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Surefire Ways To Kill Your Ability To Monetize Your Podcast

Not all podcasters want to monetize their podcast. In fact a lot of indie podcasters start a podcast because they love podcasting, have an overwhelming passion for something and simply want to share it with the world. As time goes on (if they don't podfade!) their passion grows and they begin to mull over the podcaster golden question:

How can I make money doing this?

This post is not about monetizing your podcast. There are a gazillion ways and tons of folks that are willing to walk you through a myriad of models. The aim of this post is to provide you with a little simple checklist in order to save you some heartache IF you decide you do want to monetize your content from the beginning, even if that's not your initial intention.

4 Ways To Impede Monetization Of Your Podcast

  • 1. Use trademark images for your podcast artwork
  • 2. Use trademarked words in the title or subtitle of your podcast
  • 3. Use copyrighted music as your theme music, intro or outro music within your podcast.
  • 4. Read, sing or perform full or parts of copyrighted works.

(NOTE) Generally speaking if you have been given specific permission by owners of copyrighted material for your podcast you will be unable make money off of those podcast episodes. You would have to strip that material from all the media that contains this content if you want to monetize your work.

Podcast Content That Hinders Monetization:

  • Images or graphics of realistic violence
  • Sexual content or nudity, particularly in podcast artwork
  • High levels of profanity
  • Alcohol, tobacco, or drug use, particularly in podcast artwork

The beauty and power of podcasting is that you can say, do and create any kind of content that you desire. If you want to create an awesome podcast replete with sexual content, with lots of profanity and tons of illegal substance use, then go for it! Just know that your ability to find ways to monetize your podcast will be more limited, although not impossible. You just have to work a little harder to find the best match in terms of sponsors and joint ventures.

The whole copyright/trademark world, particularly for new media content is a bit complicated. The information seems to continually deepen and shift. It's up to content creators to choose to educate themselves and stay up to date on all this information.

Tools and resources that are necessary to have in your podcaster tool belt:

Websites and Documents

Copyright/Trademark Podcasts

Some of those podcast have podfaded but the information is still very good.

Bottom line:

If you have content in your podcast that causes you to wonder if you might infringe copyright or trademark laws, don't put it in! You'll save yourself a lot of hassle :)

Have you had issues with copyright material and have knowledge to share or have other resources that you'd like to let us know about? Leave a comment!

I'm sure as podcasters, we could all benefit from as much knowledge as we can.


If you are ready and optimized to monetize your podcast and take it to the next level we have podcast apps to extend your reach and monetization capabilities of your content and advertising programs available!

-Elsie Escobar

Podcasts on Google TV

It looks like podcasts are going to be a big part of the new Google TV platform.  According to NewTeeVee:

"Google TV will include a podcast directory, giving users the ability to subscribe to shows and have future episodes show up in the same list as their DVR recordings."

Anytime podcasts are getting top billing on a new platform we're happy.  Like you producers, we are always looking out for new opportunities that expand the reach of the podcasting platform.  

Wizzard in Bad Spelling/Grammar/Weird Name Round Up - libsyn emerges unscathed

In this age of the internet, Grammar is a hot button topic.  Advocates for upholding proper practice come in many forms including podcasts like Grammar Girl, and grassroots initiatives by Jeff Deck author of The Great Typo Hunt recently covered by NPR.  Dreck himself seems to be fine with the use of creative license in branding, and focus's his efforts on typos and unintentional errors.  

In a fun post last week by Erich Schwartzel the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlighted libsyn's parent company, Wizzard, for using intentional misspelling as a method for brand distinction.

"In Pittsburgh alone, the evidence is there in Wizzard Software's extra "Z," reCAPTCHA's runaway Caps Lock, Fooala's love of vowels."

The article mentions Wizzard along with other Pittsburgh local and national heavy hitter internet spelling/grammar offenders like eBay and Yahoo!.  The challenge of course is for these companies to elevate brand awareness above and beyond the bumps that come with stepping outside of the norm.


Can't help but think, libsyn dodged a bullet there. 

"LibSyn" sometimes, "libsyn" other times, the shorty name and url for "liberated syndication" has brought us interesting luck over the years.  The name penned by Dave Chekan was meant to convey the grandiose power behind the new media revolution while also catching the wind of web 2.0 catchy company names.  From this point in the company's history we feel like it was a fitting choice.

But while sometimes bullheaded, we aren't totally obtuse; we know its tough to spell.  Even in our internal company emails and you'll see many wild variations of the name.  That is also why we also registered whoops, who let that one lapse?  Oh Well.

