Truth about iTunes Subscriptions and Dropped pingPodcast – TAP032

What you've heard about iTunes's auto “unsubscribing” and pingPodcast is probably wrong. Hear some truth plus two new launches for podcasters.

iTunes's automatic “unsubscribing”

It's an often-taught misconception that iTunes will automatically unsubscribe people from a podcast if they don't listen to recently downloaded episodes. The truth is that, although they will not show up in any of your stats as a downloader or subscriber, their subscription is only paused until they listen to an episode or tell iTunes to resume updating the podcast.

Apple drops pingPodcast from iTunes directory

“pingPodcast” is a method for updating your podcast listing in the iTunes Store podcast directory. pingPodcast has nothing to do with how your subscribers receive your episodes. When someone subscribes to your podcast via iTunes, they are directly connected to your RSS feed and only have to rely on their iTunes software's settings for how often it checks that feed for new episodes (the default is once daily).

More more information, read “Apple Drops iTunes Podcast Directory Update Listing/Ping (pingPodcast) Function” by Angelo Mandato and “Apple removes Ping Feature Podcasters Need from iTunes!” by Todd Cochrane.

For a laugh, here's that actual response I received from Gary, iTunes Store Senior Advisor.

… Ping feature has been subsumed by Advanced in the self-calibrating RSS reader.

Blubrry PowerPress 2.0

PowerPress is the best podcasting plugin for WordPress, and it just got better with PowerPress 2.0! It's best feature are HTML5 video and audio players, options for listeners to embed your episode on their site, and enhanced episode entry. Read the PowerPress 2.0 announcement for more information.

Podcast Perspective is a new podcast about podcasting

Steve Riekeberg comes from an audio-production background, so I look forward to what he'll share in his just-launched Podcast Perspective (maybe I'm sharing this prematurely).

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

16 comments on “Truth about iTunes Subscriptions and Dropped pingPodcast – TAP032

  1. J van Harling says:

    OS X Spotlight can search in the "current" folder go to : Finder>>Preferences>>Advanced
    -"When preforming search" select "Search the current folder"

    1. Handy! That wasn't there in OS X 10.5. But it still defaults to contents rather than file name. Thanks for pointing this out!

      1. J van Harling says:

        Sorry that i cannot be of more help, myself i usually begin by typing the file extension, and work back from there, (maybe there is a good 3rd party tool, but i honestly don`t know of any from personal experience)

  2. Thanks for the most excelent explanation on the iTunes pingPodcast dropage. Looking forward to a Blubrry PowerPress 2.0 review!

    1. Thanks! Do you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch? Visit my site on it and play the audio. You should see the awesomeness that is included for free with PowerPress 2.0. (Hint: HTML5 audio/video player!)

  3. Steve Riekeberg says:

    Thanks for mentioning Podcast Perspective, Daniel! I admit I was surprised to see this as I haven't done any promotion yet–though I'm kind of glad, because before I could record the second episode, I came down with a severe infection that grew into pneumonia, which is the reason for a brief delay in production.
    My passion is podcasting and new media, so I'm in this for the long haul. There are already a few "podcasts about podcasting," but I wanted to bring my own unique perspective.

    1. Great to have you on the ride, Steve! Just like I mentioned in episode 31, we're all painting a three- or four-dimensional object of "podcasting," but each from our own perspectives. I look forward to hearing what you cover!

  4. Completely Comics says:

    Was the Ping quote from 'Hunt for Red October?'

    1. Yes, it was! You get 200,317 points! When I was a kid, The Hunt for Red October was my mom's favorite movie, and she would often quote the line, "One ping, and one ping only" (albeit not a verbatim quotation).

  5. Acerimmer says:

    Great podcast! I've enjoyed it and learned much. Presently prepping my own podcast. Decided my UbuntuStudio gear would benefit from a mixer/mic addition. But will that work with linux?

    1. Thanks! But I can't speak for Linux. If your new equipment connects to your PC via USB (which is what I suggest if you're not recording into a separate recorder), then you may need Linux-specific drivers.

  6. kiatlc says:

    Hi Daniel, how to change how frequent the itunes check for podcast update? I don't see this option

    1. To change your podcast download frequency, follow these steps (based on iTunes 10.x).

      Go to Podcasts in iTunes (not the podcasts directory, but your subscriptions).
      Click the "Settings" button in the lower-left.
      Switch "Settings for" to "Podcast defaults."
      Now change "Check for new episodes" to whatever frequency you want: every hour, every day (the default), every week, or manually.
      Click OK.

  7. Good explanations of both your main topics. Though when you first mentioned "the truth about Ping Podcast," it seemed as though you were suggesting that podcasters shouldn't be upset that it had been removed, and was a bit surprised when you worked around to agreeing that we should. I knew exactly what it did and didn't do, but found it inconvenient not to have the option.

    I think the Apple engineer must have been referring to the RSS reader built into iTunes in that cryptic response (not so much "the truth about Ping Podcast" as "the obfuscation about Ping Podcast"). There's no RSS reader involved in *producing* your podcast feed for iTunes.

    BTW, "subsume" rhymes with "resume."

    And "Goetsch" rhymes with "sketch." Just so you know.

    1. Hi, Sallie! Thanks for your comment.

      My point was to clarify to podcasters what pingPodcast actually did. Most of the podcasters I heard talk about it thought it meant their subscribers wouldn't get episodes as quickly.

      I don't see how the podcatching ability of iTunes would update a podcast's iTunes directory listing.

      "Subsume"? Yeah, after the episode, I asked myself, "Did I really pronounce that 'subsummed' the whole time?"

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