Practical Ecommerce

The PEC Review: Libsyn for Video, Audio Podcasting

From product or how-to videos to expert audio podcasts, many online merchants use multimedia to help sell products and engage customers.

Examples of ecommerce companies using video and audio abound, but they include REI and Maker SHED.

Yet, both of these examples are from relatively large merchants that have multi-channel sales or other businesses to help cover the expenses associated with hosting and distributing audio and video. How can small business compete?

Meet Libsyn. Libsyn is a mature, simple, and effective audio and video hosting and delivery service that helps thousands of podcasters broadcast their shows. In fact, because Libsyn is effective and has a great pricing model, I am awarding it three and a half stars in this “The PEC Review.”

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column aimed at introducing you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your ecommerce business. This week, let me show you Libsyn.

Video: Libsyn

The Expanding Storage Pricing Model

When I review services, I don’t usually start with the price. But in the case of Libsyn, the price (or at least part of the pricing model) is a feature, in my opinion.

The service has pioneered (Libsyn’s term) a nearly unique billing model, wherein podcast accounts include more and more storage space over time. I’ll explain.

In most hosting models—and remember Libsyn is hosting your audio and video files, among other things—a user pays a flat monthly fee for a set amount of storage. If and when the storage is filled, you pay more.

But with Libsyn, you pay a flat monthly fee and each month your available storage is increased by a set amount. Specifically, the company’s Libsyn Classic 250MB plan costs $15 per month and starts with 250MB of available storage.

In month two, it still costs $15, but the user has all of the video and audio files added during the first month plus the option to upload an additional 250MB. In month three, everything published so far is retained, and another 250MB of files may be added. For every month that you use the service you can add 250MB of files and never pay more.

Pricing plans range from $5 to $75 per month, and each plan progressively includes more services. But it is the concept of getting more storage over time that I think makes so much sense with podcasting, where users generally add episodes over time.

Screen capture, Lipsyn's pricing page.

Screen capture, Lipsyn’s pricing page.

Distribution

Once you have uploaded audio or video files, Libsyn provides several channels that you can use to distribute your podcasts, including an embeddable Flash Player, an blog-like podcast page, and an RSS feed, which could be used to easily add files to your ecommerce platform.

Easy Upload

I also found the system relatively easy to use. Just upload an audio or video file and then add a description, tile, and meta data. And you’re done.

Commercialization

Libsyn is also set up to support advertising, which at first blush might not seem like something that an ecommerce business would need. But I think that this feature may be a good way to interject product or event-specific information into your how-to or entertainment marketing videos and podcasts.

three and one-half stars

Imagine, as an example, that you sell carving tools. You produce a weekly show that features a master carver demonstrating carving techniques. At three points during the show you include a product special. If you edited these ads in yourself, you would have to re-edit and repost the show every time that you wanted to change the promotion.

But with Libsyn, you can dynamically change the ads for your entire library of shows anytime you want. So while you might not be selling advertising in your videos, you can at least swap out your own promotions.

Next, if your business has grown large enough that you can get co-op dollars from vendors, these ads could be a source of marketing funds.

Summing Up

Libsyn is an easy-to-use video and audio podcasting service that goes the extra mile by providing an intriguing pricing model and a helpful way to incorporate promotions into your video and audio files. Bottom line, Libsyn is an effective way to help your ecommerce podcasting efforts, which is why I have awarded the service three and a half stars in this “The PEC Review.”

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

Bio   •   RSS Feed


email-news-env

Sign up for our email newsletter

  1. Lindsay September 28, 2010 Reply

    Thanks so much for the kind words about Libsyn. We would love to know how we can improve the Libsyn platform for other ecommerce customers. Please let us know by leaving a comment here or over on our blog http://imake.libsyn.com

    Lindsay Patross
    Libsyn.com