A Major Course Correction for CraftyPod 2.0

07 Dec 2011

Course Correction

Image by ~Shanth, via Flickr

Oh, my friends. It's never easy, trying new business ideas on the internet. But it's always educational!

We're a little more than a month into my six-month Podcast 2.0 experiment, and already I'm hitting roadblocks and looking for ways to flow around them. I'd like to involve you in these decisions, since without you, there'd be no show. I always respect your thoughtful opinions and ideas.

So, how are sales going?

Well, the numbers are already sobering. According to my iAmplify stats:

Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 10.12.43 AM

iAmplify keeps a healthy portion of my sales (in exchange for giving you all easy access to syncing the shows with your iTunes account), so I have earned, in total (drumroll, please)…

About sixty dollars.

…That's $60.00 payment for producing five shows so far, with each one taking about 10 hours to create. I'm not even gonna do the math on what my hourly wage is at this point!

OK, so, I'm not freaking out yet, but it IS clear that a major course correction is needed.

Why are people not buying the downloads?

I see several of reasons, really:

• I've already heard resistance from many of you about how inconvenient it feels to have to create an account on iAmplify to complete your purchase. People keep asking me for two things: easy iTunes access or an option to pay with PayPal.

Well, iAmplify gives you easy iTunes access from a convenient library page (see above). Apple, unfortunately, refuses to allow audio podcsters to sell their shows directly through iTunes. You have to go through a third-party service like iAmplify.

Unfortunately, iAmplify won't take PayPal as a payment method (I asked). I'm considering offering the shows for sale on my own online store as well, so people can use PayPal. But unfortunately, I can't offer you the easy sync with iTunes.

(Interestingly, you have to create an account during your first purchase with any website, PayPal and iTunes included. But since we use these accounts so often, I think we forget this and it feels easier.)

this_way? dilemma?

Image by the_moment, via Flickr

• Secondly, there really is a "mental transaction cost" to buying even a very inexpensive thing online. (That's Nick Szabo's concept, not mine.) I think a lot of you are weighing the value of 99 cents against the value of your time to complete the transaction. And this weighing more often than not seems to be resulting in "I'll just buy that later."

(What's really interesting is that traffic on the 126 free shows in my archive has actually increased during this period. What seems to me to be a tiny price is really just making people flow to the Free.)

Cat Sat on Computer
Image by dougwoods, via Flickr

• Not only that, I've been researching online consumer behavior and learning some important things. I think Clay Shirky is mind-blowingly perceptive in saying that none of us are really "consumers" on the web. We're users – and publishers. When we find a good piece of content, we naturally want to share it with our circles. Only, by sequestering my podcasts behind a paywall, I'm preventing you from being able to do that. So, while the show may be of high value, it's also inherently useless to you as a user/publisher - you can't really share it.

The Gift
Image by MyEyeSees, via Flickr

I still believe in micropayments. I still believe we need a sea change in the way people value the content they get online. But clearly, we are not there yet, on either front. I know people love the podcast. I get email every week from folks who tell me how much it's taught them or how many hours of enjoyment they've had from the free shows. But even with that, the psychological barrier to paying for it, it seems, is just too high for most.

If you have purchased a single download or a subscription, I want you know how much your support means to me. Thank you so much for being willing to help the show stay in production, and for voting for independent content.

question mark

Image by Karen Eliot, via Flickr

So, what's to be done?

OK, so I can be sad about this state of affairs, or I can look for solutions. I love the show, I love making it, and I really want to continue making it. But I can't afford to wait six months to see whether more of you might get around to purchasing downloads. The hours I've already spent on the show have consumed a lot of time I could have spent doing things that actually pay my rent. If I can't find a way to make the show sustainable, I can't make the show – and this weighs on my mind constantly.

So, I'm seriously considering going against some philosophies I've shared in previous posts. I'm looking at offering the show in two versions: as a free show with ads, and also as a paid download with no ads. (So, if you're already a subscriber, nothing will change. You'll keep getting ad-free shows, with a side of my undying gratitude.)

