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Alan Levy

Blogtalkradio and Skypecast

by Alan Levy

 - Sun, Aug 20 2006
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Let me start by saying that this headline is a bit misleading. No , we are not combining forces or working together in any way. Lately, I have heard a fair amount about the Skypecast service, so I thought it would be a good idea to compare our services.

Let's be honest, Skype is a multibillion dollar company that has more than 50 million users and unlimited capital. Blogtalkradio, on the other hand has been around for three weeks and without divulging the amount of invested capital, well let's just say, it's a lot less than $ 1 billion.

Around 6 months ago, while we were working on our platform, I took a look at Skype's Skypecast service. My initial feedback on the service was positive. The GUI's looked great, the colors and flow of the site was impressive, but a few things bothered me.

First, when I logged in, I would see around 4 or 5 shows "on-air", however, very few of these shows had any particpant's. I found that many, if not most hosts set up shows and simply never showed up. And when a host did show up, in my view the content was less than impressive.

Secondly, without live streaming and archiving of shows, the usability of the service is limited. I figured that even if the content was decent, most people would like to listen to shows when they get around to it. As one our hosts mentioned last night, we are living in an "on demand" society. Everybody wants everything when they want it.

Also, it troubled me that you have to be a Skype user to not only be a host but be a listener. I mean, what if someone with an interesting point of view wanted to host a show and didn't have skype or any type of softphone for that matter? What if they wanted to host their show using a pots (plain old telephone service) line or mobile phone? Also, how many potential listeners would feel the need to download Skype.

Well, if you look at each of these points I have raised you will see that Blogtalkradio answers all of these questions and more.

At Blogtalkradio, our overriding focus is on driving content and creating an environment where the BTR hosts have something interesting to say and the platform to say it. While today, we are getting our share of less than stellar content, we will continue to work real hard on insuring that we attract the best content to BTR. Everyone can listen to BTR, but not eveyone can be hosts. Not because we turn people away from using our platform, it's just that if you don't have anything interesting to say, no one will listen. Pure and simple.

Secondly, from the outset, we wanted our shows to be available to be listenend to by an unlimited number of listeners. Although, we allow 5 simultaneous calls to be on-air at any given time, our service can in fact accommodate an unlimited number of listeners. To the Skypecast users that are approaching 100 listeners per show, we welcome you with open arms, because when you hit the big 100, the Skype service has hit its limit.


As you know from some of my prior posts, my background is in Telecom. As such, as we devised Blogtalkradio, we felt that it was crucial that both hosts and callers could use any phone to use the service. That's right, hosts and callers can call into BTR using a land line, a mobile phone, a VOIP phone like Vonage or a softphone like Skype, yes Skype. There are no downloads required to use BTR and therefore it's very accessible and easy to use.

Finally, unlike Skype, all of our shows are archived and can be listenend to at a later date. If there is an easier outsourced podcasting application out there, well I haven't found it. And if you can find one, than please send me the link.

On an unrelated point, I will be on vacation the next week or so and therefore, to insure that my marriage stays intact, I will resume my blogging and blogshow after Labor day weekend.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and as always, see you "on-air"

Alan

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