Netcasting? It sure took everyone long enough to figure out that podcasting wasn’t really a good name. Three freaking years after the fact of calling it podcasting in the first place. There were many compelling reason to call it that. To call it podcasting the first place. First was the amazing success of the iPod at the time. Even back in then it held a remarkable lead in the marketing place. Nothing got close to the numbers of iPod. So it just made extremely good sense (at the time) to call podcasting podcasting. After all, we’d already gone through all kinds of names to describe streaming video and audio. In some cases calling it netcasting. Look at Live365 for examples of that.

Podcasting was named correctly. It meant something that wasn’t streaming. Something much more cool. It meant getting a show “automatically” to your iPod. Not to your MP3 player. Because that was a moving target. There were 100’s of different models. And some of them where open. Some needed special software to download. Not every one was compatible with a Mac and and Windows. Your iPod on the other had contained an XML based file structure allowing for playlist creation. It didn’t take the bright boys very long to figure out how to hack this to get their content there. And iPoddder (the stupidest name ever) was born.

I understand the ideal of wanting to have a “community owned name” for what podcasting has become. Leo assumes that people with other MP3 players don’t listen to podcasts because they think they are incompatible with the feed. And you know what? I don’t care that I’m not reaching that person for a couple of reasons: 1) they bought something else because they thought an iPod was too expensive. Is that person going to fork over $30 for software that watches RSS feeds and downloads MP3 files? I don’t think so. 2) I went to a party on Saturday where 100% of the people there who had MP3 players had brought their iPod. Meaning the people cared enough to bring their music to a party. And once there the command was “play the playlist called Kelly” without an explanation of how to make that playlist play. 3) If you think the iPod numbers are scary today wait until next year. Apple is selling iPods at the rate of 15 million per quarter now. That means in the next 12 months they will sell as many iPods in a year as it took them to do in the first 5.

The roots of podcasting are not within Apple. The word was not invented there. And it’s taken them this long to start complaining about it. I agree that companies should not be allowed to blatantly use of the word iPod in their name. Trademark law prevents that anyway. This is clearly defined in US law about how TM’d names can be used within advertising, naming, and product tagging. But there wasn’t a single person complaining about the term podcast until Apple started sending nastygrams to people that had the word “pod” as part of the name of their company. In their company. This is a hugely different from somebody or some company making a podcast. Why? You don’t have to use the word podcast in your show name, mention the word on the show or otherwise make mention of the word and you still get to be listed in the iTunes Store. While there is HUGE advantage to using the name Pod or iPod in your company name.

To be sure there is no confusion I do not want to call podcasting BROADCASTING. If that ever happens the FCC and the ratings babies will start dictating what I can and cannot say on a show. My audience will determine if they will allow the show to swear like a sailor but likely will not if its aimed at the impressionable yoots. The self editing nature of podcasts exhibits that people will do what their show needs without a governing standards body. If it offends you then go away. Don’t listen.

This kneejerk reaction that Leo has started somehow paints Apple to be something like the RIAA. Apple is not the RIAA. They’ve done incredible things for us. Apple has not asked for money to be listed in iTunes. All you needed as a valid feed and it is free. The RIAA by comparison is suing the fans of music. Taking untold thousands of dollars from people for no reason. Apple’s reason is dictated by US Trademark laws.

If we (the community) had called it iPodcasting then of course the name would be in question. But it seems that “pod” is now part of the problem. This can only mean that there are other kinds of “pod” products in our future. tvPod, carPod, talkPod. And if that is the case then BY HOOK OR CROOK the word podcasting is something I very much want to use!

With that in mind, if the word podcasting seems to be ambiguous for it’s future use then a few of us should ASK Apple right now how they want to use the word. Just to be clear, remember, it’s not their word to dictate. They did not coin the term. Once we do that then we can talk about renaming podcasting to possumflipping or whatever other word we want to use to mean RSS to Download to a Device.

Without Apple behind this new industry we call podcasting we wouldn’t see cool products like the Samson USB condenser microphones, Edioral portable recorders, Levelator and the hundreds of other amazing audio production products. They’ve versioned tools like GarageBand and SoundTrack Pro to help with podcast creation. They are using the word “podcasts” in the Mac Book description of what it can do.

To wrap this up. I think that calling podcasting something other then podcasting is industrial suicide. It will splinter our efforts with half calling it podcasting and the other half callling it possumflipping. The snowball called buzz is carrying this now. And it may already be too late to rename it.