So, that story sparked a ton of reader response. Three threads to highlight:
- Generally speaking, there appears to be an appreciation about the technical aspects of the project, though a lot of skepticism about whether it can actually be developed to a point where it can be precise, reliable, and consistent — i.e. it only hits ads with interrupting the content experience. Some discussions revolved around the possibility of using things like Mechanical Turk — which has, apparently, been tried before, according to Adblock Radio itself, though the effort was abandoned — and Fiverr or something, the latter of which strikes me as a little ridiculous.
- But several readers pointed out that, regardless of whether you could develop the tool to a point of effectiveness, it’s likely that no third-party podcast app would be incentivized to integrate it at all. Consider the fact that the strong majority of all podcasts are advertising-dependent — this is a business, after all, and it costs money to make these things — and it’s probable that publishers will either request to pull their feeds off podcast apps that integrate this solution or take legal action to do should the app keep their feeds on their platform. For some reason, I see this story as very, very vaguely connected to the Remote Audio Data story; both raise questions about the delicate balance of power and priorities in the publisher-distributor-audience relationship.
- In yesterday’s piece, I wrote: “FWIW, I continue to think there isn’t much tangible evidence to support the idea that ad-skipping poses an existential threat yet…. I don’t really have a hard take on this just yet, other than to say: adblocking, as a more general internet user phenomenon, appears primarily motivated by consumer distaste around ‘irrelevant’ or ‘annoying’ ads.” Got some interesting responses to this. For one thing, I heard from several publishers that their analytics support this perception — that ad-skipping rates, at least as reflected in their respective dashboards, aren’t particularly close to being an issue. But a few told me that they hear from listeners who skip ads, and that those listeners do so even thought ad-loads aren’t particularly excessive and the ad experiences were crafted to be thoughtful. There’s something about those two response lines put together that raises my eyebrow a little bit. If Hot Pod made more revenue, I’d love to fund a systematic study on this. It’s a line worth watching.