- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Eric "Scoop" Eldon is reporting that corporate podcasting service PodTech has been acquired by ViewPartner for less than one million dollars. Eldon notes, "The investors, from my understanding, were looking to make PodTech more of a blog network, and didn’t see eye to eye with the company’s early employees on what, exactly, the company intended to be." PodTech raised $7.5 million in venture capital.
PodTech has seen it’s share of drama in the past. Last October founder John Furrier left the company. Some of their content was questionable at best. Former PodTech employee Jeremiah Owyang left for Forrester, Robert Scoble quit then later joined FastCompany.
A year ago I tried to offer PodTech some ideas on how to at least improve their image. There’s room for a corporate video production company in the market. It will be interesting to see what happens to PodTech under the ViewPartner umbrella.
John Furrier, PodTech Founder, has noted on his blog that effective this week he is no longer an employee of PodTech. Back in mid-August, John stepped down from the CEO role and became an employee. John is the largest common shareholder in PodTech stock will remain on the PodTech board.
James McCormick began the CEO role in August and so far I haven’t seen or heard much from him. I hope he reviews my 5 suggestions to improve PodTech.
Self-proclaimed A-list blogger Robert Scoble is part of the team at PodTech. Robert is an excellent marketer but what I have found as of late is that he seems to be promoting b2c technologies including Kyte.TV and his new find Seesmic. If Robert wants to make PodTech a success, he needs to realize that he is now on the b2b side and should focus his time and attention more in that direction. I do think with the right focus PodTech could be successful, it just feels so 1995 when I look at the site. Scoble’s name can help but can’t do it all alone.
Check out John’s keynote address at the MIT Web Conference earlier this year.
I received so much great feedback on my suggestions for TechMeme that I have decided to offer more suggestions to more companies. If you have a company that needs some suggestions, send in a note. Today, it's PodTech's turn. These guys have been beaten up so bad recently and while I don't know all of the details (nor do I care), I think there are things they are doing right and some areas for improvement. Here are 5 suggestions for PodTech which if implemented will help improve their overall image.
Suggestion #1 – Web Site Design/Layout
The design is just not up-to-par. It's ugly, the usability is poor and it looks like it was created in 1995. I would suggest that they take some of the VC funds and create a new, fresh, functional design/layout. Text is Arial (yuk) and headers are something else (Trebuchet?). There is also nearly no hierachy in the layout area. A new design will give site visitors a belief that PodTech is a forward-thinking, current company.
Suggestion #2 – Brand Shows
PodTech has some of the big names on board including Robert Scoble, Jason Mahalanis and Jeremiah Owyang. I suggest they brand their shows and create a flavor for each one. Why not leverage the talent? On the home page, all of the links on the right take you off PodTech and to the individual bloggers. For example, Jason produces CalacanisCast, but his link takes me to his blog home page, where the CC show is basically nowhere to be found. At least link to the actual show.
Suggestion #3 – Upgrade the Player
This is similar to suggestion #1 in that the player just doesn't feel 2007 in my opinion. It's tiny and it's just not pretty. There is a button that looks like two "o"'s intertwined but has no information so a user has no idea what it does. There is no tagging, no commenting, etc. On second note, it does appear to have a comment link but you need to click "share" first. When I watch the player externally (say on Loren's site), I get an error every time "Stack Overflow at line 7" when I click off the video. For most people, the player is their first interaction with PodTech, don't make it a bad one. Lastly, why not brand the player? Since you are a closed network, why not have a PodTech logo within the player?
Suggestion #4 – Bring the Corporate Shows to Life
Down the right side of PodTech's site are their corporate shows. Clients from Cisco to CA to GoDaddy are all top notch, yet when I visit their section, it's just another boring old PodTech page. I suggest that they bring the shows to life in a similar way to suggestion #2 above. For example, why not have a Cisco logo on the Cisco page? Why show a HP ad on a Cisco page? By bringing the corporate shows to life, PodTech not only will have their current clients marketing their section, but it will become an awesome marketing vehicle for future clients.
Suggestion #5 – Ignore the Haters
There will always be haters. Ignore them. Remember your mother telling you, "Sticks and stones…"? There is no reason that Jason and Robert need to fight with Nick Douglas every single time he posts some story about PodTech? Do you really believe that replying will do any good? If a site offers constructive criticism, replies are fine. If a fact is incorrect, offer the correct fact. But don't get into these absolutely stupid 90210 battles. No one wins and PodTech winds up looking worse after it.
The closing keynote discussion is from John Furrier from podtech.net. He kinda looks like Mick Foley. His topic is about building a media company. He also notes that he has hired a new video producer who worked on the movie Airplane, David Zucker (or maybe he said Jerry Zucker).
Grab the audio file on Rapidshare (I didn't get the first 6 minutes)
He starts with a background on podtech. He discusses the importance of the enclosure tag inside of RSS feeds. He notes that iTunes helped to send over 5 million downloads to his site. Now they have grown to do video as well. He speaks about the importance of hiring Robert Scoble.
Starts with a background from 1985 – pc's and networking, tcp, upstarts create an industry: intel, cisco, apple, microsoft, etc.
1995 – Web
2005 – Web 2.0 – social media, RSS, upstarts create an industry: google, ???, TBD
Notes that he believes the only real Web 2.0 company is Google.
2007 – Media 2.0 – it's all about video
People aren't watching TV anymore like they used to. Online advertising is growing. Video ads will be growing.
Blogs are out there and users are going to bloggers because they provide value.
Video content the old way – the old players were hard to use and you had to download a set of drivers and so forth.
Video content the new way – flash based video, YouTube, user-generated, new networks
Expanding blogosphere – doubling every six months, expanding beyond text, recognized by mainstream media and consumers as bonafide source of reporting, and big brands are moving dollars into the blogosphere.
New reality – audiences overwhelmed by massive amounts of media, search becoming unmanageable, users seeking direction
Discusses Boston bloggers including Doc Searls, Nick Carr, Andy Plesser, Jon Udell, and Steve Garfield
Bloggers matter, podcasters matter and videobloggers matter because they reach the important people, lead the conversation and promote innovation and trust
When engaging the users – richness wins!
Rise this year in producer generated content
Session has concluded.