Odeo Cripples Functionality

Odeo LogoOdeo seem to be updating and improving their services every other day of late. However, it is not every day that you see such a great service actually remove a feature and make it harder for users to utilise their service. They have indeed done so and perhaps in doing so shooting themselves in the foot.

One of the great features that is available to Odeo users is to have an "inbox". If you were to place a button on your website, be it blog or some other site you have enabled your readers to leave you audio comments by clicking the link. They get taken to a page that has a recording interface, which is simple and easy to use and the result is great audio. You as the user of Odeo get that recorded audio in your inbox once it is sent to you. You are notified of this by an email.

Another great feature is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of your own inbox! So this is a great way to receive feedback on anything. Including podcasts. Seb and I saw it as a great way to get feedback for Global Geek Podcast, so we set up an account. The advantage of getting audio as feedback is that you could go to your inbox once you were notified and click the new Odeo comment that was left for you. You can listen to it. But the biggest feature was that you could click a "download as MP3" button and download the audio comment and insert it into a podcast! The result was excellent and we loved it.

The ability to download the MP3 has been removed from the play window! So what the hell is Odeo thinking in removing this key functionality. It means that it is impossible to download the audio from the page to your local machine. Rather it makes it a pain in the butt to do it.

I found that there is a work-around but it is messy: Open Audacity, set the source to "stereo mix" get ready to hit record… Open the Odeo message that you want to record. Flip back to Audacity and hit record, nip over to the Odeo page and click play. Go back and hit stop on the recording when it has finished. As I said messy. In addition the audio that you end up with is less than ideal and requires a bit of editing.

I am utterly dismayed as to why Odeo have removed this from their site. The only thing that I can think of is that they want users to listen to audio, only from them and not from another source. Perhaps they were not aware that the service was being utilized in this way and they have done it ignorantly, I just don't know. Sebastian has suggested that perhaps they are beginning to think about implementing a pay service and this has something to do with it. But since when has any site reduced their services as opposed to offering more. We are not the only podcast doing this. I can honestly say that if this situation remains as it is; the blogging and podcasting community could deliver some negative press, big time.

Global Geek Podcast has mentioned Odeo on every show that we have done. Not only that there is a link on the Global Geek Podcast website to Odeo, there is a link to Odeo on Rooster's Rail, Seb's Random Thoughts and we have plugged them for their service and functionality since utilizing their service. It is not like we have not given back to Odeo. This I feel is the thanks that we get.

Global Geek Podcast have sent off an email to Odeo in regards to this issue and we await a response, I will let you know what we get back from them when and if we do.

Update: Please check out the Follow-up Story

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LibSyn Player Removed!

Well the Global Geek Podcast has been going very well. The website is working great, accept for the LibSyn Player; which has been broken for nearly two weeks.

LibSyn PlayerThe player is just a web page application that allows people to "stream" the audio directly from the web page. It is also detachable so you can surf the net and listen to the show. About twelve days ago, after the upload of show number 004 (I think) it broke. It failed to update with the new show and the situation stayed that way. For me the player does not work at all. For others it might play any show that we have published, at random! Not good.

You might think that this is a minor thing, but you would be surprised to learn that this is the way that most people listen to the show. The majority of people appear to not know about aggregators or "podcatchers". So the fact that it is broken is really affecting our statistics, we have seen jumps in other episodes that should not have occurred and a downturn in the numbers for the most recent show. We are fairly sure that it is related to the player not working. Part of trying to combat this was to put the WordPress Podcast Widget on this blog, you can go to the streaming page and listen to the podcast from this and download the podcast with the right click "save as" command. But it was not a total solution. We have also tried to search for a decent player from somewhere else but we are having trouble finding one that us gumby people can put on the page and looks good.

So after all this and three emails to Liberated Syndication I have removed the player from the site, I just hope that people click the "POD" button to listen to the show or download it manually or preferably subscribe to the show using a podcatcher of some description. I recommend Juice as a free option, open source and it works. For a payed version of an integrated podcatcher and RSS reader I recommend FeedDemon.

Still hoping to get the player fixed and reinstated on the website but until LibSyn get back to me my hands are tied. Normally they are good with support but on this they have sucked.