In any new medium the first question I ask, and I suppose most people ask, is "what’s most popular?"
Not that popularity is always a proxy for good, but in a world with a huge number of choices, you’ve got to start somewhere.
So in podcasting, my natural inclination was to find out what was most popular.
The closest thing to a top 10 list is Podcast Alley. It’s a good site. I haven’t done anything close to an exhaustive sample of the most popular podcasts, but some of the ones I like score well on Podcast Alley.
I like the idea. But I don’t like the methodology (at least as I understand it right now). I believe Podcast Alley uses online voting as the method to determine popularity. That seems very prone to error and abuse.
I would love for someone to get in the middle of the podcast feeds and see which podcasts are being subscribed to the most. Feedburner can do that for the podcast feeds they host, but that’s not the entire market by any means.
But even then, that’s not really enough. What we really need to know is what podcasts are getting listened to the most. A subscription doesn’t mean a listen.
I suspect that technology can solve this problem. And I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who is working on it.
In the meantime, I recommend Podcast Alley as a good starting point for anyone interesting in finding good Podcasts to listen to.