Daniel asked me this question on Slack:
"We just started our company's podcast on Anchor. Why should we switch to Transistor?"
First, I'll say I admire what Michael and his team are doing with Anchor. They're trying to make podcasting more accessible to hobbyists and individuals that are new to the medium. That's awesome.
But Transistor is different. We built it for makers who are using podcasts to build their brand and grow their audience. This includes big companies, like Cards Against Humanity and Kickstarter, smaller companies, like Joe Workman's Weaver's Space, and individual brands, like Mike Vardy's Productivityist.
In his Anchor review, Scott Hastie describes why you wouldn't want to host with Anchor:
If you’re serious about starting a podcast for personal brand or business reasons, then Anchor probably isn’t for you. When podcasting with Anchor, your content will be heavily branded by them. Because it’s free, they’ll take the opportunity to promote themselves anywhere and everywhere your content can be found. That’s the trade off.
If you have a personal brand or business, Transistor is built for you. With Anchor, quickly publishing audio is easy, but comes with some downsides.
Transistor gives you control over your podcast's website.
You have two options:
Furthermore, websites hosted on Transistor can integrate with your email newsletter (Mail Chimp, Drip, and ConvertKit). Now you can collect email signups right from your podcast's homepage and episode pages.
Anchor doesn't currently support custom domains (yourpodcast.com), but Transistor does!
One of the hardest parts about starting a new show is you need to manually submit it to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and other podcast directories. This can take quite a bit of time, especially if you need to sign up for a new Apple ID, or Google Play account.
On their website, Anchor promises to automatically "distribute your podcast to major platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music with just one click."
The problem is that to do that automatically, they have to cheat a little. Scott Hastie explains:
They submit your show to iTunes/Apple Podcasts through their own account too, which means you don’t “own” your show’s listing in the biggest podcast directory in the world. You also won’t be able to access your Apple Podcast stats because of this.
In the podcasting world, your Apple Podcasts account is your key to many of the other directories. Overcast, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Castro, Listen Notes, and others all scrape the iTunes director. It's kind of like the master copy.
If you don't control your iTunes listing, you lose a major piece of control over your podcast's future.
One thing both Transistor and Anchor can do is automatically submit your show to Spotify (we're both official partners).
The issues with Anchor heavily branding themselves over your content, as well as effectively owning your show in places like iTunes, means that they really aren’t an option if you want to create a serious and long-term podcast.
Anchor's current podcast player lacks a lot of controls. Here's how it looks:
Transistor's podcast player that looks like this:
The Transistor player allows you to:
Our player also has great sharing tools; just hover over the player and click the "Share" link. (Incidentally, I couldn't get Anchor's share icon to work).
True to its mission, Anchor provides simple, easy-to-read stats for its users.
Transistor's podcast analytics go into more detail:
Our podcast stats will show you:
In addition to what we've mentioned above, there are other reasons you might want to think twice about creating your show on their platform.
When George Kao created his show on Anchor, he noticed a big deal-breaker:
Anchor puts an advertisement about their platform into the beginning or end of every podcast episode that you create/upload with their platform.
After getting criticism about the practice, Anchor modified this slightly: their post-roll ads are still turned on as a default, but you can now "opt-out" in your advanced settings.
Similarly, you'll notice most shows on Anchor have their logo embedded in the show art.
Again, this is turned on as a default and has to be manually turned off.
If you start your podcast on Anchor and want to move it to a different platform, there's no way to automatically forward your RSS feed. Almost all the other podcast hosting companies (including Transistor) make it easy to forward your RSS feed to another provider.
But with Anchor, you have to manually email support and ask them to forward your feed. Our customers have had to wait up to a week for Anchor's support to complete this task.
(Also, remember, if you use Anchor's to submit to Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify, you'll lose control over those submissions if you switch as well).
On Anchor, you can't host multiple shows from the same account.
Don't limit your creativity! Transistor allows you to host unlimited shows on the same account, for one monthly price. (Making more shows is one of the best ways to increase the number of listeners you get each month).
It depends. If you're starting your podcast for fun, or out of personal curiosity, it might be a good fit for you.
But if you're looking to build "a serious and long-term podcast" (as Scott says), you should use a professional podcast platform like Transistor.