Swapping Directions

I am strongly considering swapping the roles of Bittorrent and the direct MP3 downloads in my RSS feeds. Currently, the MP3 downloads are the enclosures in my main feed and you need a special feed for the Bittorrent enclosures. I’m thinking about switching that, so that the main feed has the Bittorrent enclosures. If that doesn’t work for you, then you’d need to switch over to the special MP3 download feed.

Right now, the vast majority of podcatching clients that are downloading the MP3s could in fact be using Bittorrent. They are BT enabled iPodder variants. The only reason most people are subscribed to the main feed is because that is the first one I publicized and the one that ended up in the directories. In fact, if (when) I do this switch I think many many people will just end up getting the files and not even know anything has happened. If 80% of the people downloading the MP3s were using Bittorrent, there would be an incredible overlap and lots of concurrent peers in that period right after I publish. I think it would work very very well.

I’m looking for feedback on this. Does anyone have a big problem with this? The worst case is that you have to unsubscribe from one URL and resubscribe to a different one. If I do this, the last thing I podcast before switching will be a short announcement saying what is happening that will be a direct MP3 download. I want to avoid breaking subscribers feeds such that they just stop getting it and never know why. Talk to me, friends. What do you think about this?

14 Replies to “Swapping Directions”

  1. Hello Dave,

    well, the new version of iPodderX, which should be capable of BT, is still not public, so I would change back to the MP3 feed, at least for the moment, but besides that, I strongly support your move.
    At the moment, I let iPodderX download your feed and put it in iTunes, and, right when I see it, I start my Bittorrent-client and seed it. Yes, stupid way to do it, but I’d like to have your show right on my iPod in the morning, so I still depend on an aggregator.

  2. I normally grab the MP3 but if you would wait until more clients included torrent support I think it would be fine – or at least the major ones.

    Whatever makes life easier for you – it’s your podcast. Pity there isn’t a centralised way for podcasters to upload their podcasts and have a really big server on a really big pipe serve them from a central location, if the clients are all downloading ‘overnight’ there should be hundreds of peers available. It would also make it easier for other people to provide torrents where currently it might just be too messy.

  3. Do it. I see no reason why not to. The people using the feed will soon realize that its not working. Maybe mention it on your next podcast to let the people know.

    Regards
    Ray Booysen

  4. While I’m all for the idea of smarter tech, and thus bittorrent action, I use Doppler on Windows which doesn’t have torrent support finished. So my personal vote is for don’t switch 🙂

    Now, big picture wise, if you decide to, make a short announcement both on the site and in the last podcast pre-switch. People like Ray may find out that something is wrong but people like me don’t actually watch their client do its thing and will simply not take action until they notice… days or weeks later.

    So, in conclusion. Don’t just pull the plug.
    Longtime listener, first time caller,
    Jon Abad

  5. I usually listen on Windows and I use Doppler and Azureus automatically picks it up and downloads the torrent file.

    I think you should do it because more clients do have torrent support and there others are following. One thing, programmers will get that feature out faster is more sites are using it…more demand for it will be there.

    If someone really enjoys your cast isn’t getting the file, they will investigate because they will miss it, bottom line.

  6. I think you should do it.

    Unfortunately – I worry that you, Doug Kaye, and the other most popular podcasters do move to BT – it could hurt Podcasting unless there are plenty of clients that support BT seamlessly and easily. I haven’t seen that yet (if anyone has suggestions please speak up). I think this because the techie people know about podcasting and a lot of people are taking advantage of it and enjoying it. But in order for people to make money on it, or for podcasting to go main stream – non techies have to be able to be a part of it too.

  7. Changing over puts pressure on those client development teams to start supporting it, if they dont already. Its the good way to go, as switching to bittorrent could certainly ease a bit of the download burdon. What I do wonder though, is if these client apps ‘hold on to’ the downloaded file? If they did in some way, they could be used far more effectivly, making it more like classic bittorrent, with all the advantages of it. Might give file-lock problems though.

  8. go for it dave…

    the single threaded mp3 approach just will not scale like the p2p/bt method…

    however, you definately should podcast about the experience so the others considering the same can benefit from your @scale bt test…

    and then wish the “don’t podcast about podcasting” nay-sayers to the corn field 😉

  9. …says I. After all, you’re not even removing the direct MP3 feed…you’re just making it non-default. Yeah, I know that makes it something that people have to actually think about a bit if their client doesn’t support BT. It’s always a balance between bread-dead ease of use and elegant tech/scalability. In this case, I think it’s better to go ahead and switch over BEFORE you’re in total scalability crisis; gives people time to figure out either a) what to do to get the direct feed, b) how to move to a BT aware client, or c) how to code up a BT-aware client.

  10. Thanks for the good feedback all (and thank you for not antagonizing and insulting me, like today’s other big comment thread.) For the couple of you a little worried, Ken has it right. I’m not dropping the MP3 feed in any way, I’m just changing the default.

    I believe what I will do is to create two files, one MP3 and one BT, and make them always the first two things in the feed. The BT will say “The BT worked, way to go.” The MP3 will say “If you got this, but not the Bittorrent, then you need to go back to the main page and resubscribe to the MP3 only feed.” Would that address the concerns for those of you who had reservations?

    A side benefit of this is that I’ll use that MP3 for my introduction/disclaimer that I had already been thinking about. “Warning: contains strong language, progressive politics, possible blasphemy and/or heresy, etc etc” Does that all make sense?

  11. I also use Doppler (lots less buggy and more options than Ipodder). BT makes sense, but doesn’t really work well with Doppler (yet). When I download a feed, it stops and Bit Tornado, my client, comes up and wants to know where to put the file. I’m trying my first one right now (Hardcore Insomnia). I don’t know if it will port automatically. If it doesn’t, sorry, I won’t be listening anymore, or at least as much. Too much hassle. I have 20 feeds I subscribe to. I say stick with mp3 until the developers get it together, or do both.

  12. I also use Doppler (lots less buggy and more options than Ipodder). BT makes sense, but doesn’t really work well with Doppler (yet). When I download a feed, it stops and Bit Tornado, my client, comes up and wants to know where to put the file. I’m trying my first one right now (Hardcore Insomnia). I don’t know if it will port automatically. If it doesn’t, sorry, I won’t be listening anymore, or at least as much. Too much hassle. I have 20 feeds I subscribe to. I say stick with mp3 until the developers get it together, or do both.

  13. Jeff, I’ve still got the feed via direct MP3 downloads for those that can’t use the Bittorrent. It’s just not the default anymore. Why not just subscribe to that one if you need it?

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