The WordPress web publishing platform has been used by podcasters since it began to receive widespread adoption about a decade ago. WordPress began as an open source project and it has remained that way. This has allowed the platform to cater to a variety of plugins and extensions that have made WordPress one of the most powerful and popular content management systems in the world.
Most open source software is released under licenses that encourage developers who use it in their own projects to, at the very least, credit the original developers who created the software. It’s a tradition that’s at the heart of the open source movement. And while theres no legal body that governs the use of open source code, the communities that thrive on it have done a good job of respecting this tradition. That’s why it can be problematic when a developer decides to crib a bunch of open source code and treat it as their own.
In an open letter recently published to his blog, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg called out web design service Wix for “borrowing” some open source WordPress code for the latest Wix mobile web-editor app:
If I were being charitable, I’d say, ‘The app’s editor is based on the WordPress mobile app’s editor.’ If I were being honest, I’d say that Wix copied WordPress without attribution, credit, or following the license. The custom icons, the class names, even the bugs. You can see the forked repositories on GitHub complete with original commits from Alex and Maxime, two developers on Automattic’s mobile team. Wix has always borrowed liberally from WordPress — including their company name, which used to be Wixpress Ltd. — but this blatant rip-off and code theft is beyond anything I’ve seen before from a competitor.
Mullenweg goes on to explain that Wix released its editor without any attribution to WordPress developers. He implores Wix to fall in line with the terms and spirit of the open source license. He’d like Wix to give the proper attribution to the WordPress dev team and also for Wix to make its own code open source and release it to the community.
It’s obvious that Wix is a competitor to Automattic, the company headed by Mullenweg that runs the fully managed WordPress services at www.wordpress.com. Business aside, Mullenweg’s assertion that Wix is into some shady business here seems reasonable. Hopefully, Wix will make things right and follow the rules set forth in the open source license.
The WordPress website platform is often mentioned synonymously with podcasting. Podcasters need websites, and WordPress has all of the tools to help would-be web builders get to work. And while WordPress itself is fairly easy to use once its set up, getting that first WordPress site online and keeping it updated could be tricky for a novice user. That’s why media hosting and podcast services company Blubrry came up with PowerPress Sites:
Blubrry’s PowerPress Sites is essentially the “easy button” for podcasting. With a free Basic account, users get a hosted WordPress website (the perfect place for publishing show notes and a streaming version of your show via the PowerPress audio player) that comes with built-in subscribe widgets, website streaming capabilities, and other essential plugins. The sites are designed with search engine optimization in mind, and can be set up in five minutes so you can get your show up and running right away.
PowerPress Sites come with these features:
Site caching to increase loading speed
Add Google Analytics codes for web stats and traffic information
WordPress themes designed specifically for podcasters
New, unbranded Blubrry HTML5 media player
While the new PowerPress Sites is technically free (no additional charge), it’s only available right now to Blubrry media hosting customers. Current PowerPress Sites users will be able to set up their WordPress sites thru special subdomains created by those users (username.blubrry.com). Future updates to PowerPress Sites will allow for more customized, advanced features.
Blubrry, the podcasting services company best known for its PowerPress plugin for WordPress, announced a new service today called PowerPress Sites. This latest offering from Blubrry provides a full-service solution for podcasters who want professional media hosting as well as managed WordPress hosting all in one place.
Previously, Blubrry offered only media hosting and professional statistics as paid services. Users would have to self-host their own websites along with certain levels of integration with Blubrry, depending on the services they used. PowerPress Sites changes all that by putting the WordPress, media and statistics hosting all in one place.
The PowerPress Sites program offers several different options, depending on a podcaster’s needs. Users can start with the Basic plan for $12/month that includes 100MB of monthly rollover storage and a free WordPress installation hosted at examplesite.blubrry.com. From there, users can upgrade for features like adding a domain name, SSL certificate, WordPress Multisite and more.
Existing Blubrry customers will see no change in their current service. They can migrate over to the new PowerPress Sites service or continue on with their current setups. PowerPress Sites will begin to officially roll out next month. For more information on product plans and pricing, visit the PowerPress Sites page on the Blubrry website.
Disclosure: I work part-time with the Blubrry support team and Podcaster News Executive Editor Todd Cochrane is the CEO of Rawvoice, parent company of Blubrry.
Podcasters are always trying to get more iTunes reviews. And one good strategy for doing that is to read those reviews on your show as they come in. But the iTunes client itself doesn’t provide a good way to find and then follow up on reviews. But a new WordPress plugin called iTunes Podcast Review Manager could make the process of getting iTunes reviews a whole lot easier.
Using iTunes Podcast Review Manager is pretty straightforward. Install the plugin by using either the Add New Plugin feature in WordPress or manually downloading and uploading it. Activate the plugin and then navigate to the Podcast Reviews menu in the sidebar of the WordPress dashboard. From there, go to the Settings page and enter the iTunes Store URL of your podcast. It may take a minute for the plugin to find your first batch of reviews. Once it’s done, it’ll display those reviews in a table that can then be sorted by country, date, rating, username, title or review.
