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 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.