Is AudioBoo a good choice for professional podcast hosting?
This is a question I really wanted some kind of answer to a couple of months ago – but, like so many of these questions, there wasn’t a clear answer to help me. AudioBoo is a great little free service (with a web interface and an easy-to-use app) that lets you grab little audio snapshots, title and tag them and upload them to its ‘social’ space online. You can use the free service to run your no-more-than-3 minute podcast from now until the cows come home and, at the same time, discover loads of really interesting people doing just the same all around the country (it seems very UK-focused at present).
In short, it’s instant podcasting with a great app and its free.
So when I came to start a new podcast a couple of months ago I was interested to see they offered a £60 a year ‘Plus’ option with all the same functions but with an extended episode time of up to 30 minutes – just about the right length for the show I wanted to make.
So I tried to ascertain whether it would be a smart move to go for AudioBoo Plus instead of heading back to LibSyn which would be at least three times more expensive but which I have used before and which impressed me with the professionalism of its podcast hosting service.
Most of the stuff on the web about AudioBoo is written by people who are totally impressed by the free version of AudioBoo. Why not, it’s great. But none of them were paying customers and none of them had road-tested AudioBoo from a podcasting perspective.
The AudioBoo website made a big deal about its new iTunes podcast functionality so I took the plunge, signed up, made my first four episodes, submitted a podcast to iTunes and was pleased to see it appear in the iTunes store.
I was advised to #tag keywords in the ‘description’ section for each episode. I was advised that iTunes would recognise these #tags as keywords and allow iTunes users to search and find the podcast for these words. NOPE.
I’ve #tagged all my episodes this way and NONE of them is found in iTunes searches for those words (with or without the #). This system DOES work in AudioBoo which is fine.
Careful experimentation shows that the ONLY thing that iTunes finds my AudioBoo podcast episodes for is keywords used in the title. iTunes sees NOTHING in the AudioBoo ‘description’ field (with or without #s).
This leaves me with a problem. It means first of all that I only have the title field of my AudioBoo episode to stuff with the keywords I’d like iTunes people to find me for. This is far from ideal and would be a compromise to make up for the fact that whatever RSS feed AudioBoo puts out is not compatible with the iTunes keyword system. It means, in practice that instead of titling my last episode “The Glider Show #3 – ‘Two steps forward, one step back’ ” I should have called it something like “The Glider Show gliding and sailplane podcast #3….” in order to be found for the most obvious keywords ‘gliding’ and ‘sailplane’.
I’m annoyed because on Twitter @AudioBoo support assured me that #tags in the ‘description’ field in AudioBoo ARE read by iTunes as keywords for the purpose of iTunes searches but my patient testing shows they are not. This is not only less than satisfactory from a podcasting perspective (why bother if someone searching for ‘gliding podcast’ in iTunes can’t find me??) but doubly annoying because it feels like I’m being misled here.
I’ve submitted a question on the AudioBoo support site and am waiting for it to be published and to get a straight answer.
So if you need control over your keywords so that people can find you in iTunes, then watch this space. I will update it when I get a clear reply from AudioBoo but, as you can tell from the above, I’ve tested it and applied basic common-sense logic to it and … well, I’m not hopeful.
@ukglider We’ve been investigating this with the devs and we’re fairly convinced tags don’t play into iTunes search results (weirdly)”