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The bots have come for podcasts

Online companies like iBoostReach are offering thousands of downloads for podcasters.


Peter included a link to an article I’ve written for PodPod in yesterday’s newsletter. In it I asked whether programmatic podcast advertising is easier than partnering up for more considered host-read advertising (long answer, yes with an if; short answer, no with a but). Well, something that I only briefly touched upon was the issue of rise of ad fraud in podcasting — and this article from Max Tani for Semafor has taken a good long look at just that:

“iBoostReach is part of a cottage industry that has emerged as podcasting has grown in recent years. When Semafor sent the company’s website around to a series of podcast executives, talent agents and hosts, many said that they were not surprised that this business exists, and said major podcast advertisers and audio companies have increasingly worked to spot inflated podcast numbers.”

There’s a lot more in Max’s article, but ultimately it speaks to two universal truths of digital advertising in general. The first is that humans are flighty and fickle, and these scams gain a foothold in the industry because we have been conditioned to think that ‘big number’ = ‘better’. The second is that, no matter the medium, fraud is going to be an issue when buying or selling digitally.


Generative AI at the BBC

Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC’s Director of Nations, sets out the latest on our plans

Hey look, something relevant to our latest episode! In this week’s podcast Esther, Jacqui Merrington and I asked whether media organisations would need to start signposting their positions on AI. That encompasses everything from their use of it, their position on crawlers being used to train models on their data, etc. etc. Well, lo and behold, the BBC has just issued a statement setting out its roadmap to what it sees as ethical and effective uses of AI.


A local news funder talks candidly about national and local funding

Molly de Aguiar on a key goal of plans like Press Forward

A while ago we pitched a way to help secure philanthropic funding for news outlets: celebrity-editor speed dating. Our thinking was, get rich celebrities who want to give back round tables with editors and just watch those sparks fly. Simple. Well, actually, not so simple, as it turns out. This interview with Molly de Aguiar highlights some of the issues with attracting funding for local news.


Online advertising emits more greenhouse gases than you think

Advertisers and publishers are under pressure to curb their data center emissions, but may be stuck falling back on offsets.

Something in here for publishers to mull over. While many outlets tout their green credentials, the advertising on which they are sustained is generally quite bad for the environment. There are solutions out there, as there are for all businesses, like carbon offsetting and commitments to PMPs where the actual amount of greenhouse gas emissions can be tracked — but it will become more important for publishers to highlight what they’re doing in this area.

More from Media Voices


Jacqui Merrington on why she’s optimistic about AI and journalism

Jacqui Merrington discusses how newsrooms can go about implementing AI sustainably, and what best (and worst) practice looks like in 2023.


Mx3 and Media Voices join forces to launch new AI event for publishers

Media Makers Meet (Mx3) and Media Voices are collaborating on a new event focused on developments and opportunities in AI for publishers and media leaders.


Why we’ve launched a media community forum

We’re excited to introduce the Media Voices community: a place for professionals in media and publishing to come together.

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