Three months ago I created a podcast management system. Part of that development was tracking everything that happens with all files, especially RSS. Being a huge stats nerd I freaked when I kept getting regular hits from this ip: 184.108.40.206 to my main RSS feed where the User Agent was null. WTF, a null user agent?
So a little due diligence I found the IP is part of Podshow's block at RackSpace. I skype Chris from Podcast Alley, cause I knew him way back before Podshow, and asked him what was up. Oh yeah, the IP was asking for authentication when I visited so I couldn't see what going on.
I asked him what they were doing with the feeds. His reply was that they were caching them. No big deal. Still problematic in a sense that I am not pinging them to send them an update, but whatever, they got a plan and caching isn't inherintly evil. At this time I requested him to add the User Agent information to the script they were using to pull the feeds. That never happened.
Needless to say I shared this information with a couple of podcasters who immediately blocked the the IP address. But I didn't. So for the last three months they have been hitting not only my feed but the feeds of many other people every half hour and caching them.
But this is where the problem comes in. Yesterday with the botched launch of the new Podshow+. I took a look at the IP which was no longer asking for authentication and took a look around. I look at it like if my feed is public and you are using it in your site and your IP is public and broadcast to my database I can use it too. So I took a look around. Yikes!
I found my feed . . . or did I? What I found as others are finding or any podcaster whether they belong to the network or are paid by podshow is that they are re-writing the cached feeds!! Yup. Changing tags, truncating data, modifying the RSS generator tag to say "Podshow Delivery Network" (Update: it reads "PodShow PDN") and . . . and rewriting the original URL of the feed that they cached. Are you kidding? They don't even link to my original feed. So how would I know people are even subscribed? I wouldn't and they would. More incentive to join their network I guess.
If people weren't sure about Podshow's intent to make money off the back of every podcaster then this is a sure sign that if they did't they sure do now. The fact that Podshow is purporting even at this early stage to be the proprietor of all podcasters is a joke. The arrogance to think that we all somehow owe them or should allow them to rewrite our feeds because their network is the be all end all signals that this is the end for them.
If you would like to stop Podshow from caching your feed and rewriting it as they roll Podcast Alley, Podsafe Music Network and the Podshow home page into the mega Podshow+ PDN then block this IP: 220.127.116.11.
Update: It appears as of 12 a.m. on July 7th the Podshow caching bot or script was turned off. But have some fun checking your logs for their IP address I bet it's there.
Update two: If you would like to see some screen shots and read more of this discussion check out Michael Geoghegan's post or Todd Cochrane's. For some other good opinions, Paul Colligan's "Podshow Hysterics" post and this one from FuzzyBlog. It will be interesting to see where this conversation goes today as this picks up some steam.
Final update then new post: 9:31 a.m. July 7 - Podshow is scraping from the ip again so lets have some fun.
Final final update: 2:05 p.m. July 7 - The XML chicklet link now goes to podcaster's original feeds.