Today I share parts of a conversation I had, but as I'm saying my negative opinion of a certain practice, I'm not saying the company, and I've replaced the actual guest with an AI-generated voice (from 11 labs). If you plan on paying for a service to promote your show, this is a MUST LISTEN. We also talk about Apple evaporating your downloads is a GOOD thing.

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Verified Downloads vs Verified Listens In Podcasting

According to the IAB standard 2.1, one of the criteria is, “To count as a valid download, the ID3 tag plus enough of the podcast content to play for 1 minute should have been downloaded.” With this in mind, if you create a player that downloads just enough to equal 1 minute of content, it will appear as a download (there are other criteria, but this is one of the big ones that everyone quotes).

A verified Listen is when a player DOESN'T Preload, and the file only starts to go from the hosting service to the device when a HUMAN presses play.

So you need to go deeper if someone says, “We have Verified IAB 60-second download” there is a difference between verified and certified.

GDPR and CCPA Compliance

GDPR and CCPA are laws in Europe and Canada that protect user privacy.

If you are using a service you might want to see if the number of services goes down when you talk about Europe.

Chartable (owned by Spotify) has documentation for GDPR and CCPA

You want to be sure any service you are using takes into account GDPR and CCPA.

Who Would Ignore Inflated Numbers?

Big companies with big budgets get the green light to create a podcast (probably with an inflated team) and then they need to show some growth and return on investment. So they hire a company that places an add, they show LOTS of downloads (with somewhere between 0 and 20% retention rate) and LOTS of data to show you, not just downloads but what type of person is listening. The marketing manager saves their job and gets their budget approved for the next quarter.

For the record I understand why advertisers would want this, but not at the expense of inflating numbers. Any podcaster who wants advertisers should run a survey with their audience. If the audience isn't engaged enough to fill out a form, well, then how engaged are they going to be to buy a product?

But What Happens to the Verified Downloads When You Turn Off the Campain?

When I asked if the download stopped the answer was, “They will Yeah, so it's like, you know, I'd reckon it's like, you know, it's, it's pretty pronounced.”

My Biggest Worry About Podcast Advertising

If we use inflated numbers to boost programmatic ad payouts, the advertisers lose. This may not be obvious in 2024 as an onslaught of political ads comes into the space, but what happens in 2025?

The DIY Way to Promote Your Podcast Yourself

Why not set up a page with a player (from your host that doesn't pre-load, and have a trailer or a welcome message (maybe a video saying thanks for stopping by).

The player there is to give them a taste and then have buttons to follow your show on Apple, Spotify, PocketCasts, and Amazon. (that will cover the majority of listeners)

Then you can use a click tracking tool like Switchy, so you can see how many people went to your landing page, and which follow buttons were clicked


Each month, I ask you to chime in on the show so we all can learn together. Be sure to tell us about your show and mention your website.

Leave Your Answer at

Where I Will Be?

I look forward to seeing you all, please come up and say hi. To see my full itinerary, go to

Mentioned In This Episode

Join the School of Podcasting Community

Eleven Lab AI Voice Generator

Profit From Your Podcast Book

Power of Podcasting Network

Dave's YouTube Channel

Dave's Podcasting Newsletter

Buy Dave a Coffee

Put Dave In Your Pocket

Where Will Dave Be?

Question of the Month

Time Stamps

00:01:40 – Opening

00:02:18 – Apple Stats Evaporates 30% Of Your Downloads

00:05:47 – Trying Not to Get Sued

00:07:45 – How This Service Works

00:09:26 – Does Your Player Preload?

00:11:51 – The Terms You Need to Understand

00:12:42 – Power Rant: Do Your Job

00:14:57 – Make Yourself Look Good By Comparing Yourself to Something Bad

00:16:47 – Enter Attribution

00:17:30 – Working on Auto Follows

00:18:56 – It's Not Fake?

00:19:54 – How Did You Get My Information?

00:20:12 – Admission of Preloading/Buffering

00:21:23 – All About the Data

00:22:57 – Retargeting Equals More Ad Spend

00:23:38 – Verified Downloads Are Not Good Enough

00:24:09 – The Purpose of This Company

00:24:31 – A Specific Case

00:25:41 – Retention Numbers

00:26:18 – Cost Per Listener

00:27:07 – History Lesson: Twitterbombing

00:28:39 – The Takeaways

00:32:50 – Other Bad Stats

00:33:57 – My YouTube Shorts Stat

00:34:45 – Question of the Month


This episode originated at


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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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