Today I just found out (via The Green Skeptic) that The Nature Conservancy is now offering a podcast: Nature Stories Podcast. I’m quite interested in the environment, so I clicked right over to add that show’s feed to my feed reader. (What’s a feed? And a podcast?)
I looked for a feed link on that page, but found none. However, there is a link that says “Subscribe to podcast.” I clicked on that and got taken to a form where they expected me to provide my name, e-mail, street address, etc. just to sign up for their podcast!
It seems to me that whoever put this site together doesn’t understand that feeds ARE a type of permission contact. But it’s a type of contact that offers the subscriber maximum control and privacy.
If you want to build a relationship with people, it’s important to respect their communication and contact preferences…
Someone who wants to subscribe to your feed doesn’t want to give you their e-mail address. Therefore, it’s counterproductive to require identifying or contact information before granting access to the feed URL.
Here’s the message that strategy sends: “I know you want my feed, so you want information from me. But I don’t respect your privacy, so I’m going to force you to give me your e-mail and street addresses too, whether or not you want me to contact you through those channels.”
Not exactly a great start to a new relationship.
I provided dummy contact information, and then got taken to a page that gave the feed URL which is, by the way: http://podcast.prx.org/nature/rss.xml.
So now if you wish to subscribe to that podcast, you can do so on your own terms.
If you want permission marketing or advocacy to work, it’s important to respect the audience’s preferences. A preference for a feed is about more than technology it’s about privacy, too.