Examine Your Podcast RSS Feed.
A distraught book coaching client received an email telling her to “claim her podcast” on a podcast hosting platform. She was shocked to find her name, logo and hear her podcast on that site. Equally disturbing: how did the platform obtain her email address?
She queried the sender and he replied. “Your email address is embedded in your podcast RSS feed.” WHAT?
I told her to look at her podcast plugin. Sure enough, we found the answer under “settings” — a page she hadn’t visited since activating the plugin. AND THERE, under “REQUIRED,” was a line that roughly stated, “Enter an email address where Apple can notify you that your podcast has been accepted.”
She naturally assumed the email address she entered would remain private, only to be used by Apple for notification purposes. Not so. It was included in her feed and broadcast to the world!!
I suggested that she deactivate the plugin and eliminate the “podcast” category. Fortunately, she had not yet plunged into podcasting. She is now looking for an alternative podcasting solution. (FYI: We do not use a podcast plugin or a podcast feed.)
When I shared this experience with a WordPress expert, he told me, “One must have administrator privileges to install a plugin. Therefore, in reality, the plugin has access to the Admin portion of your WordPress site. Unless you can decipher the 10k lines of code in that plugin, who can say that it isn’t broadcasting your email–or even all your settings–to a nefarious site.”
He went on to explain that Wordfence, a security plugin, “knows what these plugins are allowed to do and any plugin that is sending out such information is red flagged.”
But even Wordfence cannot prevent a plugin from broadcasting an email address that YOU entered into your podcast plugin settings.
Examine your plugin settings. If an email address is required, your natural response would be to enter the valid email address on file with Apple. Will a “redirected” email address be accepted by Apple? We don’t know. Regardless, the information you enter will show up in your podcast RSS feed.
Do your research. Be aware & prepared.
* The names of the podcast plugin and podcast platform are not included above for obvious reasons.