Times Square

Image by Christopher Chan, via Flickr

With these two options in place, there's no "mental transaction cost," you can get and share the show freely, and there's extra incentive for those of you who want an ad-free version. My podcast host has a decent ad program I can participate in with fairly minimal time investment.

Have I suddenly started to love advertising? No. (One thousand times no.) But at this moment, it's an option that blends better with human internet behavior and allows me to fight for the show's future. Even so, ads won't begin to pay all my production costs, so I'll likely be implementing other options in addition to this.

(If you missed it, we had a lot of discussion of various options over here.)

Thomas Saunders' Suggestion Box

Image by Mr. Ush, via Flickr

Your thoughts?

So, before I take this plunge, I wanted to consult you…

• How would you feel about this program? Would you listen to the free shows, even though they contain ads?

• If you've already paid for the show, would you feel you were being cheated in any way by this turn of events?

• What are your thoughts on "mental transaction costs" and user-hood?

• Would you be willing to take this short demographic survey to help me find advertisers you won't mind hearing from?



Thank you, Jen!

What about market penetration? I'm a crafter in Seattle, and consider myself fairly aware of the crafty world. (Ravelry member, know the local shops, go to UCU, but this is the first I've heard about Crafty Pod 2.0.

Maybe it's just about more awareness for more conversion?

Well CraftyPod has been around for about six years now, and the original archive of 126 free shows still gets over 15,000 downloads a month. The free show has pretty good market penetration, but I agree with you that the newer, paid version is still making itself known. I have several marketing efforts in place now, but given the traction the original show has, these low purchase numbers seem to me to indicate something deeper than just market penetration.

That said, you're right - marketing never hurts anything!

15, 000 a month? Girl, you rock.

I have no problem with ads, whatever it takes to keep the doors open :).
I did purchase a subscription and probably will continue to do so if it is offered-- not so much to avoid ads, but as a token of support. You have consistently provided ideas, inspiration and excellent content and subscribing was a "thank you" thing :). So, to answer your question, no, I wouldn't feel "cheated" by changing things up.

Thank you so much for your support, Sarah - of the show, and also the support you've given me over the years. (For years it has been!)

Well, I'm open to this idea, and would appreciate some others weighing in on it. My initial thought was that iTunes, the 800-pound gorilla in the digital audio-sales market, charges 99 cents, so I'd need to be there to compete. But perhaps you're right - since I'm effectively locked out of iTunes sales by Apple, perhaps there's no reason to maintain this price.

I do agree that a price of $1.99, oddly, has a lower mental transaction cost than a price of .99. Weird old world we're living in anymore, isn't it? Anyone else have thoughts on this topic?

(haha! read some comments anyway ...) If you're going to spend more money, it's worth more of a hassle. I know it's weird, but I don't mind having to jump through hoops to give someone thousands of dollars, but I don't want to do that to spend 99 cents. You'd think it would be the other way around. And, yes, you should AT LEAST charge $2.

Thank you so much, Alice! I appreciate your perspective on the mental transaction cost.

First off, thanks SO much for sharing this, Diane. I think it is so important for folks to see hard numbers in cases like this. Thanks for doing that.

I know it took me a while to finally get subscribed because of the simple fact that I don't keep my wallet next to me while I'm on the computer (aside from the organizational bit about trying to keep it hung up by the door, it's also kind of dangerous for me to have such easy access to my debit card when I'm on the Internet ;) If there had been PayPal access, I would have subscribed immediately, just 'cause it's easy and I felt more than worth the money. That said, it still took me - what? THREE WEEKS to get subscribed! Oh the shame! Once I did subscribe, though, I realized how insanely easy it was to synch to iTunes and have it just operate like any of my podcasts. Easy. Peasy.

I get what you are saying about the sharing thing, too, though. I hadn't thought about that part yet, but I guess I just figure if I want to share it, I can encourage folks to pay the $.99 for it!

