From the beginning, said Daron Babin, the site's co-founder, everything on the site?including the podcasts?was optimized for search engines.
"We optimized the RSS feeds, and the file names," he said. "When you distribute content on a large-scale basis then you have to be willing to do what you need to to get your information out there."
Babin also submitted his podcasts to many of the more popular podcast search engines and repositories.
Although his file names were descriptive, and he used metadata to tease out more keywords, there was no real way for someone to search the actual content of the podcasts. This made it more difficult for him to charge site visitors for content, he said.
"Even if you optimize a file, you're still dependent on a minimum-wage data-entry person listening to the file and writing a single paragraph description of what he thought [the file] was about," Babin said.
This fall, Babin made a decision to change that. He paid to have every one of his site's hundreds of podcasts transcribed. Once this chore was complete, he was able to put the entire transcript into the sound file's ID3 tag?the tag that contains an audio file's identifying information. The result is a tag that is completely keyword searchable, he said.
"You're still going to be able to get that synopsis, but you're also getting a multimedia chunk wrapped with every word spoken so you can create keywords more easily," he said."
This lets site visitors search for common as well as more obscure terms and words. Babin also developed an application that lets users create keyword hit lists--audio files that contain content from multiple files.
"If the program finds your keyword in more than one file, it will dynamically grab it in the audio and put them all together in a single file," he said. "This saves you a lot of time. You don't have to listen to five hours of audio to find just what you're looking for."
This functionality, which costs "an arm and a leg," will end up making the company money, he said.
"We're going to put an hourglass on the podcasts where, for two weeks, you can get podcasts for free that contain ads, but after two weeks you'll pay to research the database," he said. "This optimization is going to help us continue to grow the business model and continue all our work."