One of my favorite stories touched on in the article involves when in direct reaction to the overuse of "e" in things like "eMail, eMarketing, eCommerce, etc. brands names appeared sans "e".  Flickr, Tumblr. and even Twittr, which obviously added the "e" back later, are perfect examples of this.  I know this is probably old news for most of you, but I think its this kind of playfulness that illustrates a deeper collective thoughtfulness rather than somethin akin to the "devolution" of modern language. 

Early on when we were looking to raise some money to grow the business the general consensus was that we had to move out of Pittsburgh, and we had to change the name.  Having a lucky lunch at Sammy's Corned Beef with an industry mogul that was stumped as to why we'd chosen the name:  "liberated syndication", I said, "It's a grand ol' pitch of both new and old coming together", thusly the libsyn/liberated syndication dichotomy. 

We are not the only ones in the podcasting space with creative names, i'm thinking of podrac and blubrry of course.  Plus, I think its a pretty well established trend in experimenting with language and image that is definitely not exlcusive to the internet world: Just ask Prince.

As always we love the shout outs from our friends at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the article by Erich got us thinking and reminiscing.  We are happy to still be in Pittsburgh and living under the same banner since 2004.  libsyn is a name that many of you have chosen to be associated with and for that we are eternally grateful. 


Background Image Design Tips

You may have noticed that Google, Bing and AOL change up their home page images from time to time. Snowflakes for winter, shamrocks for St. Patrick's day, flowers for spring. You can do the same thing for your app.  Little changes like this go a long way to keep your audience entertained, engaged and invested in your content.  Check out these tips for creating a great background image for your app.


Keep in mind that the background image appears in multiple places in the app and is the default background.

Background Image Design Tips
  • The design should be simple so that the white text of the app can be clearly read.
  • When designing your background be conscious that the play button will obscure the center of your image.

Some Background Image Examples


Tutorial - Adding Episode Background

Another tip for Podcast App producers.  Providing special background images for specific episodes is a simple thing to do, but it goes a long way to make your audience feel excited about your App.  Not unlike the artwork in DVD menus; its about enhancing the experience of your show.  It's in the little things.  

Unlike the default background of your app which is set in the Destinations section, the Episode background is set right when you publish a new episode.  This image will appear only when your audience is looking at the detail page for that specific episode.  


So what's nice is your when you go from the episode list to that specific episode, you get a nice background fade in transition.  In this case it's beachy.


You can use the background to alert your audience that extras are available or just have fun setting the mood for your episode.

Cali Lewis on the Podcast App in the Latest GeekBeat.TV

In today's episode of GeekBeat.TV Cali Lewis, tech news superstar highlights the Podcast App.  GeekBeat.TV is a show that covers the latest and greatest in tech, gadgets and internet cool.  If you haven't yet discovered the show you are in for a treat! Cali is fun, thorough, timely, and always ready with the latest news and tips in the world of geek.  In fact in this episode there's a great tip especially for you Podcast App producers.  Watch the vid below for Cali's use of backgrounds to alert her app audience of bonus content.  

We are so excited to be working with Cali and GeekBeat.TV!  Get the Cali Lewis App at

Tutorial - How to Add Episode Links to Your Podcast App for iOS

Here's a good hint for our Podcast App producers out there.  

For each episode you have the ability to offer links to related websites in the episode extras section. This is a great ways to share a link that you have reference in the episode or other links that might be helpful for your audience.

 Add Episode Links in the Episode Description

Including links with each episode is as simple as adding a link in the episode description. These links will automatically be included as an "episode link" in the "Extras" section of your app.


Edit the Episode Description



Add a Link - select the text that you would like to be the name for the link, and click the link button.  Then,type the entire url for the link in the pop-up box 


Publish Your Episode - click publish to save your changes and make them live.  If you click save draft - your episode will be saved under drafts and changes will not be made to your app until you click publish.


Any links in your episode description will be added as an episode link in your app.  You can add as many links as you would like to each episode.


That's all. Once you have published your app - your episode links will be live.  

If you have an iOS device and would like to check out our Podcast App download the free demo Danger Dog.  You can see the links in action on the episode entitle "Zen Time".

Retro - The libsyn Stroll 2005

It seems like yesterday, or a year ago...  But produced in November of '05 this video by Nathan Cornett and Andy Kelemen was released on our old old libsyn blog.  

Presented in stunning iPod 5GD (that's 320 x 213) Here's our first libsyn video promo: The libsyn Stroll

For full credits check out the original post about this fun vid with a "circa '93 pringles feel".