Luminary removes proxy server, disguises app user-agent, truncates show notes, removes donation links: more publishers exit
April 26, 2019 · Updated May 5, 2019 · 3.6 minutes to read
It emerges that Luminary has, since launch on Apr 23, been running a proxy server for podcasts: breaking podcast analytics and making dynamic ad insertion difficult. Our site logs showed that they were using a service from Cloudflare. The company said in a statement yesterday that they have stopped doing this: we’ve confirmed the removal, on web, on Android, and it also looks to have been removed from iPhone. We explain what a proxy server is, and why it matters for podcasts.
We can reveal today that Luminary’s app is now disguised - as our tests show, the Android app is now calling itself “ExoPlayerAudioPlayer”, the audio library they’ve used. We’ve also tested the iOS app, which identifies itself as “AppleCoreMedia/22.214.171.124”. Requests by Luminary’s servers for the podcast RSS feed are also hidden, with no Luminary user-agent. As a result, podcast hosts cannot monitor traffic from the Luminary app (or block it).
“Since Luminary’s focus has been promoted solely as a paid subscription model, we were surprised to see them also use the free model which they have spoken negatively about and compete against. If they want to reach our audience to promote their site, then they should do the ‘unthinkable’ and advertise in our podcasts as hundreds of other advertisers do.” - Norm Pattiz, PodcastOne
Luminary is also being criticised for removing links in show notes, including the removal of donation links and truncating show notes; the company also removes all main website links for podcasts, and the company is incorrectly crediting show creators, too, using the
itunes:authordata from the RSS feed.
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More podcasts have been removed from Luminary, including iHeart Podcast Network, PodcastOne, BluBrry corporate podcasts. The Verge reports that many other smaller podcasters are removing their content. Surprisingly, the BBC are still there, given their concerns about Google. If you need it, here’s how to remove your podcast from Luminary; we’ve no plans to remove our podcast from the service, though.
We would now like to write about something else, please. OK? OK.
Podcast advertising is set to globally double in size by 2022, says WARC, an advertising website. (These figures are usually related to ad-agency sales, and doesn’t include Patreon revenue or that from live shows.)
“What we found was that a weekly publish was not the most effective or efficient strategy for the vast majority of our podcasts.” How often should you publish your podcast, and why? Steve Pratt from Pacific Content offers some data-led thoughts.
Horror writer Stephen King is to “make a rare podcast appearance” on the 25th anniversary of a TV miniseries based on The Stand.
Podcasts: what’s the point? is an event in London on May 14, focusing on brands and podcasts. It’s free, though you need to book in advance. “Drinks and canapes” are also offered.
Our version of Google Podcasts is now popping up “AI-driven” bubbles letting you search for more information mentioned in a podcast. It’s also enabled a sleep timer (we told you that was coming). We use the beta version of the “Google” app, where the Google Podcasts code actually lives - you can opt in to the beta within Google Play.
PRX writes about the podcasting scene in France. There was a fair amount of French-language reaction on Twitter yesterday to the announcement of Pippa’s purchase by Acast. The company (PRX, not Pippa) has also written about the podcast scene in India, which we believe is the fastest-growing in the world.
Oooh. Coming soon - the Melbourne Podcast Festival.
<< Acast buys Pippa; three more publishers come off Luminary
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