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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Obsessions and curiosity can lead to great discoveries, but one must be cautious not to become a victim of their own obsessions. Investigative journalism and knowledge of patterns in high-ranking podcasts can shed light on what makes them popular.
  2. Some low-quality podcasts are using unfair tactics to rise in rankings, while high-quality shows miss out on opportunities. It's important to support well-made podcasts and call out unethical practices.
  3. Increasing podcast ranking through chart manipulation may seem appealing, but it sacrifices genuine listenership and hinders organic growth. Building a loyal audience is key to sustainable success.
  4. Podcasters should approach podcast promotion with caution, thoroughly researching and vetting any potential promoters. It's important to be aware that promises of high downloads and top ranks may not be trustworthy, and to be prepared for potential risks and dead ends in the search for promotional help.
  5. Manipulating data to show popularity through unethical practices can greatly influence business decisions and public perception. It's crucial to maintain data accuracy and rankings for fair competition.
  6. Beware of fake promotions and chart positions on podcasts, as they can be misleading and harmful. Careful research and focus on quality content is key to building a genuine listenership organically.
  7. The Bestseller List is highly prestigious and can boost an author's career, but it can be corrupted. This shows its power and influence on the perception of books as good, and the need for transparency.
  8. The NYT Bestseller List can be manipulated by bulk book purchases, as evidenced by marketing company ResultSource. Authors and celebrities should avoid fraudulent tactics and maintain integrity in sales reporting. Vigilance is needed to uphold the prestige of the Bestseller List.
  9. Be cautious when using podcast promotion services and do research on the company or individual offering the service. Some services may not be legitimate and could potentially harm your reputation as a podcaster.
  10. Avoid fake reviews and downloads to avoid being banned by Apple. Genuine organic growth and marketing strategies are the key to success. Apple must take action but also verify to avoid removing legitimate shows.
  11. Genuine podcasters need not rely on fake download and review services. The only factor that counts on the Apple Podcast charts is the number of new subscribers. As consumers, we should support real content creators and not fall prey to chart manipulation tactics.
  12. Black hat marketing may provide short-term benefits, but it comes with serious consequences and risks being banned. In the publishing industry, even prestigious lists can be corrupted, so it's important to embrace new, relevant signals.

📝 Podcast Summary

The Power of Obsession and Investigative Journalism in Uncovering Hidden Secrets and Patterns in Podcasts

Obsession and curiosity can lead one down unexpected paths, often uncovering hidden information. However, one must be cautious not to become a victim of their own obsessions. Investigative journalism and research can lead to staggering discoveries and new theories, even in the face of highly guarded secrets. The popularity of podcasts is growing, and being on Apple's top podcast list provides exposure to newer and wider audiences. While the algorithm behind this elusive list remains a mystery, knowledge of patterns in high-ranking podcasts sheds light on what makes them popular. Such patterns include shows produced by big networks or led by famous hosts. The unexpected rise of an obscure podcast bucks these trends and highlights the unexpected turns that life can take.

Uncovering Unethical Practices in Podcast Promotion

Some obscure and low-quality podcasts are using unfair marketing strategies to rise up on the charts, potentially corrupting the system. Despite having no social media presence or web presence, these shows are able to reach the top 200 for a week before dying down. A podcast producer, John, was able to detect this shady practice when he received junk mail from a promoter in Bangladesh who claimed to have expertise in promoting podcasts for only $5. When John gave his RSS feed to the promoter and paid the fee, the obscure podcast he created with his friends a year and a half ago moved up in the charts. This suggests that some podcast promoters are using unethical practices to boost rankings, taking away opportunities from well-made shows.

The Ethical Concerns with Podcast Ranking Manipulation

Chart manipulation or algorithm hacking is used by some podcast promoters to artificially boost the ranking of a podcast on iTunes. Freelance podcast promotion services available on websites like Fiverr claim to provide top rank on iTunes charts. However, these services do not guarantee real listeners or organic growth of the podcast. Many such services are offered by people from Bangladesh, and their tactics remain unclear. This practice has become a concern for podcasters who want to gain genuine traction and listenership. It is important to build a loyal audience base who genuinely enjoy the content of a podcast and recommend it to others rather than rely on artificial ranking manipulation.

The world of podcast promotion is murky and full of mystery, with individuals claiming to have a team of people promoting their shows and refusing to disclose their methods or sources of knowledge. It is important for podcasters to take a critical and cautious approach when engaging with these promoters, as their promises of top ranks and high downloads may not be trustworthy. Despite encountering dead ends with some potential promoters, others may provide valuable clues, such as a photo of a makeshift promotion team in an internet cafe, that can help podcasters better understand the landscape and potential risks involved in seeking out promotional help.

