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September 06, 2005
We haven't podcasted for several weeks. One reason why: iTunes does not recognize our podcast feed anymore. If you subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, you receive a PDF from one of our blog posts, but no podcasts. We realize that's not very helpful.
The very nice team at Feedburner, which syndicates our blog's RSS feed, has been looking into this problem on our behalf. One issue is that our podcasts are embedded in our blog. The Feedburner folks suggest we have separate feeds for our blog and podcast.
But that would mean deleting our podcast from iTunes and resubmitting it, or changing the feed address in the iTunes directory. Yet Apple does not provide any technical support for podcasters. C'mon, Apple, what gives? How about a bulletin board with a support person?
Any fellow podcasters have experience with this type of issue?
UPDATE: Just found a podcasting discussion forum on the Apple web site. Unfortunately, it is for both iPod users who want to download podcasts and people who produce podcasts -- people with very different questions. There seems to be one Apple employee, called iTunes Mike, who is assigned to the forum. But Mike is not very responsive, leaving most of the questions unanswered.
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ben & jackie,
First of all, thank you extraordinary much for your excellent podcast!
To begin with, I too have found out that there is no interactive customer support for iTunes. Might be some user forums around, I don´t know. But, there is a "Report a concern" on the podcast description page in iTunes. It is displayed when one clicks the little (>) icon in the list of subscribed podcast. I currently don't get that page for your podcast, might be because iTunes lost your podcast info. Perhaps a new episode in your feed would re-generate it in their database. (Before you report see my advice below).
My guess is that Apple, as any player in the general beta economy, wanted to get their upgraded iTunes out early. Overall I really appreciate that, because it was good for podcasting. And, without anything to play with, it is hard to know what needs to be done. I just wish they had lowered the expectations and said something like "we are not really ready yet, but love your interest in helping us build an even better iTunes".
[when I re-read this it struck me that it would be nice to hear your voice about levels of expectation and customer evangelism]
Now to your feed. I think that iTunes still recognize your feed, but it does not contain any podcast episodes (mp3 enclosures) anymore because those feed items (blog posts) have been pushed out by more recent posts. Typepad (the blog/podcast service you use) defaults to something like only the 10 last posts goes to the feed. You may (sorry about the tech stuff here) convert your template to "advanced" and manually increase that setting in the feed template.
But, I agree (with the Feedburner folks) that a better idea would to create a separate podcast feed. For those of us that listen to your podcast that would mean subscribing to a new feed - well worth getting your stuff! After all, it´s less cumbersome than changing contact information when a friend is moving to a new location. Actually, most established main stream media (with a loooot of content) each publishes an abundance of feeds (eg news, sports, local). Technically you could do this (assuming an advanced TypePad template) by having two feeds generated from your blog. One that feed every category except "Podcasting", and the other only "Podcasting".
Perhaps you could ask (trough the "Report a concern") iTunes to change the feed URL in their database. In any case, the best way to get the attention of us listeners would be to podcast an episode about why and how (betting that a new episode would re-trigger iTunes).
Think I am done yet? Nope. I recently got an iPod (60Gb) from Apple Sweden to play with. While doing that I found out that the blog entry for each podcast episode can be read on the iPod while listening. That is wonderful!!! Note, I am talking about a "standard" RSS-feed with MP3, not the iTunes enhanced AAC format. Therefore, I ask every podcaster to include their full post (not just an abbreviation) in their feed. While of course not making the post too long and always spell out the URL:s (hidden links are not visible).
Thanks for all your advice Richard! We'll keep blog readers abreast of the progress. We are creating the new podcast feed now and will post it shortly.
I have a similar iTunes-myopic problem. I am in Australia, have a podcast or two that I'd like to promote. BUT:
1. I have to sign up to purchase iTunes material first with my credit card (and I don't wish to purchase anything)
2. Apple doesn't recognise Australia as a country, so therefore I cannot set up an account anyway. Yet Apple have been pushing their iPods like CRAZY in the last 12-18 months here.
Does this smack of marketing idiocy? Why promote a product that you cannot support? What of the hundreds of thousands of iPodders in Australia who WANT to purchase music for their iPods but can't?
And yes, my feed (mixed with both podcasts and blogs via feedburner) isn't loved by iTunes either - the very kind Shel Holtz from For Immediate Release tried it for me several times and each time got a 'no go' error message.