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What is a podcast promoter?

I’ve been getting a lot of connection requests and linkedin messages from “podcast promoters”. They all say basically the same thing…

They can get my podcast to rank in iTunes

Here is an example message but if you have seen one you’ve seen them all because they all have the same script.

Hello Sir, how are you ?

I am professional iTunes podcast promoter. Do you want promote your podcast? if you give me a chance, definitely I will make you a great podcaster in the world. If you want more information pls contact me. Thanks

And here is my response to the their message.

No thanks…

I don’t believe in using podcast promotion to game directory listings like iTunes. The only promotion that works, in the long run, is to focus on producing the best possible content and to engage with your audience. 

iTunes, in particular, is banning shows that use promotional strategies to try and game their ranking algorithm.

This includes keyword stuffing the title and author tags, having fake plays/downloads to make it appear more people are listening than actually are and having people rate and review a podcast who are not actually listeners of the show.

Any of these activities can destroy all the hard work that a podcast host puts into their show because they will eventually get caught.

What methods do you use though? Do you do any dishonest tactics like keyword stuffing, fake downloads or fake reviews?

If you are doing honest podcast promotion then I’d be interested in hearing about your business. So far it appears that all the ‘podcast promoters’ on LinkedIn that have contacted me, are only helping their clients to violate Apple and Google terms of service which will result in getting their shows de-listed.

And how many have responded to explain that they are above board and are offering a legitimate service for podcasters. ZERO.

How to game the iTunes podcast charts?

In episode 27 of the Darknet Diaries podcast, the Jack Rhysider investigates these LinkedIn podcast promoters.

Jack discovered that they are almost all from Bangladesh and they seem to have learned how to game the iTunes charts from the same person. Apparently, it doesn’t take much to get to the top of the charts. Only 50 to 60 new subscriptions per day and you start to move up significantly.

Fiverr is actively banning accounts that offer this service because it is a violation of iTunes and Fiverr terms of service.

It looks like these iTunes promoters are only subscribing to podcasts. They have thousands of Apple ID’s and they subscribe to your show with about 50 of them per day. They don’t do ratings or reviews. They don’t keyword stuff your title or author fields. All they do is subscribe and sometimes download episodes.

According to Rob Walsh, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, the only benefit to ratings and reviews is being listed in the What’s Hot section of Apple Podcasts. 

Podnews reports that there is a US Company charging $15000 for a top ten position in iTunes. And that industry experts do not believe that a chart position necessarily reflects audience size.

The Apple Podcast Charts are, most experts agree, put together based on the total amount of new subscribers in the last seven days. Most suggest that the figures are weighted so that recent subscribers are more valuable for a chart placing, and all agree that the main chart is nothing to do with downloads.


Podcasts that have been keyword stuffing having have been de-listed from iTunes. 

Apple has been actively trying to make their directory cleaner by eliminating keyword spam but according to Jack, haven’t addressed this issue yet.

Rhysider doesn’t believe that Apple should ban podcasts that use these services because then competitive podcasters could pay for other podcasts in their niche to be promoted and get them banned. Instead, he is advocating for a change in the algorithm that discounts this activity from affecting the charts.

In the latest episode of Word From Mouth, Jack Rhysider is interviewed about his Chartbreakers episode. 

I don’t think there is any value in using a “Podcast Promoter” for your podcast marketing. Sure you will get ranked in Apple Podcasts for a day or two but will probably not increase your audience size as a result. And with Apple cracking down on this type of activity it is probably not worth the risk.

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Andrew McGivern
Andrew McGivern

Andrew McGivern is a podcaster, blogger and mobile tech guy. Father of three awesome little ones. Interested in Social Media Marketing, New Media and Podcasting, Technology, Natural Health and Green Energy.

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