Unethical podcast promoters in Bangladesh exploit Apple Podcasts' ranking system.

Some promoters from Bangladesh are gaming the charts on Apple Podcasts by using multiple Apple IDs to subscribe and download all episodes of a podcast, which counts towards the podcast's ranking. It only takes about 50-60 subscribers to get on the All Categories chart, which shows that the top shows are only getting about 50 new subscribers a day. Some highly ranked shows seem suspiciously high ranked due to this practice. This is an example of unethical behavior that manipulates data to show an inflated sense of popularity. It's essential to ensure the accuracy of data and rankings, as they are used to make important business decisions and influence public perception.

The Dangers of Fake Podcast Chart Positions and Promotions

Podcast chart positions are not always legitimate. Some podcasts use fake promotions to climb up the charts. Identifying fake promotions can be challenging, especially when larger shows appear to be gaming the charts. 'Experts' who promote shows may not be genuine or may use shady tactics. Podcast promoters often use fake names and work from countries with lower wages to attract new subscribers. Podcasters must be careful when hiring promotional services and should do their research before investing in a promotion. Podcasters need to focus on creating quality content and building a genuine listenership organically rather than relying on fake promotions to climb up the charts.

The New York Times Bestseller List: Power and Influence

The New York Times Bestseller List is highly prestigious and can immensely boost an author's career and sales, but it can be corrupted. Phil Stamper, an up-and-coming author and a professional in the publishing industry, revealed that a book suspiciously appeared on the list despite nobody knowing anything about the publisher, author, or book. Phil took to Twitter to ask for help, and it blew up with people finding it highly suspicious. Jack, the narrator, wonders if it is possible to corrupt the list, indicating that people are interested in gaming the system. This shows the power and influence of the list and how it affects the entire perception of what books are good.

Manipulating the Bestseller List for $200k

A marketing company called ResultSource can get books on the NYT Bestseller List for about $200k by buying the books in bulk to manipulate the system. The author of a book that was removed from the list denied hiring ResultSource, but did admit to contacting bookstores to ask if they reported sales to the NY Times, and would buy a large number of copies if they did. The author agreed to an NDA with a marketing company but wouldn't disclose their identity. This is not an isolated case, as celebrities have also been known to hack their way onto the list. Vigilance is needed to prevent fraudulent manipulation of sales numbers and the Bestseller List.

The Dark World of Podcast Promotion

The author investigates Podcast Secrets and speaks to Monowar, whom he suspected to be the main guy. Monowar claims to be an editor and producer instead of a podcast promoter, but the author believes he has knowledge of podcast promotion. Monowar says he learned from a client and tried working on Fiverr, but his account was banned. The author suspects that a podcaster came up with the idea of using cheap labour in Bangladesh to promote podcasts. The investigation shows that some podcast promotion services might not be trustworthy and could be scams.

Shady Practice of Manipulating Podcast Charts

Manipulating the podcast charts on iTunes through fake reviews and downloads is a shady and deceptive practice that violates Apple's media services terms and conditions. Several podcast promoters have already had their accounts banned for offering this service on Fiverr. Although Apple has not been clear on their actions against chart manipulation, it is important for them to take this issue seriously to avoid losing credibility and reputation. However, as a downside, Apple risks removing perfectly legitimate shows from their charts if they take strict actions without proper verification. It is important for podcasters and promoters not to engage in such manipulative activities and rely on genuine organic growth and marketing strategies.

The Corrupt Practice of Podcast Chart Manipulation

Ratings, reviews, and downloads do not matter in getting a podcast to rise up the Apple Podcast charts. The algorithm simply counts the number of new subscribers a day and week. Hiring promoters to climb the charts is a corrupt practice, which could get genuine shows kicked out of Apple Podcast. The absence of filters on this platform paves the way for manipulators to exploit the charts. Promoters in Bangladesh are heavily involved in this shady business because of the country's cheap IT workforce. As customers, we must be wary of chart manipulations online and let genuine content creators rise to the top based on merit.

The Dangers of Black Hat Marketing and Manipulation in the Publishing Industry

Black hat marketing involves unethical practices that violate terms of service in order to gain an advantage over others. While it may provide short-term benefits, it puts individuals and companies at a higher risk of being banned from the platform. It is important to be aware of the line between black hat and white hat marketing, as falling for the wrong trap could have serious consequences. In the world of publishing, even prestigious lists like The New York Times Bestseller List can be corrupted by buying masses of books from the right bookstores on the right day to send a signal to the editors. As we move forward, it is important to discard old signals and embrace new ones that are more relevant and useful going forward.