I'm glad you are not waiting to reconsider. Your time is way too precious. Thanks for keeping the readers/listeners in the loop and asking for feedback. I hope that it's all able to work out in a way that is beneficial for you and keeps the podcasts going, but we'll be here to support you no matter the medium! :)

I'm glad you found it easy, Rach - iAmplify DOES offer a great service, well worth what it costs me in money and the few minutes of time it costs people to transact.
And I really appreciated you being so open with me about the barriers you felt to purchasing - that information helped me get more involved in possible solutions.

Thank you so much for supporting the show!

I'm OK with ads, it won't affect your content, and it's like so many other great things that I get for free, TV, radio, somebody else's newspaper at the coffee shop. The ads help subsidize the cost...

I do think there needs to be a balanced ecology there, though, and this has always been my concern about ads. Yes, they subsidize the cost of what we consume, but how much attention do we really pay to them?

We aren't really getting ad-supported content for free. Ostensibly, advertisers are paying for your attention when they advertise. Are they getting their money's worth?

Diane, I just want to thank you for your continued honesty on this subject. I think the issue of being paid for your time as a podcaster, blogger, or other information sharer on the internet is such an important issue and your voice is so eloquent and strong. PS. I'm going to go pay for one of your podcasts right now :)

The mental transaction cost makes a lot of sense to me. I almost purchased a podcast the other day, but honestly, I just felt totally weird and wrong getting my credit card out for such a tiny cost. Anyway, I just got over myself and bought it! Good luck with your change of course.

Diane, I've said it before, but I feel I should say it again. I think you actually need to charge MORE for your monthly podcast, and offer a discount to subscribers (much like a magazine subscription). The mental transaction cost isn't going to change if you add advertising to a free version of the same content, which means that people will be more likely to tolerate the ads than to actually go through the motions of subscribing or purchasing an individual show.

The price increase could be as little as double... at $1.99 each, it's still pocket change for most, and your subscription rate could be discounted to $1.49 per episode, but billed in 6-month segments. The two-dollar mark breaks down the mental transaction cost while still being affordable and getting you closer to making the project financially feasible.

You are the expert when it comes to crafty creativity and digital media like this. Let your expertise shine through. Your podcast is excellent (I even thoroughly enjoyed the subversive stitchery episode despite not thinking I would have interest in the subject matter), and you are WORTH IT.

I have to agree here, even though it doesn't necessarily make logical sense. There's a "perceived higher value" that goes along with a higher-priced product.

I recently made one of my $5 patterns available through the Kindle. To celebrate, I gave it an initial price of 99 cents. I barely sold any. When I switched the price to 4.99, suddenly I had some more takers. I can only guess that people thought a 99 cent pattern couldn't be all that good.

HAHAHA! I shall send you a check. :-)

I hear you on the perceived ease of listing on Etsy. The issue is similar to the issue of offering the shows for people to buy others as gifts. I don't have the coding muscle to give you easy sync with iTunes. All I can do is deliver you the MP3 file. Not everyone understands how to sync this file with their device of choice, nor how to listen to it on their computers.

So the question becomes, how much tech support will I be letting myself in for, and how does THAT time get paid for? I don't really have a desire to learn how people on Macs and PC's, using all different kinds of web browsers, plus various smartphone and tablet devices, should be handling an MP3 file. And I worry that this is exactly what I'd be getting into. Do any of you have thoughts to offer on this topic?

I agree with you, Lisa - though it may be pure information overwhelm as much as laziness. You're absolutely right that the show needs more than one delivery method, and having an ad-supported version lets me take advantage of more of these options. And, in an environment where information is abundant enough to make everything easy, the smallest departure from routine does feel pretty huge. This is good stuff - thank you!

I just brought up some concerns I have about venturing into sales from my site on Elizabeth's comment, so I won't re-iterate here. But if you have thoughts on those, I'd love to hear.

...And I hope your son didn't get wet! :-)

Pricing psychology is so wacky. I had more sales when I DOUBLED the price of my blogging ebooks, too! If I ran the world, everything would have one fair price, nothing would ever get discounted, and... well... the economy would probably collapse. :-)

I think your biggest problem is that people are lazy :-)

I don't use iTunes. When you were producing freebies, I'd just see the post in Google Reader and the right-click on the audio file to download it and save it for later.

