Yahoo! launches podcast subscription center

Yahoo! just launched My Subscriptions, a new area on Yahoo! Podcasts where users can manage their subscribed podcasts and listen to these audio files online from their browser window. Users can also rate and review each podcast and its individual episodes.

The online audio player uses the Windows Audio format and redirects the stream through Yahoo!’s servers allowing for some additional services as the middleman. I am currently on a high bandwidth connection and Yahoo! is offering me podcasts at 56 Kbps.

Yahoo! passes the audio file location to a JavaScript file to create a new audio stream. Here is a sample JavaScript file for my latest podcast. There are a few interesting variables such as advertisements, beacons, and referrer tracking currently in the JavaScript. As the middleman Yahoo! could choose to insert audio advertisements into my podcast in addition to the large advertisements it already has planned for the center of the player window.

Update 12/16: Joe Hiyashi from the Yahoo! Podcast team contacted me with more information about the service. He told me Yahoo! Podcasts does not intercept any streams and the audio files are served directly from the publisher at the fastest possible speeds both sides allow. The JavaScript I discovered is used for Yahoo!-generated content such as advertising and are not used for podcast content according to Yahoo!.

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