I had a nice long chat with Chris McIntyre on the phone today. He really wants to do the right thing and he’s very open to advice from podcasters and the listening community. I pitched the idea of a ratings system like Amazon, Netflix or IT Conversations, but as he pointed out, that doesn’t work for his site. Chris can’t just publish an ‘average’ rating for each podcast, even with some minimum number of votes required. Why? Because a podcast with five votes of “five stars” each, would then be rated higher than one with one thousand five-star votes and just one four-star vote. It’s not a problem for IT Conversations and these other sites because ‘ranking’ isn’t as important as the how-good-is-it rating for each item.
For that matter, I wonder if Chris’ problem is only from his Top- lists. Maybe there’s a way he can provide almost as much value without the Top-10 and Top-50 lists and not have to spend all his time messing with this stuff.
What the podcasting world really needs is the equivalent of an Arbitron or Nielsen service. Can Chris build it? Will someone else figure out how to do it? Will it be a part of Steve Gillmor and Dave Sifry’s Attention.xml concept?