The extra step involved in having to visit iAmplify and pay for the episode is *just* annoying enough to make me put it off indefinitely. I did finally get around to getting the first few episodes, and then I subscribed.

Now that I've done that, my laziness is less of an issue, but acquiring an episode is still a departure from my usual routine. Perhaps you are having difficulty getting those creatures of habit like myself to deviate from the familiar.

I'm not sure how you can solve that issue, although selling the downloads in your own shop and accepting PayPal for them might be a step in the right direction.

I have more to say, but I just realized I'm late picking up my son, and it's raining pretty hard out there. Oops. :-)

So many thoughts. In a hurry, so here's a list:

1. Love the free/paid idea. People love choices. And even though you don't love having to advertise, I think there's a lot of businesses your listeners would love to hear from and it could be done really well.

2. Have you considered Etsy/Ebay/etc.. as platforms where people could purchase the podcast and still use Paypal? If you raised the price, this would offset their charges.

3. I think raising the price in general would be a good idea. You're not a 3 min song, you're a 25 min. conversation. :)

4. I think you're competing against yourself. There's no risk in free, and people know they can pick among them as opposed to buying an ep. and feeling like you need to like that particular ep. because you bought it. Like someone else said, I didn't initially think I'd find the subversive stitching one very interesting and it ended up being quite the opposite- very compelling. But you only know that after taking the "risk".

5. I would like to make money every time I tell people to raise their prices. That is all. ;)


Hi Diane,
Wow, interesting!
Thank you for your honesty, its disheartening to see the numbers. I have not subscribed, but I have paid to listen to the podcasts. I didn't mind setting up the iamplify account. But it did take me a while to get around to it. I wouldn't mind if there were ads on the show. But I can understand your hesitation. I love listening to your podcasts, and want to thank you for keeping me company for many lonely hours working :) I think people are so used to getting free content there is definitely a hesitance to pay. So maybe ads are the way forward or charging more, as Isaac suggested. Either way you need to get paid for the work you do, there is no question about that. Its interesting to hear that the traffic on the archive has increased. There is no doubt that people love the content.

Thank you so much, Jane. Agreed - people do seem to like the show, based on the traffic numbers. That was what led me down this road in the first place. It's really interesting to have this front-row seat for the evolution of consumer behavior in the internet age. Thanks for sharing your experiences with iAmplify, and thank you so much for supporting the show! I absolutely love the idea of "hanging out" with makers in their studios!

:-) Another really great thing I read from Clay Shirky was this: "Fame vs. Fortune." He says that, pre-internet, fortune was a by-product of fame, because in order to gain fame, a lot of people would have needed to pay for access to your product. But nowadays, because it's so easy/cheap to share online content, fame and fortune have been disconnected from one another, and in many cases, are at odds. (Here's the full post: http://www.shirky.com/writings/fame_vs_fortune.html)

Thanks for the link, as I much prefer one over the other! ;)
It's enough that my kids think I'm famous because I'm on FB and Twitter., haha!! ;)

Definitely, it's those mis-targeted ads that help us to ignore them so much! (That and the overall bombardment, but that's another story.) :-)

I like the single-sponsor idea, Tina - much easier for a listener to engage with than many. I'm still learning the details of the ad program I plan to participate in, but it does seem I'd have some control over the number and placement of spots.

I'm so sorry Spoonzine didn't prosper, but I think you've evolved in a really smart direction with Dandyville.com, and I wish you great success with it. Audience numbers ultimately present you with a range of options for monetizing, and it really can be a struggle early on. At least with online content, you have more control over your outlay and can balance things.

Thank you for supporting the show!

Sometimes you've gotta do what you gotta do. I actually kind of like ads, as long as they make sense. I used to watch a craft show on Ion that constantly had commercials around it for "men's" products. I didn't get it, the show was mostly geared for woman who definitely don't need those so why? Needless to say I stopped watching years ago.

Thank you for your perspective, Stephanie. I'm honestly surprised by the votes for a higher price... and this is exactly why I pose questions to the excellent brains of the people who read this blog. :-)

Thank you so much, Michele - I hope you find it interesting, useful and entertaining!

