Yesterday the news broke that podcasting community Odeo was purchased by little-known SonicMountain, a New York-based startup, for “a little over $1 million” according to TechCrunch. Since then, I had a chance to chat with SonicMountain president Rick Arturo about his company’s plans for the startup, which include providing tools for not just audio but — naturally — video podcasting as well.
Arturo and SonicMountain CEO Jack Roken told NewTeeVee they are trying to improve on available podcast search and discovery tools. “We’re just a couple of users who didn’t like what was out there,” said Arturo. To that end, they’ve been working on new search technology, and when they saw Odeo up for sale, jumped on the opportunity.
SonicMountain is working on adding video next, either through a partner agreement with a video technology provider or even another acquisition, according to Arturo, who said to expect video functionality in as soon as one to two months. The grand plan is build a site for the community of podcasters and users, with meta-search, feed crawling, and real-time updates as planned features, and non-intrusive advertising to support them.
Arturo and Roken bring to the table their own patent-pending search, which they say features a crawl that indexes not just text data but embedded metadata, such as the ID3 tags in MP3 files. They’ve also built a content hosting platform from the ground up, and are testing content delivery networks such as Amazon to serve files to users.
Odeo’s founder Evan Williams has admitted that he made mistakes developing Odeo, primarily that he built a product “for other people” — not as something he intended to use himself. However, he hasn’t abandoned the product, and will be sticking around to advise the SonicMountain team for six months.
Williams assured that part of the deal was “the commitment by SonicMountain to retain the integrity and spirit of the Odeo community” according to the announcement.
It’s a fairly small transaction, but SonicMountain has big plans. The acquisition of Odeo gives them an instant community to test their new tools and services on, not to mention some Silicon Valley name recognition.