Skeptic’s FAQ

Will you make a web/Mac/other app?

There’s a very basic web app today, and a Mac app might happen someday. I have no plans for other platforms — they’re just not for me.

Why should I create an account in a podcast app?

I know. Seems weird at first, but hear me out. Overcast is powered by a cloud service for some big advantages:

Speed, battery life, and data usage: The servers do the heavy lifting of constantly checking for updates so your device doesn’t need to download each show’s entire feed every few minutes to make sure you get new episodes quickly. The servers send only what’s new to the app, and it only takes a few seconds. This saves substantial battery power and data usage over time.

Sync and backup: Your podcasts and progress are always synced between your devices and overcast.fm. You can log into your Overcast account from a new or restored device and everything’s right where you left it.

Web features: Logging into overcast.fm offers basic playback and will offer more features in the future, such as adding podcasts from your computer.

Simpler solutions such as iCloud could do some of this, but I wanted to do all of it.

You can use Overcast without creating an account, but it still uses an account behind the scenes — it just assigns you a random number instead of an email address. You can always add an email address to these accounts later.

Why an email address instead of a username?

Password resets.

I tried usernames with Instapaper at first, but people forgot their passwords and got locked out of their accounts all the time. It was by far the top support problem. Email addresses fix that. (Nothing’s stopping you from entering a fake address, but if you forget your password, I won’t be able to help.)

I have no interest in spamming you. I hate email. See the Privacy Policy.

Why is the app free?

It’s very difficult to reach most iOS users with a paid-up-front app, and the biggest podcast apps are all free. I want to offer a better alternative for the mass market, so it must be free.

The business model is simple: small, tasteful ads in the app for free users, and an option to disable the ads with an inexpensive annual subscription.

Who are you?

I’m Marco Arment, the person who makes Overcast. I’m a software developer, writer, podcaster, and huge podcast fan. I talked about why I love podcasts during this XOXO 2013 presentation.

I hope you don’t mind that I used “I” instead of “we” here — it made sense for this to be human, rather than the way I upgrade to “we” in legalese and the privacy policy so I don’t get in trouble if I hire someone in the future and forget to change the pronouns everywhere.