ZapZap does social podcast directories right

ZapZap is a new audio and video podcast directory service based in Japan, just launched this weekend. While podcast directories are launching fast and furious, this one is particularly nice. Ajax is used just right, digg-type voting is central, synch with iTunes or play on site. The aesthetic is attractive and there are English and Japanese sections of the site.

ZapZap’s creator is an irreverent 25 year old named Jon Anthony Yongfook Cockle, born in England and living in Tokyo.

You have to wonder how sites like these are going to differentiate themselves from others offering similar functions. ZapZap does have a full feature set, it looks great and being available in two languages is a smart move. The only thing I’ve seen anyone offer lately that ZapZap doesn’t include yet is a javascript bookmarklet to tag an offsite podcast into your personal archive, as Pluggd offers (see review of Pluggd). Tags aren’t used for categorizing podcasts, either; that’s one step ZapZap is considering when scaling becomes an issue, finding podcasts could become increasingly difficult when the number of offerings increases.

The little touches here are nice. Each time a podcast you are subscribed to posts a new episode, it receives a “zap” vote. It’s easy to email a link to an episode to someone. Subscribing is simple. Offering a link to subscribe in iTunes instead of trying to compete with iTunes is smart. The functionality is just plain smooth.

There’s no business model apparent yet. Text ads could appear on the page. Ordinarily I would be exasperated to see one more podcast directory, but this one really is good.