PME: Audible Annoucement and the Aftermath

A ton of comments/linkage flying around about the Audible announcement saga, made much worse by Mitch Ratcliffe attacking anyone and everyone (and then trying to do some damage control).

My thoughts about it all:

I was at the PME on Friday and I spent quite a bit of time in the Audible booth asking a ton of questions about the product. There is a ton of heat around this announcement (thanks to Mitch), but trying to avoid the pungent crap fest, I found a few items very interesting:

  • Audible is trying to respond to podcasting - we all knew it, but here is some more validation for the space.
  • The new product ("WordCast") allows for ad insertion to help monetize podcasting (even more validation), however, Audible does not currently have anything in place to help Podcasters and Advertisers find each other (see Podtrac or FruitCast for that)
  • As you might have guessed, Audible has no plans to have their ad insertion technology kick out mp3 files (yes, this would reduce the value as true metrics would be harder to acquire. However, MP3 *is* the de-facto standard). Again - see Podtrac/FruitCast
  • In addition to the charges ($0.03 per download, etc), podcasts that have a per episode or subscription fee, Audible is charging 20% per transaction, or $1, whichever is more! (A transaction being the sale of a yearly subscription, the sale of a single episode etc). I found this to be an extremely high cost for basically handling a credit card transaction via their Merchant account.

This may turn out to be an interesting case study - I'll be looking for the Seth Godin and Steve Rubel write-ups.