The 12/07 Podango Downtime Can Have An Upside If They Do This Right

Let me start by saying that I’ve been a big fan of Podango since day 1. I’ve liked their people and their model. I keynoted their first “Unconference.” I launched the “Internet Marketing Podcast Network” with them and have blogged about them numerous times. Even had Lee Gibbons on both the Electronic Marketing Interviews show and on New Media Matters.

I went really loopy when they bought Gigavox from Podango. I was like two friends getting married. That system is the bedrock of all of my audio Podcasts right now.

Well, around New Years Eve, the honeymoon was over. I tried to publish something before the old year was over and the Gigavox / Podango publishing system was down. A little research in some forums shown it had been down for awhile.

Note: Not all of Podango, this was just an issue with the Showbuilder Lite system (the part I use).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand holiday breaks and the like but … there was no way to contact anyone (minus the old rolodex) and I tried everything I could.

It remained down.

For at least a week.

I told Lee (sometimes with all caps ;-)) and the gang that this was unacceptable (they agreed) and that we needed to move from a “sorry we were down” to a “when we go down next time here is how things will change” kind of approach. In this space, things go down, the issue is what we do about it and be pro-active instead of re-active.

I bullied them into getting me a downtime document by Friday the 4th with the promise that I would Blog accordingly and explain what I thought of the document or that the document never arrived.

The document arrived. On time.

It wasn’t perfect. Really, it wasn’t even ‘close.’

I suggested a few things.

They agreed. They edited. We’re in ‘close’ mode now.

And here is what they offered me. Here’s what they offered the community.

1 – I asked for an off-site area to post downtime issues, etc. Here was the email response

Yes, Paul. You may post that we will have it. InsidePodango.com is the domain. It will be set up and functional by Monday close of business.

We will use this domain for technology focused updates, including:
- System Status Notifications
- System Update Notifications
- Known Issues and Resolution Targets
- A Podango BBS
- Access to the Podango Learning Center
- RSS feeds for posts related to specific categories of info: system status notifications, produce news, al posts…
- Etc.

Clearly, not all of these things will be available on Monday, but
this is where we want to take it.

The site is live. Step 1.

2 – This note was sent on the 8th. They could have hid and “hoped” most people didn’t notice the downtime but they sent this:

Dear Podango Show Builder Lite user,
As you may be aware, Podango Show Builder Lite (formerly Gigavox Audio Lite) has been experiencing some technical difficulties in a couple of key areas. The main problem has been with uploading, but we have received reports of problems with assembly in some isolated instances as well.

First, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and trouble that this may have caused you. The road to transition has been a little rockier than we would have liked or initially anticipated. We are working diligently on the transition and hope to be fully transitioned soon.

Secondly, we believe the issues surrounding uploading have been resolved. If you continue to experience problems uploading–or any other issues, please let us know by way of the method described below.

Thirdly, I want to let you know how to best help us help you when issues arise. To get support, please email psbl-support@podango.com and give us your name, Podango Show Builder Lite username (we don’t need your password), and a description of the issue you’re seeing with as much detail as possible. Someone will respond to your issue shortly to let you know that we’ve received your message and will help resolve the issue. To make sure that we are timely in our response and aware of all new issues, in addition to us receiving your message via email, our email system will also send us a message to our support pagers, so that we will instantly be alerted that there is an issue that needs resolution.

In closing, We appreciate your patience and participation as we move to make this great service even better. We value your contribution to the podcasting community at large, and welcome your feedback on how to make our service even better.

In great cause together,

JT Zemp
CTO – Podango

That was the right thing to do. You’ll notice they gave an email address contact that goes to pagers, not an inbox that nobody checks.

And I support the transparency 100%. Step 2.

3 – Lee and I had dinner at CES. We’re going to continue this dialog and document.

-

So, as I said in the title to this posting, the downtime can be good for them if they do this right. Allowing me to air a little of their dirty laundry in an attempt to prove they’ve changed soaps is a bold move and I salute them for it.

