Archives for April 2006

The Future of Communication

By Alex Mandossian

In the information world, the technology that wins in the consumer market is always the one that is the most user-friendly.  The audio tape took the place of the eight track tape.  It was a lot less bulky. 

Then the CD made the audio cassette obsolete.  CDs are sleeker, lighter, more flexible, and cheaper to produce.  You can take CDs with you everywhere and play them in CD players at home or in the car and on laptops. 

Encyclopedia Britannica′s 32 volume set of books became obsolete when Encarta came out with a CD that did almost the same thing and at a fraction of the cost. 

The DVD made the CD more powerful because it added the visual component.   

The next phase is the elimination of the physical product – the CD – altogether.  Now we can just download information from the Internet onto a hard drive on our computer or media player and take it with us.

I believe that podcasting will eventually make the DVD and the CD obsolete.  People would rather walk around with one video or audio media player than carry a dozen or more CDs.

How the Video iPod Increases the Monetization of Podcasts

By Alex Mandossian 

Podcasting is another time-shifted form of communication. Like cassette tapes and CDs, it is a vehicle for providing content.  However, podcasting is cheaper, faster, and far more convenient and efficient. 

The Video iPod just released by Apple is the newest kid on the block. 

Almost everyone is podcasting for free these days.  So in the information marketing world, the main question is, “How can I monetize a podcast?” 

I have found that profiting with a podcast is possible, and I am doing it today by delivering my content to my market through a podcast. 

If you think of podcasting as just another way to get your content to your customers, then you realize that the monetizable part isn′t the podcast but the content in the podcast itself.

Information products have been sold for decades through Nightingale-Conant and on websites like www.BrianTracy.com, www.AlexMandossian.com, and others.  So the concept of selling information is not new.

Ease of Use

By Alex Mandossian

To give you an idea of just how easy Yahoo! Podcasts is to use, I′ll tell you about my biggest download day yet.

I have an email list of people I notify every time a new Big Seminar Live podcast is available. Only one-third of the people on the list are actually subscribers to the podcast.

I believe the reason for this is because up until now, subscribing has been a complex process that requires several steps. Most people′s eyes glaze over when they hear about podcatchers and cutting and pasting RSS feeds.

I sent out an email to this list letting them know that the Big Seminar Live podcast was now available at www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com and you know what happened? All of a sudden, we had a lot of MP3 downloads and a few more subscribers.

The reason for this great response is because Yahoo! Podcasts′ web-based interface makes it so easy.

The Bottom Line is The Bottom Line

It′s all about consumption and usability. If your market can′t easily use what you are offering, they′re not going to buy it.

ITunes has a great podcast directory, and it is easy to use. But if you get a song or a podcast from iTunes, then you have to use iTunes to listen to it. It′s a closed system.

Yahoo! Podcasts seems to be just as easy to use, but it′s an open system that allows you to listen to it just about anywhere, with no special software or equipment. This really gives them the edge in usability.

I think there′s an opportunity here for a third party to put together both of these great concepts: the great directory of iTunes with the online usability of Yahoo! Podcasts.

Will Microsoft do it or will Real Player? I don′t know. But I think there is a market just waiting for the right solution to fill this need for a functional and useable way to listen and subscribe to podcasts.

We are still in the early beginnings for podcasting, especially from the business perspective of monetizing the medium. I believe that both Yahoo! and Apple are missing this point of view right now. They are more interested in entertainment than in monetization.

I think the creation of www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com as a sub domain of Yahoo.com is brilliant. I don′t understand why Apple hasn′t done the same thing. We′re going to see Yahoo! do a lot with Yahoo! Podcasts while it′s still in the beta stage.

Is Yahoo! Podcasts the death knell of iTunes? We′ll have to wait and see.

Monetization of Yahoo! Podcasts

By Alex Mandossian

For information marketers, the real benefit is in monetizing the podcast. I don′t believe that is what Apple is trying to do with iTunes or what Yahoo! is trying to do with Yahoo! Podcasts.  I think their aim is to dominate the entertainment industry.

They′re not monetizing podcasts at 99 cents a song and $5 per month respectively.  My idea of monetizing is delivering an information product for $900 or $1800 using the fast, convenient, and usable delivery system of a podcast.

Since usability is a key in being able to monetize podcasting, I think Yahoo! Podcasts could become the provider of choice for information marketers.

Their service isn′t locked into just one player and software, and it doesn′t even require downloading their software in order to use it.

Also the site is extremely easy to use.  They have integrated the use of little icons on their site so that clicking one button will allow you to listen or download or even subscribe.

The icons are brilliant!  There′s a little horn next to the word “listen” and a green plus sign next to the word “subscribe.”  When I click “Listen,” I see easily recognizable icons for play, fast forward, rewind, and volume.  This is very easy to use, plus I can use this anywhere in the world.

Usability of Yahoo! Podcasts

By Alex Mandossian

What does Yahoo! Podcasts mean to information marketers?  The answer is usability, the ability to use something very easily.

People and companies invest a lot of money on researching usability because if a product isn′t easy to use, it won′t be consumed.  And if it isn′t used, no one will buy it. 

I believe that usability is what is going to move Yahoo! Podcasts ahead of iTunes.

Yahoo! has bridged a huge gap in usability by offering an offline and online application.  Both iTunes and Yahoo! Podcasts are easy to use. But only Yahoo! lets me listen to podcasts online and on any number of different media players. 

