The Problem with Podcasts ~ Critical Mass of Advertising

ClustrMaps is filling with little red dots like an outbreak. ClustrMaps appeals to that avid lover of information that resides somewhere in the recesses of my brain. Naturally I don’t want to bog down the website with too many data acquisition tools as it stumbles across my beliefs about what the internet should and should not be gathering about people. I figure an anonymous blip on your country/state is not too bad. Similarly the advertisement I’m running doesn’t take who you are into account when it displays the image above. Someone goes and bids on my slot judging by what I feature and how many people visit, that’s it.

That segue was terrible but you’ll forgive me if they aren’t all aces. Today I wanted to talk about a major issue I have with advertising and especially how it has impacted both YouTube and Podcasts. Advertising as a field is a very weak industry. Not monetarily, they rake in money hand over foot, but effectively it is quite poor. Advertisements are so very expensive because of how bad and inefficient they are. Basically advertisers gamble on what kind of person is watching something or if they know who is watching they gamble on what those people like or want. People with those products or services approach the advertisers and try to fill in those slots with content that will persuade people to invest in their product or services.

You’ll hear some bollocks about how advertising is ingenious and you will go off and buy what was advertised to you more often than not. If advertising were this effective you wouldn’t see the same advertisements everywhere. They’d only need you to see it once and if they were as wise and effective as they might have you believe the ads would always reach you that one necessary time. Hulu, though not named above, is one of the worst offenders of advertising. They show you not only the same few ads but many times those same ads over, and over, and over. I’ve made a promise to myself to never purchase anything that irritates me and unfortunately Hulu has forced me to not buy a lot of things I actually thought were interesting.

Currently for YouTube and Podcasts the major offenders are NatureBox and Audible. If you’ve listened to just about any podcast anywhere you’ve heard about these two things. If you’ve watched any YouTube show worth its salt you’ve heard of these two things. You’ve probably heard or seen dozens of people express how awesome these services are a dozen or more different ways. I’ve already used one of these services (and found it too expensive) and the other I find interesting, we’ll get into why that’s a problem in a bit.

These advertisers apparently either believe that most people only watch one YouTube show or Podcast OR they think that the listeners and viewers are retarded. I say this because they have all of the people advertising their products lie and say that they have an “exclusive” offer. That same offer being offered across a hundred different sources. Indeed Audible’s offer is available on their site. This is problematic to me because I like advertisers to at least try when they are patronizing me. This kind of blatant potshot at my intellect is incredibly insulting.

What is a person to do in my situation? Let’s say I actually want to try one of those two options to support the stuff I listen to and watch. I’m hit with the paradox of choice because thirty three different people I like are all offering me the same damn deal with the same damn product! I have to choose my favorite child and that’s just totally fucked. So because of this I have not purchased the product at all. It remains unfunded by me and will likely remain unfunded because I can’t just drop in the name of every god damned person that has mentioned it.

Not only that but this inability to do so just makes the advertisements irritating for me. We already know how I handle purchases when the product or service irritates me. So what is a penguin to do?

I’ve got a couple of companies who are forcing people I like to lie and patronize me. Then I’m given no good choice which means I make no choice. That’s pretty irritating.

This problem goes further. This is what is so boned about a global market. Everything is over saturated. There are too many video games coming out, too many shows available, too much music available, too many movies, too many cars, too many cereals, too many pastas, and fuck me there are too many kinds of tape.

Tape! Do you know how long tape has been around? Over a hundred years! Why are there thirty different kinds of tape all at the same price point, with nearly the same quantities, and apparently the exact same level of quality? Why is it that I can walk into a toothpaste aisle and be bombarded with sixty different kinds of toothpaste? What bothers me about all this choice is what it necessitates.

If someone had gotten the answer correct on something like tape they’d be the kind of tape you buy. The moment they stop producing the highest quality tape possible you would stop buying it because someone would most certainly be willing to take smaller income gains to be better than you. But when there are thirty different kinds of tape after a hundred+ years of existing you start to wonder why everyone sucks at it. I’m not even talking about varieties of tape either. Duct tape, masking tape, electrical tape. I get those kinds of variation, I’m talking about basic flippin’ scotch tape.

I love data and I love variety but at a certain point you just see a broken system that is bleeding out before your eyes. Everyone is grasping at straws and its incredibly sad. Look no further than the 60-100 clones of flappy bird coming out every day to see just how bad this can become when the barrier for entry is at absolute zero. The entire business world appears to be full of people who have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I’m not saying this from some kind of throne where I have all the answers, I don’t and (as sad as it makes me to admit) I don’t own an elevated throne.

I’m saying this as an observer. Watching advertisers scratching scraps off the bottom of a dried food pan. Watching manufacturers producing ten different kinds of mouthwash per brand just in the mad hopes that they’ll skim enough people in whole to actually turn a meaningful profit. And naturally with enough money you can brute force these methods to work. This might be one of the many variables that make rich people get richer and poor people get poorer. You need an incredible amount of money to make a losing strategy a winning one.