In a few months I’ll salute either their success in making this happen or … let you know where I’m moving to.

I really hope it’s “Option A.”

My gut tells me it will be, but time will tell the true story.

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Quick CES Roundup

I’m at the Vegas airport sucking up some of the free wifi. My stay here in Vegas is complete and my flight can’t leave soon enough.

Let’s get the important stuff out of the way, I’m up about $15 on the slots and made back $40 on a pool with other speakers re how many would show up to the presentation. I won, and with the high number.

And, the killer take home – the “must report” about event. I got nothing for you. Hopefully Jobs delivers something next week.

CES fascinating for me because it has so little to do with the show floor. It’s all about the meetings and the “feeling” you get from other players, etc. You can tell a lot about a company by who’s in the booth, how much money is being spent, what they hawk, etc.

A few things I touched directly and then some bigger thoughts. Hopefully then the flight will load and I can watch the movie I ripped for my iPhone for the ride home.

The Gates Keynote at the Bloghaus was a kick in the pants. Whereas I wouldn’t be as arrogant to say it was the pressroom of the future, I’m so glad I went there, instead of the press area. Different groove, and people cared about the tech for tech’s sake, not what it would do to MSFT’s stock price. I mentioned earlier that I’ve give it a “B.” Still feel that way. Nothing of importance came out of it. Was thrilled to see the token Zune picture on a bunch of banners, etc. Always good to be reminded that their new media player ain’t going away.

I did find it a little funny that the first IPTV implementation is in England.

Monday was about the show floor. As always, Microsoft had a nice presence but … this time … the word Podcasting was on the wall and not only were there people who could answer questions in the booth but the lead Podcast dude Rob Greenlee was there on the floor.

I wonder if the two Podcast guys from Apple will be on the floor next week at MacWorld answering questions.

Creative seemed as lost as ever. The big product they were pimping was a device that upscaled your iPhone to a HD screen. Yes, you read it right – iPhone. Around the corner were the very devices they were calling unimportant with big show specials for people who bought there. On the brighter side of things, I did win a copy of Unreal Tournament 3.

iRiver was clueless – at least the guy I talked to.

Never made it to the Belkin booth. Bummer there.

Met the guys from Castgrabber.net. In some ways they’re a competitor to Casgle but they’ve got a retail angle for what they’re doing that makes things interesting. I need to chew on implications. They won my award for worst booth location.

The panel with Kamen, Lawless, Mossberg and Stephenson was very fun. Was great to consider the fine line between embracing technology and dreaming about how to make it better. Chuckled a little when I found out that D’anna’s kids are into Webkinz too. I still hold out my opinion that Dean Kamen is an American treasure. Take a look at http://www.usfirst.org/. Got a clip of him that I’ll upload to YouTube sometime later.

Had dinner Monday night with a bunch of Microsoft MVPs and some leaders there. The Microsoft MVP program is slowly maturing and it’s really fun to be part of it. The MVP program is entering puberty and when we enter our teens, you’re going to see some really good stuff from the partnership.

Tuesday was good too. Again, about the people – so it was mostly meetings (and of course, the presentation). I recorded my part and if it comes out good, I might play it on the show tomorrow night. Had lunch with MediaFly.com and dinner with Podango.com so no complaints there.

I think the big “take home” came after deconstructing the panel presentation with Tim Bourquin and Michael Geoghegan after the event over a beer. We realized that telling Podcast-only stories is getting harder and harder to do as more and more people aren’t making their stories Podcast-only. 12 years ago I remember telling great email marketing stories that quickly became marketing stories. Very quickly we’ll be telling new media stories that had a Podcasting element – but she wasn’t the star.

And I wonder if she ever was.

She is one heck of a channel though
.

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Gates Final CES Keynote With A New Media Focus

P.s., some other thoughts over at ZuneLuv.com.

It’s funny to liveblog this knowing that I had the press access to it all. Also fascinating that this Bill’s last Keynote. With the Windows Mobile 7 info leaked already, I think we’ll have plenty of portable/new media stuff to talk about. Bloghaus is killer. ‘Nuff said.

