Well, last week iTunes removed my radio show listing from the iTunes Store after carrying it the last 2 years.
Is the Podpress Default Upload Directory configuration the culprit? Undocumented changes in iTunes Store operations? and IP address in Japan? ... details follow ...
The show continues to be broadcast with podcasts uploaded weekly.
I had been running very old versions of WordPress and Podpress since it always worked ('if it ain't broke, don't fix it'), and I was only using wordpress to support podpress, I wasn't running the show's website on it (that is still an aging basic HTML site).
However, I started seeing bizarre download activity suddenly one week a few months back - hundreds and hundreds of downloads suddenly going to one ip address within an hour (the first occurrence to an ip number in Japan, other times in other countries). Screwed up my stats royally. Still some suspicious download numbers accumulating.
At this time (coincidence or related?) iTunes Store failed to update the program's podcast list for the first time. However after 3 weeks of updated shows being MIA, (and a couple of emails to podcasts AT Apple dot com for support) ... the missing shows returned. No explanation given ... just "they're up to date").
"Victory, the problem is over" - I thought.
Weird download events continued, I updated WordPress & Podpress to the most recent versions thinking maybe the old versions were somehow less secure and I was getting download-hacked (I had no idea really).
2 things happened then:
1) I started getting 1-second durations listed in my RSS feed (never happened before) and failures of the Podpress plug-in to correctly analyse the file size or duration of my podcasts when using the 'Add Media' options; (using auto-detect);
2) iTunes stopped updating its listings again and after 10 or so missing shows, decided my program should be de-listed from the iTunes Store altogether (current situation).
This was a weekly podcast running for 2 years on iTunes that a few months back was peaking at #4 out of hundreds if you searched for 'jazz podcasts'.
iTunes subscribed podcast listeners continue to get the latest shows via their iTunes program – Apple seems to be brokering the RSS feed fine for subscribers.
The iTunes Store is a separate operation and seems more fussy, fragile, or whatever and can't figure out from the RSS feed that the show continues.
EMAIL FROM APPLE: The latest email from Podcast support re Apple Store Podcast listing contains this one line of techno-babble:
"After pinging your podcast repeatedly, our systems continue to show a reset request from your servers, keeping our backend systems from being able to update the podcast."
Godaddy has been hosting the files for years and for years it just worked. They had an explanation of what the above quote meant, except they haven't changed anything on their end and therefore what was working for 2 years and hasn't changed should therefore still be working (shared vs dedicated server hosting is there understanding, ie: I should move from shared to dedicated).
UPLOAD DIRECTORY (aka - 'grasping at straws')
In earlier research I thought I saw something about Podpress having a default "upload directory" and seem to remember reading that if the podcasts were not in that directory various compensations had to occur for functionality to operate normally.
My podcasts are NOT in the default directory, from what I can tell. Was never a problem - 2 years of weekly updating prove that out. EXCEPT - maybe now it is a problem?
Can the default upload directory be changed?
Should I move all my podcasts into the default directory instead? (they're not far away – just one directory level up) ...
Is it time to start searching for answers in Area 51?
It would be nice to get back on the iTunes Store ... any ideas appreciated.