Was looking over at podcast alley, and I’m a bit amazed by the drama that’s happening after 7 whole months of this stuff being around.

4000 podcasts?
Political/social/religous bashing left and right?
People saying Dawn and Drew aren’t funny?
Camps such as PodShow (Curry and friends), and then others

Holy “this isn’t why I thought it was interesting” Batman!

Heck, first I couldn’t get over the hump finding something interesting enough to ‘cast about for more than 5 minutes, then I tried a train-of-thought recording, and it nearly put ME to sleep, so I figured I wasn’t cut out to be an audio entertainer off-the-cuff. Then I think, maybe I’ll do some music stuff eventually to share some of my obscure tastes, that might be fun, just have to figure out the ASCAP/BMI licensing, and not try to compete with Brian, who’s Coverville podcast I simply love.

I really liked the flavor of “we’re doing something fun, don’t care if anyone is listening”. Shows are certainly different if they’re around to please the broadcaster, and optionally, the listener.

But then we start having voting, and then everyone wants to be #1 (well, why wouldn’t you, if you looked like you had a shot?), now it’s a competition, and I guess being “top rated” means you get press, or attention, and that’s obviously tough to not be influenced by.

On the other hand, no one will do this for a long time for free as a hobby, anything that gets popular takes up more and more time. The history of freeware and shareware are littered with good software written partially to get notoriety for the authors, then the notariety comes, or work or other interests come up, and they go away. That’s fine, and evolution, and what I actually hoped would be a major thread of podcasts. People who did it as a hobby, did a good job, when other things came up, they’d quit, and others who were inspired by them would fill the void, changing and expanding. I sure hope that flavor of podcasting stays around.

The whole “voting for ratings” thing is just sillyness though. You can’t do voting, then you get folks (including my favorite podcasts) asking for votes. You really need to do independently audited subscriber rates, which I’m sure is what Adam Curry is thinking with PodShow. That’ll take it down the road of commerical broadcasting, with Arbitron and Nielson for ratings, and I guess that’ s certainly one viable direction.

Or, it’ll be more like blogs, 10’s of thousands of them, but the best ones get passed around by word of mouth.

But rating sites? Splinter groups? Geesh. I guess we’ll see more editing and “top 10 lists” from aggregation programs as well, as they try to find ways to differentiate (I still love iPodderX though, mostly since they added the “make that mp3 into a bookmarkable mp4 feature I wanted the first week I started downloading DSC). So much for “doing this ‘I’m doing this cause it’s fun, don’t care who listens”. I only hope those sites continue, and the organism that is the online community finds a reasonable way to get to them.