Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why Digital Sharecropping Means FAIL - And How to Survive Podcasting Catastrophes (Part 1)

Just had all my years of files posted to vanish. Gone. Erased.

Videos, PDFs, everything - gone.

Of course, that also means all the podcasts to this blog.

Thanks. Much.

No email, just - "your account is locked" when I tried to login.  Checking my back posts found all their links removed. I have today's post here and another on a different blog - because it was posted accidentally using a different login (one that Indian author I've been telling you about set up and gave me access to.)

All the various things I'd posted are now vanished. Most of it I still have on my hard drives - somewhere. Some of it should never have been posted. Many of these were tests.

No, I don't know why.

Good thing I'm moving to Rainmaker. (More on that below.)

But this is what I've mentioned (on one of those podcasts) that you don't want to digital sharecrop any longer than you have to. Because all of your stuff could vanish on you - quite suddenly. For me, it was within an hour of posting (or less - it took me that long to revisit for a new post.)

But as to why locked account and removed all files - there's little on line. One point (which I already suspected) is "commercial intent." I did absent-mindedly put two affiliate links into my last post (they were in the blog already.) That's all it took. Years of content gone.

Of course, I turned around and created a new login - which I've read isn't always possible. I'm not going to tempt fate by putting up the same offending files - even though I could probably get by with no descriptions (ignoring SEO, not wise.) With what I now know (ouch) I'll probably have that account for years more.

The scene with these digital landowners is to keep scammy marketers and spammers off their turf - and yet are prostituting the content which is freely donated to their sites. Content marketing is turning yet another corner - and the phrase "Native Commerce" has come to envelop those who provide content, but also unashamedly ask people to buy their valuable products or services built from that content.

The trick is - you can't do both. All the digital landowners can pull your sharecropping license anytime they want. This is usually when you try to earn income off their hosting. Non-profit or for-profit, their business model is in having people donate or pay them for access. Meanwhile, they can run ads to defray their operating expenses. If you are a threat to that income stream, then off you go.

Your best solution is to simply work from the very few honestly open platforms (or, like Blogger, recompense their sponsor, Google, by providing user information) - and build up your income to the point of bootstrapping your business into being able to invest in paid-for services.

Meanwhile, what do we do for our podcast now that Internet Archives kicked us out?

Looking For a Cheap Replacement 

The biggest problem turns out to be two.

If you're going to host podcasts somewhere, they have to have huge bandwidth capability (when you become really popular) and they should fit into iTunes technical feed demands.

I did look up possible replacements, but it's mostly seems that you can't host without paying, basically. One possible replacement - Google Drive.

But another post says that you then can't make an iTunes feed from Google Drive hosted-MP3's, for a similarly arcane technical reason. In other words, it will play just fine on Android, but not on anything Apple. Your files will be available on Stitcher, for instance.

Well, having 50% of all mobile devices out there can't be all bad...

And it was simple enough to re-upload all my files to Google Drive again.

The next two problem areas showed up immediately: Can I get an embedded MP3 player like had - and how do I get the file name to enter as the enclosure link?

Getting a nice little embedded player.

This could be trickier. This code will work on a blogger blog. (note: the code itself tended to start running when you go back to Compose mode)

That's all HTML 5 code, so it works in all modern browsers. (There are Flash versions, but these are disappearing gradually.)

Let's see:

When editing the blog post, it shows up, but doesn't do anything until you hit "preview" or actually publish.

Ok, that new file works just fine. But Google doesn't give you a  usable link for MP3's you post there:

One workaround is to use their embedded viewer. (Found by going to Google Drive, right-clicking on the file itself and selecting "preview", which will overlay in your browser window and start playing - unless you turn the darned thing off. Then go to the upper right corner and click "pop-out". This will then give you a static window in a new tab. Clicking "more actions" on the top menu bar enables an embed code to show: 

Note the width and height sizes there. change these to a width of 400 and a height of 100 and you'll get a nice little player like this: 

(If you mouse-over, you'll see a little pop-out option in the corner - nice to get your file playing elsewhere via social sharing...)

How to get a Google Drive MP3 file name is tricky.

But once you get it set up, you have unlimited amounts of audio files to share.

You have to get the folder file name. (Thanks to StackOverFlow for this discussion and image.)

Then you paste it into the following URL:[folder-name]/[file-name.mp3]

That filename is the original name exactly as you uploaded it.

I started out with a folder like this:

and then created the file-name address as:

(Use a generic text editor and copy/paste.)

Note: The folder has to be shared as "Public on the web" ("Anyone can find and view"), not just "Anyone can view", or it won't work.

This then worked well with the embed code above:

Testing it in the Enclosure Link showed that Blogger accepted it. Yay! We're now podcasting with Blogger.

Is it worth it?

If you're doing this from scratch, I'd say so. It's a way to get started.

Of course, you could just avoid my mistakes and continue using without offending them somehow (I did, for years.)

Again, the idea is that you run a frugal, sustainable home publishing business. One that pays its own way, not continually borrowing from your day job income. Eventually, you'll get your sales up to the point that it's covering all your broadband, domain, and hosting costs.

A bit above that is when you can get into a Pro hosting scene such as Rainmaker, which has unlimited storage and bandwidth, plus enables your podcasting with better analytics than anywhere else (or so I'm told.)

This will be part 2 of this - where I actually port all these files over to Rainmaker, and then embed their player on all these older posts here.

Despite other plans, I'll need to do this today in order to get everything running properly again.

But then the old phrase is right: "Man plans, and God laughs."

- - - -

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See you next time...

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