The VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective
May 15, 2007 17:42:01

That's right, it's a collective. Not a network. Those of you that listened to podcast 68 heard me speak of new VirginWorlds podcasts that will be appearing soon. These new podcasts are not more 'Brent' podcasts. They will be podcasts from both new and familiar voices in the MMO community that have agreed to hover under the VirginWorlds umbrella. I'm very excited about it for a few reasons most of which revolve around the creation of a broader community and the opportunity to deliver more content about our favorite games: MMORPGs.

Since the announcement, I've received a number of inquiries and I decided I might as well write it all here for everyone to see. I'd like to start with what this is NOT.

1. This is not an attempt to band a bunch of podcasts together, thereby increasing total download counts in order to gain the attention of podcast-advertisers. I'll go on record right now and say: I have no intention of putting advertisements in the VirginWorlds podcast or any of the podcasts that fall into this collective. I tried advertisements briefly in the past and found it to be disruptive to the show and a complete pain in the hiney. Additionally, the podcast network that hooked me up with that advertiser never paid me. (Yes, I'm talking about Kiptronic. They don't pay people. Take note of that fact. They still owe me $300.) Aside from that experience, I simply do not believe that the business world is ready to invest in podcasts as an advertising medium and there is no real money to be made by podcasters unless they get 50,000 downloads per week. For most of us, $30 a week isn't worth the trade-off. This does not mean that I will discourage members of the VirginWorlds podcast collective from selling ads on their podcast. To each their own, but know that I will not be making any attempts to market the collective for ad revenue. However, if EA backs the money truck up to my house and offers something that will significantly improve the offering that can be made to VW listeners, I would work with the various podcasters to ensure everyone gets their share of that money-truck. In the meantime, we'll all pinch our pennies and be ad-free.

2. This is not an attempt to take ownership of other people's work. Most, if not all, of the the podcast networks in existence make podcasters sign a contract that says (paraphrasing): "Once you're on our network we own your show, its title, its content, the right to republish it, the right to sell it and the clothes off your back." This will never happen on VirginWorlds. There will be no contract. There will be no ownership clauses. There will be nothing of the sort. Podcasters who are part of the collective will retain ownership of all of their content and will participate at will. They can pick up and leave at any time and take all their shows with them. If they want me to unpublish the existing shows I will do so. If they say I can keep the old shows published as part of VirginWorlds, but want to move on to their own site and hosting, that's fine too. If the hosts get sick of the game they're playing or sick of podcasting and quit after a hard feelings. Whatever the podcasters decide to do is what they will do. Participation is voluntary.

3. This is not a hosting service. Podcasters will not be able to sign-up at will and start posting podcasts under the VirginWorlds umbrella. You have to be accepted. The short story is: I have to agree that the podcasts and its hosts are right for the collective. VirginWorlds listeners have subjected themselves to my weekly blathering for over a year now and despite the critical eye I tend to cast on my own show, the listeners have come to expect a particular brand of show and a certain level of quality. This will not change. More on this subject later.

Having covered what this isn't, let's talk about what it is.

1. A way to get new podcasts a built in audience. Finding new podcasts is challenging because you can't eyeball them quickly and decide if they're right for you. I have spent an insane amount of time over the past few years browsing various shows. This can be a frustrating process. My goal is to select shows that I'm relatively certain fit into the VirginWorlds model. Clean, mature, intelligent and diligent. Comedy and opinion podcasts are welcome, I'm not asking people to be dry and clinical, but it should be something that fits the current audience. You know who you are. This association will help new podcasts find an audience quickly.

2. A great way to build a community. In the past year and a half a small community of VirginWorlds listeners and readers has formed, but we're limited to all of the oddballs like me who wander from game to game and tend to analyze the heck out of everything in the games as well as the industry. There isn't much to chew on for those who are dedicated to one specific MMO. This may change that. MMO-specific podcasts will help extend the community.

3. A way to remove some of the burdens of podcasting. For those of you who operate podcasts today, you know that being able to speak into a microphone barely scratches the surface. You need to understand sound design and processing, music licensing, RSS feeds, iTunes, Podcast directories, website design, web programming, file tagging, search engine optimization and graphic editing. That is a ton of things to worry about. Participation in this collective will remove much of that. I can't help actively on every recording session, but I'll take the time to ensure new podcasters learn how to record, edit and process a good show. After that, I'll take care of the rest. More on this later.

4. A good way to build the popularity of VirginWorlds. This is the self-serving side of the equation. I want people to visit VirginWorlds. I want it to be "the source" of cool MMO info and entertainment. Someday VirginWorlds will make its first dollar, but in the meantime, I want to build a great audience and a great community. Offering more content such as additional podcasts and articles goes a long way toward reaching this goal.

Now you know almost everything. For those of you entertaining the idea of playing along, here is what it entails.

