Podcast (RSS feed) Hijacking

PodKeyWord.com never “hijacked” the Vegan.com feed! This story is a couple weeks old now, but Steve Rubel and Joseph Jaffe at Across The Sound are still talking about it, and did not hear the truth about it. I am not using hyperlinks because it is possible that this is a publicity stunt, but just an awareness of the truth.

Read the PodKeyWord.com blog at http://www.podkeyword.com/blog

The guy at Vegan.com was a user of the PodKeyWord.com service. Think Feedburner with the tags you can use in an RSS feed you can get from del.icio.us. In other words, one feed, possibilities of multiple podcasts in the feed all on the same topics. This feed became more popular than the original feed, and Yahoo Podcast and Apple picked it up in their directory. Could it be because the Vegan.com guy did not se the value in submitting his feed to all of the podcast directories?

It seems the the guy at Vegan.com did not understand that by deleting his PodKeyWords account (would be similar to deleting your Feedburner account) which was done via an e-mail by a request from Vegan.com to PodKeyWords.com, that he would cut off most of the Vegan.com listeners!! What a moron! Now he is accusing the guy from PodKeyWords.com of hijacking his feed!

Here is what the Vegan.com guy should have done. He should have made a show where he tells his listeners to switch the address of their aggregators to the new feed, run both feeds for a couple weeks, then turn off the old feed. He assumed that guy PodKeyWords could easily point feed he was republishing to the new feed that Vegan.com wanted the listeners to use. This apparently is not the case, and PodKeyWords.com wanted to charge Vegan.com for such a service that is unnecessary, and not part of the agreement that PodKeyWord.com had with Vegan.com when Vegan.com established an account with PodKeyWord.com. Hence the “fee” which was then dramatized into a “ransom.”

It is like saying, “hey FeedBurner, I don’t want to use your free service anymore even though all my listeners are subscribe though you, but could you do me a favor and have all my listeners magically change the feed addresses in their podcast aggregators to this new feed I want them to use? Thanks!” Well, it is very possible to point the feed to another address using Feedburner.

False accusations due to misunderstandings or otherwise can really spread fast in the podcasting or blogging communities since the medium itself is a way for a regular user to spread information to thousands of people very quickly and easily. We saw this last when Leo Laport accused Feedburner of publishing his listener stats without his permission, when Laport clearly enabled this feature in Feedburner without understanding what it did. The reason in both of these cases is misunderstanding of the use of technology that is very new to everyone.

The next time a podcaster or blogger feel a anyone has done them wrong, they should do the research by going to forums like PodcastAlley or PodcastingNews, or the Yahoo Podcasting group, and ask other users before they go and send a mp3 comment to Adam Curry. Adam should have researched this also before he played the comment.

Moral: Never assume that anyone on the internet you are not paying will perform a special service for you that is critical to your business plan. I have never assumed this, but Vegan.com had to learn the hard way (or is it viral way, using this whole thing for attention?).

UPDATE 12/19/2005
PodKeyWord has complied with Vegan.com and created the redirect. He must have forced him to do this by using threats from his lawyer and what not. This is very unlike someone who is supposedly against using brute force against other beings.

The whole thing happened because of Vegan.com’s own actions. His actions stated that he wanted PodKeyWord service to be the main feed for his podcast.

The Vegan.com site is recommending to other podcasters to put copyright info in their feeds. What the hell would that accomplish? Vegan.com, as the copyright owner, authorized PodKeyWord to republish the feed. When Vegan.com later realized that he didn’t like what he did, he resorted to the tactics of a child. By then, the feed had repopulated all over the net because PodKeyWord was automatically submitting feed addresses to iPodder.org, at one time, the most comprehensive podcast directory on the net.

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