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11/14/2005
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Service Hooks Up Advertisers With Podcasters

The service from Podtrac helps advertisers find podcasts to sponsor, and gives podcasters tools for measuring the demographics of their audio and video 'casts.

Podtrac Inc. has launched a service that lets advertisers find podcasts to sponsor, and gives podcasters a method to profile the demographics of their audio and video podcasts. Podtrac disclosed its plans on Friday at the Portable Media Expo and Podcasting Conference in Ontario, Calif

The third-party measurement, demographics and behavioral profiles are free to podcasters. "Podcasters on a monthly basis pay hosting fees and they're looking for a model to create revenue," said Mark McCrery, Podtrac's co-founder and CEO. "They don't have enough time to spend on finding the right advertisers for their podcast. They're experts when it comes to content, but not in finding the advertisers."

Advertisers haven't had an easy time finding the content that matches their target audience either. There hasn't been an accurate measuring stick to determine demographics. And without that analysis it's difficult to know the podcaster's audience. Companies such as FeedBurner, which manages RSS feeds for podcasters, do offer some insight. And audio book seller Audible Inc. has unveiled Web-based tools that enable podcasters to provide advertisers with subscriber counts. But podcasters want more.

For its part, Protrac is tying dollars to downloads with analytics. The software that provides measurements is built on a Microsoft Visual Basic .Net platform. It uses a combination of cookies and algorithms based on Internet protocol addresses from person downloading the podcast. Podtrac collects the data using technology that encodes the XML of an RSS feed and the direct URL links on a podcaster's Web site when a listener downloads a podcast segment. Podtrac also receives notification from the podcaster's server that the transaction is complete.

The data collected includes the date and time the download started and completed based on the server time, the source of the podcast download, the unique podcast identification number that is assigned by Podtrac collection technology, and whether the request came through a URL or an RSS feed.

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