Requesting Reviews for Podcasts

Anyone involved in podcasting knows that reviews drive new listeners. While it’s possible that downloads are a stronger signal for iTunes, there’s no question that reviews placed there play a large part.

Most podcasters are losing money on the venture, and do it because they enjoy it. Kudos coming in may be the only renumeration they receive. More listeners means more kudos, all else equal.

So, it’s perfectly understandable that podcasters will ask their listeners to review their podcast. I see no problem with that.

Where I do see a problem is that all too many podcasters ask for a “five star review”. This is highly problematic.

According to the FTC:

Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions or experiences of the endorser, and your plan could cause people to make up positive reviews…

Instead, they should ask for honest feedback via the review mechanism. If they are putting out a quality production, most of the reviews will be positive.

If they’re serious about their craft, they should want to hear about any areas in which they will improve

Unfortunately, at least among the podcasts I listen to (history and business podcasts, mostly), I almost never hear a request for an honest review.

Lastly, if you are a podcaster who gets a negative review, fix the problem if you can, and keep encouraging reviews. The negative review will be buried in positive ones soon enough.

If you’re unable to fix the problem, maybe you need to give more thought to what you’re putting out.