’s decision to kill off the Yahoo podcast portal has generated a lot of discussion, and appears to be a sort of Rorschach test that reflects people’s attitudes about podcasting.

Does Yahoo’s Decision Reflects The State Of Podcasting?

At TechCrunch, Duncan Riley suggests that podcasting’s growth rate is the reason for the closing, saying that “podcast directories have struggled, as a medium that years ago held so much promise was surpassed by the rise of video.”

According to Read/WriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick, “Some would argue that podcasting hasn’t caught on like it was expected to, that it’s been dominated by existing media giants and beaten as a medium by the rise of video.” Kirkpatrick also puts some of the blame on Yahoo. “I don’t know how many people ever cared for the site anyway. I hadn’t looked at Yahoo! Podcasts since just a few months after it launched, when there were no RSS feeds and you had to login with a Yahoo! ID in order to download audio files instead of listening to them through a pop-up Yahoo! audio player.”

Or Was Yahoo’s Podcast Portal Just Lousy?

Lisa Barone says Yahoo’s decision wasn’t because of problems with podcasting – it was because of problems with Yahoo’s site. “Frankly, the site could use a little clean up,” says Barone. “The current podcasting directory isn‚Äôt altogether user-friendly. There weren‚Äôt any RSS feeds and users were forced to log in with a Yahoo ID in order to download any of the content.”

At Web Pro News, David Utter echoes the argument that Yahoo’s site failed to compete with iTunes, calling Apple’s proprietary podcast solution the “elephant sitting in the middle of the podcasting industry.” Or as Utter puts it – “If this were a game of Clue, we would guess Yahoo Podcasts was done in by Steve Jobs, in the server room, with the Cat-5 cable.”

CenterNetworks’ Allen Stern puts the blame squarely on Yahoo. “THE DAMN THING NEVER WORKED,” notes Stern. “I spent hours trying to get CN podcasts to upload and never could get it to work. Emails to support went unanswered and I left. I wonder how many others were in the same boat.”

Probably the most positive spin on Yahoo’s decision comes from mobile podcasting guru Rob Greenlee, who says that the decision is a sign of the podcast industry’s maturity.

“I am not surprised Yahoo has decided to close down its podcast directory site on Oct 31,2007. It jumped on a hot trend and did not have a long-term vision,” according to Greenlee. “Listeners and directories need to have a one-click to subscribe and listen process. This explains the success of iTunes + iPod solution. Any other successful platform needs to have the same equation and Yahoo just did not have this connection to a portable or mobile phone player.”

No Responses to “Why Did Yahoo Kill Its Podcast Portal?”

  1. spoon says:

    The portal was junk. It took multiple times for me to submit a podcast. Once it finally did work it took almost 2-3 months just to be added and when it was all of the information was foobar’d. I think they had a group meeting that resulted in “Hey the hip cats today are into this thing called podcasting… make something!”.

  2. Jughead says:

    Yahoo Podcasts added important credibility to a new medium that needed (and still needs) more mainstream exposure. Their closing down is unfortunate but doesn’t really hurt podcasters or podcasting in my opinion.

    The fact that anyone can create a podcast directory, leading to less traffic than they anticipated and that there is no true ad/revenue model firmly in place are two factors among many that probably lead Yahoo to abandon their podcast directory.

    While online video, widgets, Twitter and all the other stuff races ahead, podcasting is taking a slower, more organic growth route to mainstream adoption. The bugs are getting worked out, the metrics are being put into place and the advertising/rev models are coming into focus. The Podcast Expo this weekend will draw media attention and that adds more exposure.

    More people are producing better content, using better tools for a wider worldwide audience. Podcasting is going to be just fine.

    One day (hopefully sooner than later) we will all wake up and listening to podcasts will be as common as turning on the radio during the commute to work.

  3. Dan Carlin says:

    It is interesting to hear all this talk about “podcasting being dead” (and much of it centering around the idea that the “audio talking” format is dead). A quick look around the rest of the media world shows that audio and print are NOT dead…but some of the old outlets are just having to share competition for the eyes and ears of audience members now that “Media” is more diversified.

    The key…as it always has been is CONTENT. If the content is compelling, the audience will be there. The Podcast advantage is that is bypasses all the traditional media middlemen and gatekeepers who formerly got to decide if THEY liked your stuff enough to allow the audience a chance to be exposed to it.

    Well, those days are gone and now it is all about “what you have” not “who you know”. Put out a really good podcast, and you will get listeners. Heck, put out a mediocre one, and you will STILL get listeners. It’s a big world out there and the number of people “reachable” (via computers, phones, etc.) is growing everyday. If you are talented you have never had a better chance to show people what you’ve got than now.

    Yahoo killed its portal because they know they had lost. We couldn’t figure them out, they didn’t fix their many problems and they never answered our email. When a badly run business goes down, it is not an indictment of the industry, it’s an indictment of how they handled their business.

  4. Harlem says:

    Podcasting will most likely thrive. The internet is just thinning its herd.

  5. I don’t think podcasting is on the wane or audio content is any less popular than video content. Podcasting has evolved as a term where it now encompasses both audio and video. If anything, video podcasting is supplanting TV with todays youth. My son watches more stuff on YouTube than on TV and is starting to listen to podcasts on his new iPod yet he never listens to the radio.

    Podcasting still has a way to go before it peaks. It’s just fine…

  6. […] Yahoo elimina el seu portal de podcasts Posted on September 27, 2007 by Toni Yahoo ha decidit tancar el seu portal de podcasts: “Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Oct. 31, 2007“. No ha arribat ni als dos anys de vida, malgrat que l’octubre del 2005 l’anunciaven com l’eina definitiva per gaudir del bo i millor del podcasting. Aquesta decisi√≥ ha generat un debat molt interessant sobre els motius del tancament i, per extensi√≥, sobre l’evoluci√≥ del podcasting. Una mostra la trobem en aquesta not√≠cia de PodcastingNews i una altra en aquest post del blog Read/Write Web. Segurament, hi influeix un cert estancament del podcasting, que despr√©s d’un inici espectacular i d’un parell d’anys de creixement ara es veu sobrepassat per la febre del v√≠deo al web. Per√≤ √©s prou evident que hi ha altres serveis de podcasting que funcionen i que tenen √®xit, com ara l’iTunes. En els enlla√ßos anteriors es pot llegir algunes cr√≠tiques a la manera com Yahoo gestionava el seu portal de podcasts. Entre altres errors, obligava l’usuari a disposar d’un compte a Yahoo per poder accedir als feeds dels podcasts. M√©s enll√† d’aix√≤, Yahoo parla d’una nova estrat√®gia en el camp de l’entreteniment com a ra√≥ principal de la fi de Yahoo!Podcasts. No crec que el m√≥n del podcasting hi perdi gran cosa. […]

  7. Ralph Mucci says:

    Yahoo’s directory to be blunt was garbage. It wasn’t user friendly and it took forever to be listed, as well as have your shows updated. Yahoo failed to redesign their site to make improvements if podcasting was so critical to them they would have implemented changes.I dont believe that Yahoo shutting down their site is an indication that podcasting is dead. We will have a serious issue if iTunes shuts down since it is the main player in podcasting, however, being the ipod is compatable with iTunes I dont foresee this happening any time soon.

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