Negative reviews

At the beginning of our journey, we received a rash of negative reviews of our work. Though it sometimes stung, we made changes over time to address these concerns and haven’t often received this kind of critical feedback since, which is a problem.

We aren’t so big that we get much in the way of online discussion or mentions in the press, so I went looking. With the interest in screen-free ways to access audio, like Yoto player, Tonie, and our sponsor Storybutton, I decided to dive into forums that discuss the experience of listening to audio on these platforms.

It’s important to note that these listeners have far different expectations than those sharing an iPhone or iPad with their kids. They also are not necessarily aware of what a podcast is or the community built around podcasts such as ours.

There were two criticisms I have found stated time and time again.

The first was advertising. It’s an understandable complaint. We have gone a few weeks without an ad, and then boom, there is an advertisement for bed sheets or meal delivery before every story. I don’t like ads much either, but without ads, there wouldn’t be stories like Bernice the Bear, which their kids seem to love. People don’t often realize that others have a mortgage to pay.

The other complaint concerned our birthday shoutouts. “Why the hell are there 100 birthday shoutouts before a story?” was one complaint. Kids love hearing their names on a podcast, and we are often surprised by how popular this part of the show has become. But it hasn’t scaled well. Even after charging $35US per shoutout, we still get inundated with requests.

We haven’t considered creating with these closed platforms in mind, but as I find more of these criticisms and the platforms increase in popularity, we’ll likely make more changes to how we produce our audio.