All media and entertainment will be software-driven.

This is just the beginning.

The second digital decade.

And all that before the token humor video. This was hillarious – I hope they put it up online at some point.

Three issues 1) the high definition experience 2) everything surface connected 3) enhanced user interface.

Silverlight – “the runtime for new media experiences.” NBC and the 2008 Olympics via Silverlight. Interesting. Just installed Silverlight on my Mac and it seems to be streaming great so none of that “only Windows” arguments, please.

10 million members on Xbox Live.

ABC and Disney and MGM on Xbox Live. All very good. 35 studios and networks.

“Not a hobby” for Microsoft – in reference to AppleTV. I think we’ll hear some fun things about Job’s hobby next week, but that’s another story.

It’s over. Wasn’t my favorite by far. I say Gate’s heart is in philanthropy now.

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My CES 2008 Schedule

Some of best stuff will be on my Twitter account – which you can see on the upper right hand side of the Blog screen, but do follow me on Twitter – boost my ego.

Sunday
930a – Arrive / Check In / Etc.
3p – Press Seating for Gates Keynote
630p – Gates Keynote (not sure where I’ll be yet – I have press passes but watching in the Bloghaus with everyone else will be much more fun and will require much less standing in line (even with a press pass).
830p – BlogHaus

Monday
Most Of Day – Show Floor
8p – Microsoft MVP CES Dinner – Roy’s
10p – BlogHaus

Tuesday
130p – My Session At The Venetian
1030p – Depart

Next (Live) New Media Matters Show – Wednesday, January 9th – Topic Is: Podcasting and CES Roundup

The next (live) New Media Matters Show is scheduled for January 9 at 7p Pacific, 10p Eastern. As always, the recording will be available soon after the event and delivered to subscribers via Podcast but I wanted to give you some opportunity to interact with the show.

First of all, you can listen live (no registration required, just click the flash play button) here: http://www.newmediamattersshow.com

You’ll notice there are several streaming options. We’re using PhoneAndWebcast.com for this process and are pretty thrilled with it.

You can submit questions for the show at the New Media Matters site. We also have the option of calling in voice mail with questions about the topic at hand at 206-350-2449.

We’ll play some of the comments and questions on the show if appropriate.

The topic for next week’s show – CES and Podcasting 2008 Roundup.

I’ll be talking about CES from the point of view of the Podcaster and answering some questions that have come in lately about Podcasting in general. We are getting near Podcast Secrets season again, you know.

If you have questions about CES or Podcasting, feel free to contribute through the options listed above.

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My Own Little Mini CES Announcement – Affiliate Guy Podcast 02001 For Sale

I do need to get back to the show floor, but I had to put this up today.

We’re gearing up Affiliate Guy Podcast (which was the first Premium Podcast ever) for season 2. Among other things, we have a new channel for sales.

You’ll notice that the first episode of (season 2) the Affiliate Guy Podcast is up for sale at eMediaMarketplace.com. You might, or might not be impressed.

It’s a free-and-clear MP3 file. No encryption here. Smart move? We’ll see. Had to test it though.

But what gets really interesting is that the file is also for sale at AudioBookStorePortal.com, BookTones.com and 997 other online stores.

Audible is not on the list, yet, but I am truly not just syndicating my content via RSS, but through a thousand online stores as well.

Syndication is very powerful, and in the reach of anyone interested – not just the big players.

Disclosure: If you buy the Affiliate Guy Podcast, I see some of the revenue. I am also owner of the eMediaMarketplace.com and eMediaMarketplaceNetwork.com.

CES Day 1 – And I Didn’t Spend A Minute At Any Hall

Don’t worry, I’ll spend some time wearing out the sneakers but first things first …

Bloghaus twas an event to behold – great people, great connectivity (not always easy in Vegas), great food, great beer (and for an Oregonian, that’s important) and wine. Add to that an almost cheers-like element where everybody knows your name and, gosh darn it, Seagate and Podtech knocked one out of the park.

