As others (including Dave Slusher and Michael Geoghegan) have blogged, Chris McIntyre’s Podcast Alley site is on a path towards self destruction. It began as a fun and amusing site within the podcasting community, but the recent spate of coverage in the mainstream press has elevated Podcast Alley to a position of supposed authority.
A few podcasters asked their listeners, somewhat innocently, to go to Podcast Alley to vote for them. Seeing that IT Conversations was down in the #29 spot (and knowing our shows were far more popular than our rating would suggest) I asked our listeners to vote for us. Hey…it was nothing more than honest campaigning.
But somewhere along the line, two things happed. From what I’ve been told, in order to make the system “fairer” to new podcasts, Podcast Alley allowed one vote per person per day, and some sites encouraged their supporters to “vote early, vote often.” And then some podcasters whom I would refer to as less than scrupulous, encouraged their listeners to actually cast negative votes against other podcasts, even for podcasts they’d never listened to.
So why am I wasting so many bytes on what appears to be so trivial? It’s because that due to that major-media coverage, Podcast Alley has been granted a franchise. Lacking any alternative, journalists and others are turning to Podcast Alley as an authority of podcast popularity. It’s the lazy thing for a reporter to do, and they can cover their butts by writing loophole copy such as, “According to web site Podcast Alley…” rather than survey users for themselves.
There’s only one solution, and that’s for Chris McIntyre to solve the problem. Don’t allow more than one vote (total) per person, and log the verified email and IP addresses. That won’t stop hardcore hackers, but if you don’t do something, Chris, the franchise you’ve been handled will slip through your fingers.