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February 07, 2005


Marc James

Podcasting isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so you better get used to the name. I agree it provokes confusion to outsiders, but with iPods dominating the MP3 player market (and for good reason), I don't think many will be offended.


I think we can change the name and the name should change i think it is possible to give it an apt name, there are many good mp3 players out there in some peoples opinion better than the ipod that comes down to personal preference alone so please lets not argue over that, however we do agree that we can listen to "podcasts" for want of a better word on other mp3 players etc, why just the other day i forwarded someone to my site and even though i fell i have to put in bold letters on the top of my page YOU DO NOT NEED AN IPOD she still said i dont have one, now i have it on even larger bigger forn and a link to that fantastic video, if we want to make podcasting more accesable we have to stop confusing the public and create a more apt global label for this fruitfull medium.

Robert Andrews

I've hit on a podcast of a different kind.

The only portable music device I own is the CD-radio in my car, because that's how I commute to work.

Last night, I burned a bunch of audio files from ITConversations and, this morning, was listening to your PopTech! panel on my way in :)

Don Siegel

Whatever you do, don't fall asleep next to your iPod!


I can xerox something on a Canon copier and then scotch tape it to my wall, or maybe just copy the important parts down on one of the post-it notes I keep next to the box of kleenex.

Sometimes the word becomes bigger than the product. Podcasting stuck because it sounds like "broadcasting", and people know what that is.

Offer a better label, and then drive it home with superior product/service. Before people googled for things on the net, nobody was "yahooing" them.



Disliking the term "podcasting" without having a better alternative is the very essence of uselessness. You don't like the term but if you don't have a better one that is admission that the term isn't that bad. Float your superior alternative and if I and everyone like it better we will use yours instead. Doing anything else is shouting at the tide as it rises.

Which would you rather have - a sexy term that is not 100% accurate or a boring clunky term that is perfectly accurate? I find it is easier to educate someone that has interest from the sexy term rather than trying to get create interest despite the boring term.



I've loved the name "podCasting" from the start and agree with Duane that it works just like xerox and kleenex. The fact that it incorporates iPod probably helps more then hurts. Certainly not something to lose sleep over :-)
Great post Duane!

K.G. Schneider

Dan, what a great video.

I concur with the naming issue; I listen to podcasts on my Treo 650, via Realplayer. On Free Range Librarian, I've suggested the phrase "folk radio." I doubt it will catch on, but it is more accurate.


A commenter on the video site (Duane) suggested keeping the name but coming up with an acronym for it...sounded like a great idea. Dan, you're a creative word person...start it off, get a list going. Can't wait to see the possibilities :-)


The difference between the using "podcasting" as a generic term for an mp3 broadcast and using Xerox to represent photo copying is that one is misuse of a registered trademark and teh other is an invented word to describe what is going on. I may not like the word podcasting, but there I don't see how you can associate podcasting with Xerox or Kleenex. It may have it's root in the iPod, and iPod may be the most recognizable name out there in the segement at the moment but it doesn't mean there has to be an association. I for one listen to podcasts on my Creative Zen Micro, and whenever anyone comes up and asks me if that's an iPod I take the time to educate them, but that's about it.

The thing I haven't quite been able to figure out is why companies get bent out of shape when their product becomes so universal that everyone uses their product name to describe other company's products. Just a few months back TiVo released guidlines as to how the term TiVo should be used, and saying I Tivo'd the Super Bowl this weekend is a misuse of their trademark. I think they'd rather have the name out there, but that's me.

Lisa Williams

I think a few commenters are being a little harsh with Dan over the naming issue. The exact same discussion is happening over in the comment threads on the post for the Four Minutes About Podcasting movie.

I agree with Duane that the success of the iPod has caused the word and related formulations to pass into popular parlance as a term for the general phenomenon. (If memory serves, there was actually a court case about the word "waterbed" or something similar; the company lost. Xerox and Kleenex, similarly, were company names and trademarks before they became widely used terms).

One of the things I've noted as a response to the movie is that a lot of general hostility towards the iPod -- built up via the high price, DRM, and battery fiasco -- has spilled over onto iPodder and things about iPodder, like my movie.

I agree with Marc, though: the name is here to stay. For many years I was a technology analyst, so I spent all day having people come visit me and demo their software (sweet gig!). Whenever anything became really popular, there was *always* a discussion about how the name wasn't descriptive, was tied to a particular vendor, whatever.

By then it was too late -- I never saw a name change after that.

The good news? Every technology that got to the point of having widespread arguments over the utility of the name became HUGE.

Steve Sergeant

I don't mind the term "PODcasting", even though I do own an iPod. I explain it to people that PODcasting stands for "Play On Demand -casting".


& why confine your defn to mp3s ? (the insidious proprietary format). what about ogg?

Dan Gillmor

mackinaw, fair comment. I'm a fan of the Ogg format, too.

Kevin McCarthy

Dr. Miles J. Binnell: They're here already! You're next! You're next, You're next...

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