1. You have to contact me to be considered and if I don't already know you I'll want to talk to you or hear a sample. I am going to be quite selective about who participates. If you're not picked, you're not a bad person and it doesn't mean your show or show idea sucks. Judging podcasts is like judging figure skating or music - meaning there's no exact science. In the end, it's up to me. Sorry. If this step goes well:

2. I'll host your podcast. Yay, free podcast hosting - to a point. For a regular weekly or even bi-weekly shows this will be easy, but if you want to do a daily hour-long video podcast, we might have to talk about this one. Along with assuming your hosting costs I'll also take care of posting your shows, dealing with iTunes, and any last minute tagging of files and whatnot that needs doing.

3. I'll put the podcast on the podcast page (massive revamp for this capability will appear shortly as the current code supports one show) and would prefer if that is the main page for the podcast. Clearly, podcasters that are already set up might have their own website. This is something of a sticking point for me because it doesn't bring everyone together. New podcasts probably won't sweat this too much, but if you already have a show hosted somewhere and already have a website - this could be a problem. We'd have to talk through the specifics.

4. The show will have to affiliate itself with VirginWorlds verbally within the podcast. I don't care how this is done as long as it is done in every show and is done respectfully. Cross-pimping of the collective podcasts will be an assumed perk and requirement, however the hub-like nature of VirginWorlds certainly dictates that pimping of non-collective podcasts is totally ok and something to be admired. We're not trying to 'keep it in the family' like some other MMORPG sites like to, but we certainly want to promote one another heavily. For podcasts that have a previous backlog of shows, it is fair to assume we won't go back and edit pimping and collective identification material to those shows. (In fact the very first new podcast, Voyages of Vanguard, is missing this in the soon to be released episode 1, and that is okay.)

5. The podcast should be on a regular schedule. It doesn't matter if that is once a week or once a month, but once you set an expected frequency I'd like to see it abided by. Nothing pisses off listeners like a show they can't count on. Advertised schedule interruptions or frequency changes are fine, but randomness is not. Podcasts that fade or lag badly will be removed from the collective (after fair warning of course.)

There it is. You now have all the info on the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective. I hope you approve. I hope it works out. I hope you enjoy the upcoming content. Oh, and I hope you're assimilated too. :)

(Mail brent at this domain for more information)

Submitted by Brent on May 15, 2007 17:42:01 CST (comments: 10)


'heh' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-05-15 18:12:10 CST starts

...and where is the 7 of 9 picture I was promised???

'Seven of Nine' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-05-15 19:05:27 CST

Here ya go Darren:


'Gigidy!!' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-05-15 19:13:43 CST
yes....yes I am.

Carry on...

'not trying to be a fanboy but...' by Dathmar
Submitted on 2007-05-16 08:11:45 CST
I would just like to say a big thank you are offering what a lot of other people would charge a fee for.
Its a very decent thing you are doing.

I guess my podcast "Naked MMO Players Unite" won't make the cut ?
Good Luck to eveyone that is part of the "Collective"

'We know you by now Brent...' by Nitelighter
Submitted on 2007-05-16 12:52:28 CST
I think you listeners know you well enough by now Brent that you would not pull something for personal or commercial gain.

Thanks for all you do man... Yours is the first 'cast I listen to on my way into work on Mondays... :)

'glad to hear it' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-05-17 17:19:36 CST
Dath and Nite -

Thanks for the kind words. Glad to know the first impressions of the idea are positive!

'Kindred Spirits' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-05-18 05:51:45 CST when are we getting the next Video podcast with special guest, Jeri Ryan?

Let's not dismiss this issue of personal financial gain.

My feeling is that it is really important for the project to be sustainable, but it is a very lame and unoriginal thought that turns to advertising for this and can't think of anything else.

I still feel that an "Association" of MMO Players or Producers would be a very good idea - one that could speak up for the industry and also help it steer itself in the right direction. Maybe this is a bit anathema in the land of free enterprise and market forces, but it's pretty clear where this is getting us at the moment. Money then comes from players who want a voice in the industry, but also from Corporate membership and the organisation of joint industry conferences.

This "Collective" idea could be the first step towards this - collective by name, collective by nature...

'Giddy as a school girl' by hughnme
Submitted on 2007-05-20 18:30:51 CST
About the whole “collective idea”
Darrenl….looks like where going to up the 20,000 downloads a week to keep the numbers rolling in :)

'Fantastic news!' by CowNoseThe50PoundCat
Submitted on 2007-05-23 03:41:32 CST
Well, this can only be a good thing for me the listener! ^^

I tell you, this blog really makes me want to start a podcast. I wish I could be a guest star or a co-host. :) I know for a fact that I'm not the right person to do a podcast for the same reason I'm not a good guild leader... (I tend to jump to different things)

But, maby I will get in the podcast scene some day. :) I have been reading books for so I think I just might have what it talkes. ^^

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