Anyone who has been around the internet long enough knows never to believe in an “unlimited” free plan. However, most companies generally take a smoother approach to address this problem by giving a 6 month warning period and offering several pricing tiers to capture users at different levels of utilization.
At Zencastr, they like to do things a bit differently! 24 hours notice, our free plan is gone, and you can now apply to this Creator+ thing, maybe.
There’s some sort of new monetization network they’ve unveiled that you have to apply to in order to be a “Creator+”. According to Zencastr, this new monetization network promises to empower podcasters of all sizes to generate income from their content, irrespective of their hosting and distribution platforms. The magic behind this transformation? Zencastr’s “Brand Match” AI, a fancy-sounding tool that supposedly matches brands to podcasters based on audience interests. All this, while keeping listener privacy intact – because, of course, Zencastr cares deeply about their users.
The new monetization network lets creators choose how they’d like to monetize their content. “Power to the niche creators!” Zencastr’s CEO, Josh Nielsen, proudly exclaimed. Which is all well and good, except, wasn’t the unlimited free plan one of the main attractions for these “niche creators” in the first place? Will the network monetize that podcast for your non-profit cause that relies on Patreon to exist?
Adding a cherry on top of their generosity sundae, Zencastr’s new monetization network claims to be user-friendly and totally non-exclusive. Meaning, podcasters on any platform can join and earn (cash?, Disney dollars? who knows), even if they’re hosted elsewhere. The Zencastr team will review each application and work with podcasters to determine the best monetization method.
However, amidst this flurry of benevolence, it’s hard to ignore Zencastr’s recent move to downsize its free plan. The introduction of the monetization network seems like a conveniently timed distraction. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “Sure, we’re taking away your unlimited free plan, but look at this shiny new thing!”
Zencastr’s new monetization network may indeed offer a consistent revenue stream for creators, allowing them to focus on creating great content. But one can’t help but wonder if this is just a sugar-coated attempt to placate podcasters who are upset about the abrupt changes to the free plan.
As you can imagine, users had a few words:
Zencastr’s free version is getting majorly nerfed – FYI. We’re looking for new options now.— Adam Muir 🦅 (@adammuir) March 17, 2023
Fellow podcasters help please! After discovering to my horror tonight that my free zencastr plan has changed so much as to be no use I’m looking for an alternative recording set up. I think I need better than zoom really though I do already pay for that. Recommendation please— bedside reading podcast (@bedsidepodcast) March 23, 2023