Ooh, Debbie, that's an excellent idea - I had never thought of making the show notes available as a handout. iAmplify allows me to attach a PDF to each show, so that would be so easy to do, and put the info at people's fingertips. You rock!

Thanks for the recommendation to check with Syne - that could be an interesting show indeed.

On the gifting question, it has come up with a couple other folks. My only concern, really, is delivery. I can certainly email people the shows, but does every recipient know how to play them on their computer, or add them to iTunes? And how much tech-support time might be wrapped up in helping them? I'm weighing these options right now. I think gifting is a solid possibility... it's all in the logistics. :-)

Oooooh... I know this feeling! (Albeit on a smaller scale.) I hit the same road block with my Spoon zine. I started charging $5 per digital issue and offered 1-year subscriptions. However, not having an established audience, I knew this would work against me, especially with a new, unfamiliar, hard-to-describe product. This is why I eventually went with accepting ads (which, bless my advertisers' hearts, *maybe* paid for one day of work a month, because I couldn't charge much without the numbers to back it). I also agree with the thoughts on not being able to share content... I think that is what I really wanted most, but it wasn't possible with the paid format. So the ads were there, the cost was free, and my readership did go up. In the end, though, it was too much work for the payoff (among other reasons), so I closed it. Now, I have a new blog that offers basically the same type of content, just in smaller doses and on a less-stressful schedule. I think it's my happy medium. Will I include ads? Maybe. And that's a big maybe, with a side order of a lot of thought.

As for CraftyPod, I completely understand the buyer's hesitation with registration versus cost. I've been there as a consumer/user before regarding other purchases. That said, I did subscribe to your podcast because I was already well-familiar with the show, knew it was only a one-time sign-up, and that the content and benefit in the long run was worth it. I'd have no problem with you having ads, and I wouldn't feel cheated at all.

I do listen to one other podcast with great regularity, and they have single-show sponsors. Instead of multiple sponsors per show, which, I think, would be more easily ignored, they have only one, and that one gets a longer, verbal shout-out at the start & end of the show, and a quicker repeat upon the return from every break. Multiple mentions + show exclusivity would make it more beneficial to the advertiser and more remembered by the audience. That, I would imagine, could also warrant a premium rate charged by you for the exclusivity, especially if the sponsor is well-aligned with the show's guest and/or subject matter. Something to chew on!

Okay. Finally. I've been meaning to do it. Sorry it took me so long, Diane. But I think it's absolutely worth the $0.99 (!!!!!!) and the tiny effort it took to get it from iAmplify. Now I've finally bought my first Craftypod 2.0 Episode. And I look forward to listening to it muchly!

I hate ads and would happily pay a higher price. My example is Pat Sloan's enjoyable quilting podcast through Creative Talk Radio. Annoying (and using louder audio) ads are included that break the podcast into segments. I do my best to fast forward through them but would be happier not to be bothered by them at all. I should send her a note and ask her to consider offering a for-pay version without the ads.

I agree with Isaac (above) about the price. Are you familiar with the Ravelry website and community developed initially for knitters? I just checked there and saw that there were nearly 2650 patterns listed as for sale online for dishcloths. These will vary from simple one-cloth patterns to more complex design patterns and include some "sets" of patterns by theme (e.g. a holiday). I saw patterns priced at $2.00 and up to $5.00 - and I know I have paid both of those amounts and in between for these kinds of patterns. I'm guessing that $5 is today's average price for any single, relatively basic knitting pattern as a download or a leaflet.

One good podcast (as yours always are) is worth at least that same amount. Perhaps you could offer a download file script for people who would like a hardcopy of the conversation as well as pics and links to check again later, without having to find your website or listen again to the podcast. This might help some people justify the higher price. In fact, that "hardcopy" (downloaded file with hyperlinks) would be great to have on a tablet for quick visual inspiration even when offline.

