Here at Podcaster News, we do our best to provide the facts on items that we think would be of interest to the podcasting community, and allow our readers to form their own opinions on the topics we cover. Personally, I don’t like the idea of “review exchanges” for directories like the iTunes Store. But I can see how this type of thing might appeal to others. Keep in mind that, while iTunes reviews can be helpful, it’s been proven that they have no impact on your ranking in the iTunes Store. That being stated, here’s some information on Pobcast, a new review exchange service that is currently seeking beta testers.
According to a Pobcast Reddit thread, Pobcast is a “real review” system that doesn’t rely on bots or paid services to get reviews for your show. In order to join the Pobcast beta, users must register at the developer’s website and add their iTunes username and podcast to the review system. (The iTunes username is needed in order to track and verify reviews users have committed to in the Pobcast system.) Users can then find shows that are looking for reviews. Once they’ve placed their reviews, and those reviews have been confirmed by the recipient accounts, those users will now be eligible to receive reviews on their own shows.
Pobcast states the service is different from other review swaps for these reasons:
No one can cheat the review process, if you spam reviewed. It won’t work unless the user has confirmed it. If your review has not been confirmed, you don’t get reviewed back
It’s NOT a direct exchange, everyone is in the pot. Meaning if you review someone, they don’t have to review you back. As long as it’s confirmed anyone can review you. Which works better in the long term. *Example: Podcast A reviews Podcast B & Podcast B review A. iTunes can see that you both exchanged direct reviews and could discard it. My method is that if you are podcast A and you review B. Podcast C/D/E/F… will review you. *
The podcast links are fixed to the system, so you cannot duplicate or cheat the system. Once it is in the system, there is no way to remove it. If you try to cheat, your podcast will be permanently disabled for future reviews.
You can track all the reviews from any user from all over the world. With direct links to each reviewer and it’s so easy to manage.
If you don’t think a podcast deserves 4 or 5 stars, you can skip it and go to the next. You will NOT get penalized for skipping podcasts.
As stated above, Pobcast reviews must be either four or five stars in order for them to be accepted by the system. If users feel a show doesn’t deserve at least four stars, they’re encouraged to skip reviewing that show and move on to another. This creates a baseline level of integrity for the actual reviews. But if podcasters are using Pobcast mainly to get reviews on their own shows, then they’ll be more likely to leave four or five-star reviews in order to get more reviews back. That doesn’t automatically mean that those reviews aren’t honest. But it does open Pobcast up to at least a little gaming of the system. After all, reviews on directories like the iTunes Store are meant to be honest commentaries of people who’ve actually listened to those shows. But it’s assured that some Pobcast users will be there strictly to get more reviews for their own shows, and that could lead them to leave generic reviews for the other shows involved, just to get more reviews for their own shows.
If you’d like to sign up for the Pobcast beta or learn more about the service, check out the links at the top of this post.