Because of Apple′s closed source software, movies, music, and podcasts downloaded through iTunes can only be enjoyed using an iTunes player such as an iPod or the iTunes software on your computer.  That means that if I download a song or podcast from iTunes, I can only listen to it on my iPod or by using iTunes on my computer.  Windows Media Player can′t play it, and my Zen media player can′t play it.

However, with Yahoo! Podcasts, I can listen to a podcast just by going to www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com and clicking the listen button.  Or I can download it to my portable MP3 player and listen to it there.  You can even use a high-speed cellular phone to download podcasts directly to your phone from Yahoo! Podcasts.  How cool is that?

Is Yahoo! Podcasts the iTunes Killer?

By Alex Mandossian

Yahoo! made a big announcement recently about its beta release of Yahoo! Podcasts at www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com

As an information marketer, my main interest in podcasting has been on monetization and usability.  My goal is to use podcasts to communicate quickly and better with my mentors and students.

Currently, the podcast marketing giant is iTunes because of its ease of use, great media players, and huge podcast directory.  More people own iPods than any other brand of media players, and there′s a very good reason for that. 

Apple is a consumer products company.  They make beautiful media players and put them in beautiful packaging.  ITunes is very easy to use, and you can easily find and download music and podcasts from their directory. 

Yahoo! also has a music store, www.Music.Yahoo.com, known to most people as Yahoo! Music, and now they have a podcast service as well – www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com.  However, there are big differences in the way iTunes and Yahoo! Music delivers their content. 

With iTunes, you can download music for 99 cents a song, and you own the song.  However, music downloaded from iTunes can only be listened to using iTunes software, and the iTunes software must be on your computer or in your iPod media player.

Yahoo! Music is web-based; you don′t have to have Yahoo!′s software on your computer to be able to listen to a song or a podcast.  You can listen to it online or simply download it.

Yahoo! offers an unlimited music package for $5 a month.  Essentially, you are renting the music rather than owning it.  But for only $5 a month, you can listen to as much music as you want and download it to your computer or media player.

Car Integration vs. Phone Podcasting

By Alex Mandossian

Right now, people can plug a FM broadcaster into their car, attach their media player, and listen on their FM stereo.  With car integration, that′s history. Thirty percent of all cars in 2006 are going to be integrated with some sort of iPod connection. Imagine what is going to happen the year after that.

Ninety-seven million Americans drive to work alone every single morning, and many of them are looking for hard content rather than songs or soft content to listen to.  We have players now that make it easy to listen and a directory that makes it possible, a commerce system that enables it, and some beautiful players that make it fun.

Car integration provides a great market for hard content information providers.  But I believe that the iPod phone is probably even more valuable to information marketers than the iPod dock in automobiles because people carry their phones with them everywhere.  They park their cars in the garage.

Phones are the marketing channel you want to own if you′re going to sell current, live information because they allow for this kind of communication and information sharing.   

When people are driving their cars, they have a lot of down time for listening, but it′s usually not live information.  They are listening to information that has already been recorded and downloaded to a player.  With an iPod phone, they can listen to a live podcast that provides hard content such as information and training.

This is the market I want to dominate.  I want to sell the content and give away the players to bring people into the world of content.  With all these great avenues opening up for podcasting, suddenly the world of podcasting becomes a lot more attractive to consumers.

“Ask the E-Bay Queen”

Lynn Dralle
Lynn Dralle

Listen to Virtual Book Tour…

Lynn Dralle is a third-generation antiques dealer and an eBay PowerSeller who has sold up to $20,000 a month through online auctions. An award-winning author who has lectured around the country on how to buy and sell on eBay, she has appeared on national television and is the author of The 100 Best Things
I’ve Sold on eBay, the first book in this series, as well as iBuy
and iSell, auction-tracking notebook systems carried by eBay in their online store.

During this 1-hour Virtual Book Tour, Lynn reveals the story behind her book, The 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on EBay. The books promise is: My story – by the Queen of Auctions.

Click here to add this book to your library.

“Spirit-Centered Relationships”

Gay Hendricks
Dr. Gay Hendricks

Listen to Virtual Book Tour…

   
Gay Hendricks has become one one of the most popular writers and speakers of our time. His books, seminars and web courses have helped hundreds of thousands of people profoundly change the quality of their lives.

During this 1-hour Virtual Book Tour, Gay reveal the story behind his book, Spirit-Centered Relationships. The book’s promise is: “Experiencing Greater Love and Harmony Through the Power of Presencing”.

Click here to add this book to your library.

Revolutionizing the Marketplace

By Alex Mandossian

Most people don′t want to buy and carry around multiple electronic devices, but most Americans today already have a cell phone.  Now Apple has come out with the iPod phone.   

Although not everyone is going to buy the iPod phone in the next two months, I think that in the next year every phone is going to have some sort of MP3 capability on it, and Apple is going to lead the way.  With a podcast directory of 15,000 podcasts, and sales of 1.8 million songs per day, it′s going to be hard for people not to pick up the iPod phone.

The iPod Nano has added some new features including integration with most of the popular programs including Outlook.  This means that the same group who says, “I don′t want to carry another device,” can use a Nano in place of their PDA.  For those people who don′t want to buy another device, the Nano offers the features of a PDA and an MP3 player.

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