I just checked weavezine.com to see what Syne Mitchell is up to these days. My interestshifted away from weaving for a while so I stopped following her excellent blog and podcasts. Looks like she's gone quiet for several months, but I think she is someone you might want to contact specifically about these kinds of issues and perhaps do an interview with her for a future podcast. I'd be inclined to pay you *both* to hear a conversation between the two of you.

I did finally sign up on Iamplify so I could download, individually, some of your recent podcasts. I will change that to an ongoing subscription today. By the way, I never use Itunes. I use a Microsoft Zune mp3 player and either download audio to a file then sync that to my mp3, or sometimes (for example, NPR podcasts) there is a Zune auto-signup option offered which is very nice.

As always, thanks for starting the conversation. p.s. I can't recall, can I purchase some of your podcasts as a gift to someone else and have you issue it to them via email or something? I know a few people I think would enjoy a couple of the 2.0 ones but not sure how to go about making that happen.

No judgement, Abby - it helps me to hear people's thought processes around purchasing the show. And no matter how much we in the craft community may want it to be true, the fact of something being popular for free doesn't automatically translate to it being popular behind a paywall.

Two things jump out at me from what you've shared: the notion of "I can space out on the ads and get the content for free" is fairly universal, but I do worry that we aren't realizing, collectively, that by ignoring advertisers, we're bringing about the death of the "benevolent engine" that actually funds most of our media for us. I don't love advertising, as I've said many times before. And I'm a bit scared to rely on it as a form of monetization, because I think it's already experiencing diminishing returns due to consumers ignoring it. So, where the heck do we go from there?

...And secondly, I think the example of This American Life is really important here. That show has long been the model I've followed in making my podcasts, but also, TAL has been through similar struggles with monetization. When podcasts first happened, they tried to offer their shows as podcasts only for sale. And they later switched to making a variety of paid and free options available - I suspect that even they ran into similar hurdles that I'm running into.

These are messy, messy times, but these discussions are always productive. Thanks for chiming in!

I agree with Isaac - when I was subscribing, the discount amount is so small as to be unimportant. I subscribed so that I could get your show with a single transaction rather than many. :) Offering a higher per-episode price and a bigger discount may get you a more reliable stream of subscribers. (but as you said - we're in the wilderness here, and who knows what will actually happen!)

I know you want to keep the old episodes free, but I still think it's reasonable to take some of them down and sell them (you have tons!). You could make bundles based on topics (a particular craft, crafty business, etc), keeping one free as a "sample" and sell the rest in a group. I've bought "season one" of a podcast that I liked after listening to the rest of their archives (in that case, there were around 100 free episodes with new free episodes still being produced, with the first 20 bundled for sale as "season one").

Good luck - I'm with you hoping that there's a way to make this work!

Hi Diane,

I want to give you my honest reasons for not purchasing a show. I hope that's okay and that you won't judge me for my honesty!

I listen to hundreds of hours of audio each week while I work. To give you a sense, I've listened to every one of your free episodes, every Craftsanity episode, every Sound of Young America episode, every episode of The Moth and This American Life and The Splendid Table and Spilled Milk. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Okay, so why didn't I purchase the Craftypod 2.0? Here is a concrete example of my thought process when deciding to purchase an episode.

I almost purchased your episode with Lisa Congdon. I love Lisa and have met her. I follow her work closely and I've listened to every audio interview and watched every video interview she's given that is available on the internet.

But that's the thing. When your episode with her first aired I had just watched a 20 minute video of her speaking with a group of San Francisco designers. And the video was free. She was talking about her illustration practice and her book, probably a different kind of talk than the conversation she had with you.But I felt like, why pay when I just got to hear Lisa for free? Yes, it would be cool to hear Diane's perspective on interviewing Lisa, but how different could it really be from the content I just got for free? Plus it was a video so I got to actually see Lisa while she talked.

So that's why I haven't purchased the episode. If it were available for free, even with ads, I would have downloaded it on first day it was available. I can just space out during the ads, or fast forward.

Those are my my thoughts. I really appreciate how open you are to sharing what is working and what's not. You concrete example give all of us food for thought.

