Pride & the Curious Case of an iTunes Hack-Job

I love podcasting, I love being an entrepreneur, and I love being out! I created The Out Entrepreneur, a weekly podcast, to align all of my loves. Since launching the show in January, I have interviewed some of the most inspirational LGBTQ bosses on the planet. By the end of May, I had published 22 episodes, my show was just shy of 2,000 unique downloads, and my audience was growing at a promising clip.

When June 4th rolled around, I had my highest spike in unique downloads, jumping upwards to over 5,300 unique downloads in a matter of only a few days. Hooray! As I watched the stats continue to rise, I began dreaming about all of the potential sponsorships, collaborations, and live events that the show was sure to generate in the months and years ahead.

Like most proud podcasters, I began promoting the show, encouraging people to subscribe and leave reviews on iTunes. As the show gained momentum, I shared some of my successes with my family, and that’s when one of my entrepreneurial lows hit me smack in the face. My partner called me and said that my iTunes account was hacked. Concerned, I took a look at my iTunes page, and found a completely different show title, host, description, and podcast category layered over my own show artwork and reviews.

Before I reached out to Apple, I wanted to confirm that my podcasting website, my RSS feed, and my media hosting account weren’t also hacked. Fortunately, they reflected the correct information. The next step was to investigate other podcast platforms like Player FM and Stitcher. As you can see below, these platforms reflect accurate information about the show.

Digging a little deeper, I noticed four significant problems with what iTunes currently features:

  • The first is that the podcast category is currently listed as Religion & Spirituality instead of Business.

  • The second, the Podcast Website links to Jess N Wheeler’s page, “a full-time mom, part time entrepreneur, kitchen experimentalist, and book lover.” Definitely not me.

 

  • The third, is that the podcast description is affiliated with Stone Creek Christian Church, an organization based in Oregon City, OR dedicated to “lead people to pursue life in Jesus as their greatest passion.” Remember my three loves? Jesus wasn’t included in the first sentence of this blog post, though I do admire his work.

 

So, what to do?

  1. On Monday, I reported a concern to the Apple team, and stated my case as outlined above. Separately, I also submitted a copyright concern, since it appears that two different podcasts are layered on top of my own show. To date, I have yet to hear back from Apple.                                                                                                                                
  2. Earlier this morning, I reached out to Jess N. Wheeler to share my concern about our podcast mix-ups. Thankfully I heard back from her, and she expressed her concern, contacted her RSS feed provider, and suggested that I delete and resubmit my podcast via iTunes Connect. My concern with that approach is that it may impact my ratings & reviews.                                                                                                                                           
  3. A friend and fellow podcast host DeShawn Fontleroy shared my concern with John Lee Dumas’ Podcaster’s Paradise hive mind. The group offered some incredible feedback for the show (thank you), and encouraged me to reach out to my media host to see if they could run interference with iTunes…                                                                                                                              
  4. Which leads me to my next step of this wild adventure; contacting my media host to try to help troubleshoot. I plan to share this blog post with the good people over at Libsyn Media to hopefully resolve the issue, or at minimum get additional guidance.

One last observation – given that June is LGBTQ Pride Month, I can’t help but wonder if the content of my show inspired an internet troll to hack my iTunes account. Given the current political and social climate, it wouldn’t be a stretch to make such a claim. Until I can track down more information and evidence, it’s simply speculation at this point. Given Apple’s strong support of LGBTQ people, and their faith in LGBTQ leaders (yay Tim Cook), it’s my hope that their team will swiftly resolve this issue.

If you have any guidance or suggestions on additional next steps, I'm all ears. Drop me a line here: http://www.rhodesperry.com/contact.

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Rhodes Perry

Rhodes Perry is a nationally recognized expert on LGBTQ and social justice public policy matters, with two decades of leadership experience innovating strategy management, policy and program solutions for corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. At his core, Rhodes is an entrepreneur, where he most recently established Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC, a national diversity and inclusion consulting firm that uses an intersectional approach to collaborate with leaders on creating solutions in the practice areas of strategy management, issue advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. Previously, Rhodes founded the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and prior to this assignment he served as the founding Director of Policy at PFLAG National where he led the policy strategy and advocacy efforts for the organization’s 350 chapters. He cut his teeth serving as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget, where he improved upon federal benefit programs designed to provide assistance to low-income communities. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and obtained a Master of Public Administration from New York University.