I’ve only installed and used the plugin once but it’s working well so far. There’s also a Premium tab inside of iTunes Podcast Review Manager but all it says is a premium service will be launching soon.
If you’re a WordPress user and you’re looking for an easy way to get your iTunes reviews, take a look at iTunes Podcast Review Manager. Keep in mind that free services like this have come and gone in the past. If you don’t use WordPress and/or you’d like to use an established service for collecting your podcast reviews, you should check out My Podcast Reviews.
Podcast services provider Blubrry brought its new Subscribe on Android initiative to podcasters earlier this year. Subscribe on Android allows podcasters to add code to their websites that gives Android users a simple one-click subscription option, similar to the experience iOS/iTunes users have with Apple’s one-click subscription protocol.
When Subscribe on Android launched, Blubrry had partnered with the developer of the Podcast Addict app to ensure that the system would work properly. Since then, the Blubrry team has worked hard to bring Subscribe on Android to more podcasting apps. This week, the company announced that it has partnered with a total of five developers, thus allowing Android users who listen to podcasts with either Podcast Addict, Podcast Republic, Simple Podcatcher, Podcatcher Deluxe or Video Podcast Deluxe to gain the benefits of one-click subscriptions.
In a separate announcement, Blubrry stated it will be working with Reactor by AppPresser to make customized mobile apps for podcasters. These special apps will integrate with a podcaster’s existing WordPress website, allowing mobile app users to access podcast episodes as well as other content. Podcasters who are interested in using Reactor to create mobile apps can take advantage of a 30-day free trial and learn more about pricing and features at the Reactor website.
Disclosure: Todd Cochrane, executive editor at Podcaster News is also CEO of Rawvoice, the parent company of Blubrry and I work part-time with the Blubrry support team.
SEO by Yoast, a popular WordPress plugin used by many podcasters was found to have a bug that left the software vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. If the exploit were executed, an attacker would be able to take over an entire WordPress installation. From the Threatpost article linked above:
Vulnerable versions of the service are susceptible to arbitrarily executed SQL queries, in part because it lacks proper cross-site request forgery protections. If the attacker were able to trick an authenticated administrator, editor or author into following a link to a malicious page, the attacker could then create an admin role for himself and totally compromise affected sites.
While it’s impossible to know how many WordPress sites are running the infected plugin, the SEO by Yoast page on the WordPress plugin directory shows that the software is currently actively installed on over one million sites. In order to fix the vulnerability on your own WordPress site, ensure that you’re running version 1.74, which is the latest version of the Yoast plugin. (If you’re running an older version of the plugin, the WordPress dashboard should notify you of an available update the next time you log in.)
And regardless of which plugins you use, it’s always important to make sure all of them (as well as your core WordPress files) are always kept up to date. It’s the best way to safeguard your site against these kinds of issues.
PowerPress, the popular WordPress podcasting plugin from Blubrry, has been updated to version 6.0. The new PowerPress comes with some changes to established functions as well as some new features. First among these are the new subscriber tools. From the PowerPress blog:
PowerPress 6.0 includes three new subscribe tools to help you convert your Web visitors into podcast subscribers.
Subscribe Page and Shortcode Embed: With the new subscribe page and shortcode, you can create a static page using an embed that displays a box, which provides subscribe options for the most common devices. You can create the page with one click that inserts a subscribe page template. The shortcode embed is responsive and features mobile device friendly buttons designed for high resolution “Retina” displays. Learn more about the PowerPress Subscribe Page and Subscribe Shortcode Embed.
Subscribe Sidebar Widget: We now include a “subscribe to podcast” sidebar widget. The widget features mobile device friendly buttons and includes a “More Subscribe Options” button that links to your subscribe page.
Subscribe Links: Below each player we now include subscribe link options that include iTunes, RSS and a “More Subscribe Options” that link to your subscribe page.
In this edition, I decided to step away from the relative comfort of my dedicated production studio and go basic, recording only with my iPad and a free app called Recorder. I did this as an exercise to show that it isn’t really necessary to invest in a mountain of gear just to get your voice committed to disk. I also give a simple explanation of a podcast publishing setup that, while hardly optimal, could technically allow you to publish a podcast (including getting that podcast into iTunes) without spending any money on web hosting.
Sometimes, you may need an easy way to create a URL on your podcast site that automatically forwards to another location. For example, instead of simply asking your listeners to visit your iTunes listing by searching for your show inside of iTunes, you could simply tell them to go to example.com/itunes (example.com being replaced by your own URL, of course) instead. You can achieve this by setting up a 301 redirect on your website. The redirect will automatically tell a web browser to go from your specially crafted URL to wherever you’ve sent the redirect.
301’s are usually added to your website’s htaccess file, depending on what type of software your site is running. I use WordPress for all of my podcast sites, and all WordPress installations include their own htaccess files.
Htaccess files may be difficult to find with typical FTP clients. You may need to alter a client’s view settings or you may need to access your server’s control panel to get to the htaccess file. This may be annoying, but it’s actually a good thing as you can do some serious damage to your site if you were to accidentally delete or damage the htaccess file. But you can easily gain access to your site’s htaccess file by using the free Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin.