What are URL Prepends and why would I use them?
Defining a URL Prepend
A URL Prepend is the addition of a URL… in front of a URL. Typically, this involves a redirect in order to track a thing (such as tracking a file request and/or download). For example, if your file URL hosted at Libsyn normally looks like this:
…and you want to have an external company track stats for your show. That company may give you a URL Prepend you can add to your normal file URLs. Let’s say your URL Prepend looks like this:
(looks like a normal URL, doesn’t it?)
If the URL Prepend gets added to your regular media file URL, your media file URL will suddenly look like this:
How does it work?
When the full URL including the Prepend is used, the request to access the file from the listener will first hit the server found at that Prepend URL. After that, the request travels its way back to Libsyn to complete the request and serve the file.
This all happens in the blink of an eye. Your listeners will not notice this additional visit they had to take in their travels to your media file. The added benefit is giving you access to external stats tracking solutions in addition to the stats tracking Libsyn already offers you.
What concerns should I have before I get started?
There are two primary concerns worth considering.
- Privacy, privacy, privacy
Keep in mind that by sending your listener to another service to track things means that you need to care, a lot, about that third party service protecting the privacy of you and your listeners.
Not all stats tracking/prepend services do!
Libsyn’s prepend system whitelists companies with prepends that have already been vetted to be GDPR and CCPA compliant. If the company is not part of Libsyn’s whitelist, they cannot be used unless they are then vetted. Currently, the whitelisted companies providing prepends include:
- Charisma Media
If you wish to work with a company for a prepend that is not included in the above list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Having too many redirects by adding too many URL Prepends
Redirects can be very useful. They can be used for a number of important processes performed for URLs across the internet. However, the internet will only tolerate so many changes of direction before it complains about to many redirects.
Libsyn’s system, therefore, will limit you to adding 3 URL prepends to your show’s file URLs.
3. Don’t add multiple redirects pointing back to the same service
What we mean by that is even if you have more than one assigned prepend URLs from a company doesn’t mean that company supports having a single show sent to their service multiple times.
In other-words, if you have two Chartable prepends (for example), only add one in Libsyn. Adding both will actually break your file delivery to listeners as it isn’t supported by most third party services.
Roger that! So, I have a URL Prepend. How do I add it to my show?
Libsyn has opened up the ability to add URL Prepends to your show right from inside the dashboard. To add a prepend to your show, start by selecting Settings from your main menu, then click on Episode Prepend on the left hand side:
Enter your URL into the provided text box and hit save. A confirmation will appear stating the prepend was saved.
Up to 3 prepends can be added. To add another prepend, hit Add Prepend. A second text box will become available. Enter your second prepend URL in that box and hit save.
If you enter a URL that is not whitelisted, the system will give you an error stating that the URL couldn’t be saved as it doesn’t meet specifications. This is done if the prepend and the company that tracks data off that prepend do not satisfy Libsyn’s privacy and GDPR requirements. This means the third party tracks and maintains more data on you and your listeners than they should per certain regulations. In those cases, when the prepend is entered, we will remove it and show you an alert stating as such.
If you still want to add the prepend, please reach out to email@example.com for consideration.
Note: You may see the URL Prepend referred to as a ‘prefix’, for these purposes the two words can be used interchangeably.
Once the URL Prepends are added, you will see that your file URLs will all be generating with the prepend attached automatically.
How do I get more help if I need it?
If you still have any questions, please reach out to our friendly support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.