Google home page in early 1998

Podcast in 2017 is just like Web in 1997

Podcast in 2017 & web in 1997 are similar in three aspects: number of users, ad spendings, and contents.

Number of users

In 1997, there were 70 million internet users in the world.

In 2017, there are 67 million people in the US who listen to podcasts at least once in a month — majority of podcast listeners are in the US.

Ad spendings

In 1997, $906 million was spent on web ads.

In 2017, $243 million will be spent in podcast ads.


In 1997 (actually early 1998), Google indexed ~25 million web pages. Serious web surfers bookmarked websites, then browsed web pages from those bookmarked websites.

In 2017 (actually there are still 3 months to go), Listen Notes indexes ~20 million podcast episodes. Serious podcast listeners subscribe to podcasts, then listen to episodes of those subscribed podcasts.

As there were more and more Internet users in 1997, people had very diverse tastes and there was a need for effective mechanisms to discover long tail web contents. So, a web search engine that “just indexed a few web pages (plain text)” took off…

Google in 1997

As there are more and more podcast listeners in 2017, people have diverse tastes and there’s a need for effective mechanisms to discover long tail podcast contents. Could a podcast search engine that “just indexes meta data of podcasts (plain text)” fill the need? We’ll see…

Listen Notes in 2017