We're back with another post, as we continue to review the various podcast hosting platforms available on the Internet. In case you missed it, check out the pieces I wrote on how to best move your podcast off SoundCloud with Libsyn and Buzzsprout.

In this insightful post, we dive into Podbean's free podcast hosting services and address some of the concerns the podcast community has expressed with them. I know when I was personally looking through Podbean reviews, it didn't look pretty.

They also didn't look very recent either, with the most recent negative review written in 2012. Old, but still relevant? Maybe. I decided not to leave it up to chance and reached out to Shannon, the Director of Communications for Podbean, to get directly to the source of the issues their past clients have had with them.

 

The Top Two Most Common Complaints about Podbean

It's not a good sign when the first few spots on Google, for 'Podbean Review', are negative. It's also not a good sign that they're all outdated, as I couldn't find anything that was relevant in the 2015-2016 time period. The two biggest concerns and negative remarks that I extracted out of Podbean were:

  1. Their inability to give you control over your own RSS feed. This means that once you give your RSS feed to Podbean, it's theirs forever and you won't be able to get it back; essentially forcing you to start all over. New podcast, new following, and a brand new iTunes page. Ack!
  2. Their terrible customer service offered by non-native English speakers on, with the lack of ‘know-how to fix’ what should be simple solutions. There's nothing worse than dealing with Comcast-esq customer service, questions unanswered, and a support team that doesn't respond to cancellations.

But as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, these reviews are old...way old. They shouldn't even be mentioned in this article, but I know our audience is bound to come across what I found on Google, so it needs to be addressed.

 

According to Podbean, These Problems Have Been Fixed

Shannon was quick to address the concerns I mentioned above, and frankly, after seeing her in-depth response and the various actions taken by her and her team, I feel Podbean is on a fast track to success.

Podbean has already fixed problem number one, and now users are able to move off their platform should they wish. For those who are interested in switching to Podbean services, Shannon offered this helpful article - How to Set a New Feed.

In regards to problem two, Shannon did mention that the company no longer offers phone support. Instead, customers can contact them via email or live chat. Their live chat isn't 24/7, but it does cover around 20+ hours or so. If you can't reach support via live chat, then email is the second best form of communication, of which they quickly reply to. Shannon acknowledges that their customer service was horrible in the past and said Podbean has made major improvements in that regard. Here is what she had to say to me via email:

We have made major improvements to support and have a much more experienced/long-term team now. Of course, no company’s perfect and sometimes they run into complexities, etc. Fortunately—and this is what I think is great about us—me and David (CEO) review twice/week with the team (and more as needed) and help them address any issues, reply to customers having difficulty, help them improve responses, etc.

I (and our community manager, Jennifer) try to be pretty active on social media too, in order to help podcasters. We explain that our Support Twitter isn’t monitored constantly for support requests, so direct contact to Support is best, but we interact consistently with our customers (and other podcasters)—not only for problems, but to proactively help them with resources, marketing ideas, promotion etc.
— Shannon Martin - Podbean Director of Communications

 

What's Great About Podbean?

One of the main reasons why podcasters prefer Podbean over other podcast hosting service platforms is affordability. Their unlimited audio plan goes for as low as $9 a month, with their annual sign up package. They are currently preparing to offer HLS to podcasters who provide video of their interviews as well.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way to start podcasting. Everything you need. No technology to learn.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way to start podcasting. Everything you need. No technology to learn.

Podbean seems to be a perfect option for those that have very little technical knowledge. The platform provides easy-to-use tools that can help set up an attractive podcast page. Shannon told me that Podbean is the first host to provide a blog-like platform/page for podcasters. Shannon also believes their back-end editor is simpler to use than WordPress's editor, which can be a huge bonus to some. If you're an independent hobby podcaster without a website, then this option could be ideal for you.

If you already have a website for your podcast, then no problem. The site makes it easy to redirect the feed to your own website, so those who are seeking a little more customization will be glad to know that they're not stuck to Podbean's platform.

Here's the interesting thing about Podbean. They offer affordable integrated monetization. This is what Shannon had to say about it:

We were one of the first hosts (and still, the most affordable—taking only a 15% revenue share with no upfront fees) to offer premium content options (subscriptions or fees for single, “bonus” episodes) and we are the only one to offer integrated crowdfunding (patron support).

CF is also available to podcasters who host anywhere, and I think this is a hidden gem! The great thing about our program is the page pulls in your RSS so it looks great with recent episodes shown there—and for Podbean podcasters, the “become a patron” button is automatically on their page (others can get our pre-formatted buttons, super simple to put on their pages).

Also, if their listeners listen in our apps, the buttons will be there right on the screen so no extra steps, telling them a separate site to go to later etc. CF was so going at first, but we’re really seeing it be more widely adopted and many people are doing quite well with it. Look for something special in the advertising space to be coming soon as well!
— Shannon Martin

 

Finally, I'd like to mention that Podbean does something unique that other podcast hosting service providers don't do as proactively, which is to promote their clients’ content regularly. Podbean promotes 5 podcasts each week on their homepage and in their app, giving their clients some great exposure. They also do regular shout-outs on social media. I like that they do this a lot, because it means they really do care about what their customers have to say and what they are putting out into the world.

I recommend that you check out Podbean, as it seems some of the major problems they had in the beginning have been fixed and that they're actively working towards building a stronger community and service.

 


About Podfly

We are a boutique podcast production service that creates beautiful sounding audio and highly descriptive and well-crafted show notes. We have a small team of audio engineers and writers to help perfect your podcast and make it sound great. If you're starting from scratch, we can teach you how to set up your audio equipment and craft an excellent podcast with intros and outros included. You can contact me at Ayn@Podfly.net for more information or reach us through Podfly's contact form.

 

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