Best Piece of Class Award: When I signed in to Bloghaus, they gave me $25 cash for cab fare.

Best Schwag But Only Schwag So Far Award: Microsoft “Get Ready for Vista” Boxes. Included in the box, a copy of Star Wars Lego 2 for PC. Oh yeah, one of those 2 gig flash drives that makes your Vista machine boot faster too!

Best Gotta See It Buzz So Far Award: SlingCatcher. Gotta see that that. Makes my Year of Living Digitally project all that more interesting.

Best Podcast Brother To Play Blackjack With: Tim Bourquin.

Best Podcast Brother To Keep Your Money With If You Don’t Play Blackjack As Well As The First Podcast Brother: Emile Bourquin.

Best Blogpost for Hard Drive: Won 2nd Place in the Seagate “More Storage Contest.” Won me a very cool 160 gig small portable hard drive. Could actually use that more than the big one right now so, Seagate, thanks …

At noon I’m having lunch with Cesar Menendez of ZuneInsider.com. Yes, they’re still willing to talk to me. He’s actually going to try to attend the two Podcast sessions at the Venetian as well today.

On a fascinating side note – at Bloghaus I spoke with not 1, but 2 different Podcasters who want me to keep pushing the stop selling yourself short campaign. This is a very mature media doing some very impressive things and it is time for us to stop accepting $10 CPM.

More later. I got a Steve Jobs keynote to get ready for.

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Gates Keynote – I Did Well On My Predictions

Engadget has some great blow-by-blow coverage. I won’t even attempt that here.

My comments.

Media Center. They spent 5 seconds on their content partners for video on demand – Vongo, Showtime – and I can’t remember the other. When you give such little attention – it’s obvious that things aren’t for prime time (sorry about the pun). I assumed that announcement would be Xbox related but I think I got the spirit right in my prediction yesterday.

Windows Home Server. Features include automated backup, connectivity, remote connectivity, expandability, etc. Sound like a great Media Server – just like my prediction.

The Connected Division. Connected entertainment. Whenever, wherever, whatever device. “Entertainment is about community.” First example: Urge Music Service. Yeah, that’s doing well. Emphasis on “that platform” – Plays for Sure. They promise they aren’t abandoning it. As for Zune – really – they claim they’re “the number 2 already” (but didn’t announce anything, as predicted). Talking about phones, they’re bragging that they’re outselling Blackberry. Gaming: PC and Windows is the #1 gaming platform in the world. Vista is going to expand that. Showed a video about gaming on Vista with nothing in it that couldn’t have been a gaming on Xp video a few years back.

More on Xbox 360. 10.4 million consoles sold. Majority of owners are new to the Xbox platform. 2.7 millions copies of Gears of War sold. 160 titles. More than 300 by end of year. Halo 3 video. Showed the commericial we’ve already seen. 5 million members on Xbox Live. New option “Live on Windows.”

TV and Movies. 4 ways to get hidef: 1) HDDVD on Xbox 360. 2) Media Center. 3) Xbox Live Video. 4) IPTV.

IPTV Instant, on demand, “everything you’d expect.” Holliday 2007. Gee, didn’t I predict:

funny thing is that nobody will really understand what the initiatives are. And, yes, it will be announcements only – we won’t see the results for months.

Information in the Car. Ford Motor Company. Sync product. Ford Exclusive for integration – full integration with Bluetooth phones. Phone vendor partnership, as predicted. Nice thing is, this gig will work with all phones (including Apple’s release?) and alienate no one. No release dates (“this summer”). As predicted. Not even a demo video for this one.

In the Years Ahead. Typical forward looking stuff that Microsoft does. I’ll add to th predictions that one day they’ll embrace Podcasting too.

I’m really not that down with Microsoft – I love the company something fierce – I just wish they’d focus on what’s really happening, not what the gearheads are telling them is happening.

That’s how I could make these predictions. They’re just not that complicated anymore.

They’ll wake up to Podcasting, they always have, it’s just a chore to wait.

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