Apple Drops iTunes Podcast Directory Update Listing/Ping (pingPodcast) Function



We need you to speak out! Apple quietly removed the iTunes Podcast Directory update listing/ping functionality (also known as pingPodcast) earlier this week. You, our content creators, are no longer able to update your listing directly and audiences will have to wait up to 24 hours to access your shows. This is NOT acceptable and is extremely disappointing news for our digital media creators.

The iTunes update directory listing ping service (pingPodcast) allowed podcasters to both verify their feed address that iTunes is pulling, as well as notify iTunes that a new episode has been published. The ping service could be called upon with either the URL to the feed or with the iTunes podcast FEEDID. See examples below:

The URLS above now redirect to the Apple iTunes online store.

This has been an extremely important function for you, our digital media creators, and we need you to all work toward convincing Apple to restore this feature. Please make your thoughts and concerns known to Apple here. It is imperative that we impress upon them the importance of this service!

We are unaware of why they have removed this feature, but we have reached out to Apple to see if there will be an alternative. According to Apple.com forums, podcast feeds will be pulled once every 24 hours. There’s no comment yet how podcast owners can verify their feed listed on iTunes, as the pingPodcast feature was the only way to verify iTunes was updating your listings with the correct feed address.

Apple has removed information on the ping service from the official iTunes podcast specifications document.  Documentation of the previous iTunes podcast specifications can be found on WaybackMachine.org.  Source

From a reply on the apple.com forums from Apple staff, the “link feature” (aka pingPodcast URL) “may no longer be available to podcast publishers.” The staff further explains “this isn’t anything to worry about, iTunes still handles podcast entries the same way, and you are correct in your understanding that by default, the iTunes Store directory reads every feed once per day”. Source

When used, the pingPodcast service returns both the unique iTunes FEEDID as well as the current FEED URL for a given podcast. The information is invaluableto anyone who wants to verify that iTunes is updating the specified podcast listing on iTunes with the correct feed address. With the removal of the pingPodcast function, podcasters can no longer verify their feed URL address used for iTunes podcast directory. Again, here is the link to make your thoughts and concerns known to Apple.

Until Apple restores the pingPodcast service or replaces it with another API service for podcast listing verification, Blubrry.com will no longer be able to provide support to podcasters who have problems with their podcast listings on  iTunes. It is imperative that they return this function or replace it immediately with another service enabling digital media creaters to verify their feed list on iTunes!

Our digital media community has strength in numbers, and if we work together, we are confident we will resolve this troubling development.

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16 thoughts on “Apple Drops iTunes Podcast Directory Update Listing/Ping (pingPodcast) Function

  1. A couple relevant observations:

    First, the functionality of ping podcast was not available to me on last Saturday night when I tried it.

    Second… that said… the iTunes Store listing WAS updated within an hour of me posting the latest episode… available for browsers very soon after posting. So is their automated process efficient enough they don’t need the ping podcast process anymore, or was my update a fluke?

    I usually don’t pay so close attention to it, but I just had launched a new show that was climbing the New & Noteworthy charts rather quickly in Spirituality,

    Peace.

    1. There are two issues here, one being the ability to update your listing on iTunes promptly, and the other being able to confirm/check your listing on iTunes is updating from the correct feed address. With the pingPodcast feature offline, podcasters are no longer able to do either of these functions.

      Regarding Sean’s comment, we believe iTunes engineers have logic in place to pull podcast feeds based on update frequency. If you post once a week on Friday morning, they will pull your feed the following week around that same time. We don’t know this for sure, but our web logs suggest this is what is happening. This does not help those who put an episode out at 8am one day, then another episode at 4pm the next.

  2. This is not acceptable.
    Before you can leave a comment on the iTunes link above, they are asking what is your “Specific Request”.

    What do you recommend out of the last 3 choices that seem appropriate?

    ~brian

    1. Brian: we recommend the option “I need help with podcasts”, though you use use the option that seems appropriate for your submission.

  3. I may be missing something here, but last night I updated my blog with a new episode and as I always do in my PowerPress plugin I hit the “ping itunes” link in the iTunes tab of tat plugin.

    Normally I just get a message that says “itunes has been pinged” but this time my browser launched itunes and went to the home page. So, next I checked my podcast feed inside iTunes and my new episode was listed there. It seamed like an instant process and even faster than previos with the ping method? I’m not seeing the delay in this case? Again, am I missing something?

    Regarding the verifying feed issue… can someone please better explain the issue? I’m not clear on what this means?

  4. Okay, here’s a strane one… above I said the iTunes listing was correct. Well, it turns out my subscription was instantly linking and started to download the new episode to my computer however itunes did not and is not showing the latest episode on their service. Go figure? Seams like there is a break in the system when new episodes are being found and downloaded although itunes is not listing them yet. Frustrating!

  5. I’m really close to dropping more of our Apple influence on our podcasts… This now and earlier iWeb barely functioning (posting fails with bizarre errors; Apple support wrongly suggests rebuilding the site – iWeb for us = anyone can post a podcast)… Apple is losing the plot to make our lives easier.

    My church podcast refresh Sunday at either 10AM or Noon. NOW it won’t refresh for 24 hours to 4 DAYS! This is NOT acceptable…

    Big Thumbs down to Apple on this

  6. Yes this is disappointing. My new episode seems available to subscribers but is yet to appear on my iTunes page in the store, and on my iOS device. My show is only monthly, but this all makes the iTunes store seem less relevant for those searching for current daily or weekly content. Wise up, Apple! 24 hours for updates is pathetic in this day and age!

  7. Add this to the already long list of crap Apple has done make things harder. They are the NEW Big Brother.

  8. Second… that said… the iTunes Store listing WAS updated within an hour of me posting the latest episode… available for browsers very soon after posting. So is their automated process efficient enough they don’t need the ping podcast process anymore, or was my update a fluke?

    1. iTunes is efficient, but not perfect. They are using some intelligent logic to predict when you will create your next episode, then pull your feed a few hours after that time. They also pull the feed daily. But if they have a problem parsing the feed or it takes too long to download, they will skip and come back to it later. So you may get your listing updated within an hour after release, or it may take a few days, all depend on the timing, situation and conditions.

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