Prof G podcast interview with Neeva founder Sridhar Ramaswamy

Neeva home page June 2021

In a recent episode of The Prof G Show, Scott Galloway interviews Sridhar Ramaswamy, the CEO and cofounder of Neeva, an all-new, subscription-based search engine that aims to be a competitor to Google for search.

Taking on Google seems like a gargantuan task, but Ramaswamy makes a compelling case for Neeva in this interview. It helps of course that Galloway is a fan of the concept and the company as he’s said many times on his show and also on Pivot. But Galloway is a good interviewer and he does a nice job in this episode of asking the tough questions.

Ramaswamy explains how Neeva will be an ad-free, private search engine, differentiating itself in the search market from Google which has become a slave to ad revenue, thus diluting the quality if the search results and user experience. Neeva will be subscription based, and thus obsessively focused on the needs of the consumer according to Ramaswamy. He should know as he spent fifteen and a half years at Google, and many members of his team at Neeva are Google alumni. By not being a slave to ads, Neeva can avoid tracking every consumer action, and instead just focus on data that improves the search results.

It has been reported that Neeva will charge between $5 and $10 per month for the service.

Take a listen to the podcast episode. Ramaswamy comes across as a formidable leader who can make this work.

  

Strange happenings at podcast company Himalaya

podcast microphone

The podcast industry reminds us of the Web 1.0 world of 20 years ago. Its like the wild west as a completely new industry gets off the ground. New companies sprout up every day. Some solve problems facing the industry, while others try to ride the hype wave and cash in.

As you might expect, there are plenty of crazy stories out there, but this latest one from The Verge is fascinating and hilarious. It’s titled “The Podcasting Hype House from Hell” and features the podcasting company Himalaya and details “how China’s biggest audio platform funded one man’s frat boy dreams.”

Basically, they had a production studio in a mansion in LA, and then things spun out of control. It’s a great read . . . check it out.

  

Joe Rogan podcast will move to Spotify exclusively

Spotify announced that week that Joe Rogan’s huge podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, will to Spotify-and only be available as a Spotify exclusive. This continues Spotify’s aggressive push into the podcast space, following blockbuster acquisitions of The Ringer and Gimlet.

This has helped Spotify surge into the most important player in the podcast space outside of Apple. And you have to give them credit for their choice of acquisitions. The Ringer and Gimlet have proven to be excellent podcast producers, so they’re buying talent that can develop shows and drive new content for Spotify.

With Rogan, Spotify grabs one of the top podcasts with 90 million downloads per month, and the exclusive nature of the deal will drive more downloads of the Spotify app. Spotify can sell ads on the show for users who down’t buy a subscription, but then can drive more subscribers by offering the show ad-free to subscribers. Frankly it’s a brilliant play and is money well spent.

Meanwhile, this deal is a huge blow to Libsyn, which will host the Joe Rogan podcast until September. Libsyn has been a hosting leader in the podcasting space, but now has many competitors and has lost their main source of downloads and prestige.

  

SEO tips for podcasters

macbook computer

Discoverability remains a challenge in the podcasting industry. Apps are generally getting better, but it’s still very difficult for new podcasts to be noticed.

As a result, SEO can be a very important tool to help listeners discover your podcast. But SEO also presents a challenge, so you have to utilize best practices when posting your podcast and podcast episodes. Here are a few tips:

Create show notes with a descriptive episode title

Too many podcasters pay little attention to the show notes. Other get way to clever and creative with episode titles.

Think about what someone would use to search a podcast with the topic of your episode, and then make sure those key words are in the episode title. A clever title can be fun, but without descriptive key words you’ve made it very difficult for anyone to find the episode with a search.

Also, you’re helping listeners who find your podcast pick an episode they would find most interesting. Remember, podcasting is essentially on demand audio. Tell everyone what the episode is about, and then make sure to get to that topic quickly in the episode, or at least make it clear in your show notes the minute mark where you start discussing the topic.

This is where show notes can be critical. Show notes can enhance the podcast experience by providing useful references and links for someone who want to know more about the topic. It can also be a guide to all topics addressed in an episode. Remember, let listeners know what they can expect to hear in an episode.

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Will advertising rates crumble in podcasting?

microphone for podcasting

Those of us who remember the Web 1.0 world also remember when you could get decent CPM rates for banner ads. Yes, that seems like a lifetime ago, but prior to the Great Recession and the introduction of the iPhone and social media, website owners and bloggers could make decent money on internet advertising.

Tom Webster poses the question as to whether the same thing can happen in the podcasting business:

Great content is expensive to produce, and great advertising native to that content’s form and delivery is well worth a premium. But if several large players in the space start taking poorly executed, irrelevant ads at ultra-low (for podcasting) CPMs, that’s going to have repercussions on the economic feasibility of great audio content.

And that, my friends, is what worries me the most.

Ad delivery technology is progressing rapidly in podcasting, with companies like Megaphone leading the way with dynamic ad insertion and programmatic ads that make it easy to pump ads through tons of podcast episodes. Over time, ad rates for these ads will come down, and then we’ll see if podcasters can still command premium CPMs for host-read ads. So far, the intimacy of podcasting and listener loyalty to hosts has led to excellent performance for these ads. Time will tell . . .

  

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