:-) True enough - failing the money in the bank, at least there's a really good learning opportunity. And we're in uncharted (some would say shark-filled) waters here. All we can do is try, fail, learn, and try again. I love that we can at least discuss this stuff so productively! And I'd rather be a good example of this trial-and-error process than a false front of prosperity any day.

Many thanks for your perspectives. Since you're also an internet content producer, you have a clear view of both sides of things. And I like the parallel you've drawn to PDFs. I still do a fair amount of tech support with people to get their copies of my ebooks and tutorials. But you're right; I do need to draw meaningful lines around what's my real responsibility there. And the theme of PayPal being a "discretionary account" for people is a strong one here.

Thank you so much for your ideas, Carina - and for supporting the show!

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Podcasts, Elizabeth! There's a lot of good stuff to discover. And most free shows can be listened to right from a blog page, so you don't even have to get out that iPod. (If you click the Free Podcasts tab on this blog, you can listen to any of my old shows by simply clicking the Play button.)

Thanks for your perspectives on advertising!

Well, you're famous to me! :-)

An excellent point! You're likely right - I may be making too much of this idea.

I'm really glad to hear you've had a good experience with ads on Swap-bot, Rachel. I may be picking your brain soon on that.

And yes! I would LOVE for the show to promote Swap-bot. I'll email you later today!

:-) My dear, you have more than enough on your hands at the moment! Your points about ease and quickness are well-taken. I do see the wisdom of lump-sum purchases, but I also think they're something to implement when the show has more legs under it financially. Imagine if a small group of you paid a 12-month subscription for example, and within eight months it became clear that the show won't sustain despite my best efforts. I'm then charged with refunding balances to everyone. Not the end of the world, of course, but I suspect I should err on the side of caution until I actually have a viable thing going. But I'll absolutely put this in my bag of future possibilities!

HAHAHA! Pushkin would LOVE that! :-)

That's a really nice idea about making the older content "premium." My podcast host offers a service for that. Once there's a healthy catalog of shows, this could be very viable. Thanks for that idea!

That Einstein... he was such an Einstein. :-)

Thanks for your thoughts, Meryl - you're right; all the discussion here really has opened up some new vistas of possibility for me, and I am always so grateful for the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the people who read this blog. I hope the discussions also help all of us to better navigate this crazy online landscape.

I'm liking that "premium archive" model - there's probably an "ad window" that's measurable for these kinds of shows, and once a show is old enough that its traffic drops to a "long tail" level, it could easily go into a paid archive of some kind. Good stuff!

And I loved your idea of "the only way out is up." That's a great mantra!

Thanks, Melanie - it really is important to remember that so many of us, when we're online, are actually doing a lot of things at once, which makes even a small interruption loom large. I really appreciate you supporting the show!

That's a smart point about perceived value, Jen. And I'm officially giggling at myself now, because this is totally what I preach in my online classes - when you underprice, you're telling people, "I don't promise much here." Guess I should take my own online class. :-)

Thanks for supporting the show, and for sharing your thoughts on iAmplify. It took miles of Googling to find them, but I do think they offer a valuable service.

There are so many thoughtful comments here...

I have not purchased a new podcast, Diane, but mostly just due to time constraints on my part -- no time to listen right now! But I want to support you (and I like Flattr for that) and I also would love for micro-payments to work out in the long run, but in the mean time, we all need to make money... so....

I know advertising is not your favorite option, but I think it is worth trying. You could still offer the podcast for sale (at a higher price) without ads and a free version with ads... OR you could publish ads on your site. I know that you feel that ads are ignored, but my experience actually shows the opposite. My site users say they don't notice ads, but they do click on the ones that they are interested in and they DEFINITELY notice ones that they find distasteful! :)

Advertising can be tacky and gross, but I think it can also be a win-win situation if you can partner with the right (high quality) advertisers for your audience. For example, I would LOVE to advertise Swap-bot on CraftyPod... just an idea. :)

As someone mentioned above, people who get free and people who buy podcasts are not always the same people. My guess is that people who buy podcasts know how to sync their devices better than most. Just a thought.