What do you mean, Intermediary?
Intermediaries are outside products that offer to customise your RSS feeds as a way to better distribute and monetize your podcast, or gather more analytics.
These services require action (either by you, or by Acast) to put them in between Acast and the podcatcher. This can come in the form of an obfuscated feed or a prefix that is placed directly within your RSS feed. With this mask or prefix, they promise they'll be able to distribute your show and gain valuable insights into your analytics.
How do they work?
Intermediaries work as a sort of messenger between us (Acast) and the podcatcher (like Apple, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, etc.), and they become a go-between.
The way things work on a day-to-day basis (without an intermediary of any sort) is you (the podcaster) produce audio and upload it with us.
From there, we add it to your RSS feed and podcatchers ask us for updates, which we happily provide. In summation, it looks a bit like this:
When a go between like Feedburner gets involved, the process becomes a little more complicated.
You put your hard work in, creating, editing, and publishing the episode. Then Acast updates your RSS feed. The intermediary then takes your RSS feed and becomes the one that the podcatchers request updates from:
Sounds good, so what's the catch?
Intermediaries can cause a lot of trouble. If you ever played telephone as a kid, you know how messages may start at one end of the line but never make it to the end, or when they do the message has changed so much, it isn't even the same one.
Think of an intermediary like that. The first or even second person in line can't tell you where the message dropped, and the person at the end of the line only knows they didn't get the right message (or any message at all).
Having an intermediary between Acast and podcatchers essentially creates additional points of failure for your show distribution (if the intermediary is down or cannot process your content, or cannot distribute it):
In either of the above two scenarios, Acast isn't able to troubleshoot the delivery issues with your show, because something sits between us and the podcatchers.
We don't know where the information has stopped sending. And because we pride ourselves on the proper delivery of your feed to your listeners (and support if you're experiencing an issue), it's a risk that we can't take.
So what about my analytics? Or my extra ads?
As for stats, as you may be aware, Acast is one of a handful of companies which have undertaken the rigorous and expensive process of getting IAB certification for our analytics, in addition to our development several years ago of the PodIndex measurement protocols.
This serves as a guarantee that the analytics we deliver to you adhere to the most stringent standards set by global advertisers (like Coca Cola, Gillette, Audible and dozens more as well as the requirements of the world’s leading publishers (like the BBC, the Guardian, News Corp, and Yahoo).
If monetization is your largest concern here, definitely chat with our Customer Success team. We'll be happy to help offer some pointers to continue to grow your show towards your goal of monetization.