As has been widely reported, Luminary was until very recently removing links from the show notes of podcast episodes displayed in its apps. The broad reason given for this was “security,” a pronouncement which raised eyebrows across the podcast industry, especially since other apps (including Apple Podcasts) manage to display podcasters’ links without difficulty. The links issue was also problematic because sponsor and affiliate links are often a big part of how podcasts monetise; removing them didn’t exactly help burnish the company’s credentials as a neutral podcatcher at a time when there were also question marks over its caching practices.
However, according to the company’s Chief Strategy Officer Joe Purzycki, the removal of links has now ceased. Clickable links will shortly be rolled out into Luminary’s iOS and Android apps, and will be available “via copy and paste” on their web player, with a better solution to follow. Another commonly-reported issue will also be addressed by this update, he said, with a fix to the “author” field so that the correct creator is credited for each podcast (they were previously displaying the <owner> rather than the <author> tag). There is further technical information in his post here.
The tone of Purzycki is also notable. It’s apologetic and, apparently, humble. “We now fully understand the ramifications of those decisions and we apologize for our short-sightedness,” he writes. “We hope these fixes make it clear that we want to listen to the podcasting community as we continue to grow and develop our platform… We want to continue to listen, iterate, and improve.”
It’s a marked shift from the company’s earlier communication style, although it remains to be seen whether it will help them mend any broken fences. There’s an argument that says the listening and learning should have started a long time ago.