Friday night I learned that one of my favorite pod-casting sites, Cinch.fm, was shutting down. The news hit me like a lead brick. Sure, shutting down is something that can happen when you use a 3rd-party tool. It was a real let down though, considering I had invested time linking to them and growing 1014 followers and creating 284 recordings. I was hit by the lack of customer service too, but we can certainly learn from this story; so that is what I'm going to share today.
First Things First – Where You Can Find My Podcasts
I share quick (approx 5 minutes) tips during the week. I took a break in the summer, but now that my kiddo is back in school, I'm recording again. You can find them here:
Provide Customer Service Even If The Service You Are Providing is No Cost
I did not pay to use the Cinch.fm tool. The same holds true for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a myriad of other online social media tools that I use. However, I felt quite let down when I received a note on a Friday night indicating that I would no longer be able to use their service on the following Monday morning.
“Had any thought been put into this timing?”
“How do I communicate to those that followed me where they can move to continue the conversation?”
“They are really going to let someone create an account on the 20th and then shut down the same day?!”
“I had plans this weekend! Now, I'm going to have to deal with this junk.” [a little temper tantrum]
“OK, I'll have to change my podcast procedures, decide and download a new iPhone recording app, change links on my blogs, update my auto-posting to remove all of the cinches…”
The Cinch.fm team could have done a better job of thinking about the impact that their choices would make on their users. They did give a couple of months to download recordings, but they did not consider the communication ramification at all. Their email went out late on a Friday night, meaning that many of their users would not even see the note until Monday morning at the earliest. They gave one business day to come up with a plan. Not nice BlogTalkRadio.
Lesson #1: When you are giving away your teleseminars, e-books or special reports, what kind of service are you delivering to your customers? The service you deliver is a direct reflection of what you will be like for your for-profit programs and services.
One Platform Used to Be Sufficient
Back in the day, having your assets shared in one location used to be a sufficient way to get your message out. Today, third-party services are starting and stopping every day. When I chose to start using Cinch.fm two years ago, the fact that their parent company was BlogTalkRadio helped me feel comfortable that their site would be around for the long haul.
Fortunately, I had a process designed to download each recording directly after I created it. Many don't. Do you have backups of your videos and podcasts? If you don't, start that today!
As you can see from my list of where you can find my audios, I'll continue to use 3rd party services, but I don't put all of my eggs in one basket. I have systems in place to record once and syndicate across the web.
This type of thing can happen with your blog posts as well as any other data you share on the web.
Lesson #2 – ALWAYS have a backup of your data.
Lesson #3 – Spreading the joy by syndicating your content is a great way to have more people find you and diminish the effects of a service shutting down.
Here is the Note I Received:
Below is a copy of the email I received on Friday night. I've shared my initial thoughts in blue just as an example of how your simple status communication might be perceived by others.
Date: August 17, 2012 10:47:29 PM CDT
Subject: Cinch.FM is Shutting Down!
Dear Cinch.FM users,
It is with great sadness that I announce that we are shutting down the Cinch.FM service. While we continue to believe that easily creating audio content has an important place in the digital world, we just do not have the engineering and product resources to maintain the service while continuing to invest in our main property, BlogTalkRadio. We’d like to make the transition off of Cinch.FM as smooth as possible for you by providing the steps necessary for preserving your content.
Effective August 20th, 2012, no new accounts can be created on Cinch.FM and for those of you with an existing Cinch.FM account, you will no longer be able to create new audio recordings.
Your existing content will remain online and available until October 20, 2012 – two months from the shut down date. Cinch.FM players that have been published on your blog or any other website will continue to function until that date. In addition, the RSS feed for your account will remain available for the same period.
If you would like to save any of your recordings, please log in to the Cinch.FM web site immediately and download your audio content. To download your content, you may login here. If you have a large volume of content that you would like to download, we recommend that you use the RSS feeds available in your account and a podcast client.
After October 20, 2012, your content will be permanently deleted, and we will not be able to retrieve it.
I know that many of you actively use the Cinch.FM service, but please know that this turn of events saddens us as well and we are truly sorry. We’re incredibly thankful for our Cinch.FM community of users.
Again thank you for being a Cinch.FM user.
Bob Charish, COO Cinch.FM