A cautionary tale -- Veoh, which I've noticed more and more is the destination I'm driven to as I click on various videos on YouTube -- is going out of business.
It's driven out of business not only because it was weakened by a lawsuit with Universal Music, but because it didn't have a business model to monetarize all that mindless clicking, including even my own. When my kids tell me to listen to some cool song on Youtube, the reason for most of my visits there, I can't always tell what is "approved" or "not approved". More and more, I see videos described as "the Official Video" of so-and-so musician, with an ad pasted on top of it that partially blocks the bottom as you watch it, and I can't tell -- has this been licensed? If it says "official" and has an ad, surely it would have to be. If it is in the official "channel" it may be -- but not always. Lately, I've clicked through some of the most popular tunes to Veoh, where I have to first sit through a disruptive, interruptive ad before I can watch the video, and I can't slide through. And that's ok. I was just thinking "finally, they've gotten some sense, like TV". But it didn't work well enough and fast enough, apparently.
Universal tried to take Veoh to court for knowingly and deliberately letting users upload copyrighted material. Of course they do that. More and more on Youtube, you do see more evidence of videos blocked, and messages about copyrighted material removed -- and that's a good thing. Sooner or later, they'll figure out how to enable people to buy a subscription to Youtube, that will entitle X number of videos or Y number of viewing hours or something, and the industry will normalize and come out of its technocommunist era. People like me would pay for those subscriptions because we aren't communists and don't have illusions that websites, musicians, and companies can live on air.
Meanwhile, I don't know what Veoh was thinking, not having a way to get paid. Oh, I know what they were thinking, they were using the California business model, as cube3 first explained it to me, which is let lots of copyrighted material on to the system, then let people flounder with DMCA notices, all the while hoping you can sell lots of ads (and maybe CDs? Does anyone buy them?).
The Veoh case was one that the copyleftists pointed to triumphantly as a "win" because the judge threw Universal's claim out of court. But...Veoh, even stealing Universal's music by standing by and letting customers upload it ("safe harbour," "common carrier" and all that), couldn't make a dime. How about that. You would think, the California Business Model would work! But it doesn't, not even that, because the law catches up with them, but even more, the reality of profit and loss. No revenue to cover even expenses.
The moral of the story isn't that you can't stop copyright theft -- you can. It's good there was a lawsuit; and it's good Veoh got a come-uppance in being unable to monetarize even their loot, so to speak. But, all this means that these companies have to grow up and make a workable model where it really is easier for us to make micropayments and get subscriptions to content. There are all sorts of reasons this is a good thing -- revenue to cover costs and get musicians paid. A system to tip musicians, say, each time you listen to their song. Buy a song -- but maybe also be able to tip a musician when/as you wish. A cost for you to upload -- even just a tiny cost. All these lovely payment companies that were displayed at Engage! Expo could be making Youtubebux that people buy and virtually spend "inworld" with paying for songs, uploads, tipping, even paying somebody who aggregates tunes into a nice channel, like a DJ. If you had to pay even a small amount to make a comment -- think of what that would do to the wasteland of youtube comments! Yes, it might be gamed, but isn't everything? And the task now is to make the communist wasteland that the tech giants are bequeathing the next generation become something that can get people paid, rather than teach them communism.
It all has to get a lot simpler and faster and easier:
Recently, I went on Myspace to see a singer and then bought her CD. Or tried to. It's damn hard. I had to go through bunches of pages with different companies offered, some of them simply not working. Finally, I got to one that seemed promising, but it asked for my social security number on the form. While "not required," that struck me as a red flag, so I dropped it and wrote directly to the musician -- couldn't I pay her on PayPal or something? She forwarded my concern to the company, and some snotty asshole tekkie who was running the page lectured me, telling me that I was supposed to figure out that I could ignore that, because it was just a request for companies making bulk orders. But it said Tax ID number, and that was of concern -- that shouldn't be sought -- and it wasn't clear why it even had to be sought for another business (b2b forms could have been a separate link in any event).
Here's what Noel Ramos of Indiegate wrote to me (I'm deleting the musician's name, as she is irrelevant to this transaction and was only embarrassed at what a nit Noel was):
I was informed by one of our wonderful merchants that you experienced some difficulty with our site.
Please let me assure you the IndieGate uses the industry standard for online credit card processing and is completely secure. The requested information you were concerned about is not mandatory, you can simply skip any field that does not have a red asterisk in front of it.
Those fields are there simply to take into account the various types of shoppers who use IndieGate.com, many of whom are other businesses.
We actually require the same info that PayPal requires, which is pretty standard across the web. I do hope you'll revisit  store and purchase her great new release:
- Noel Ramos
> No, Noel, you're all wrong, and I'll never use your service, and
if you want to stop harming those merchants who opt to use your site,
you need to chnage.
> I use the Internet to shop all over the place.
> I am not required to put a tax ID number in on amazon.com or any number of thousands of sites.
> If I put in a *credit card number alone* that is sufficient. I'm not required to give my to *buy*.
> To compare your service where I only *buy things* to PayPal is just completely misleading and false. If I give more information to PayPal it's because I use it to *make and receive payments and withdraw and deposit to my bank*. Very different kind of action.
> Just because you have businesses that you think you need a Tax ID number for to work with (and *that* is not making sense either) isn't a reason to confuse and harass and drive away buyers from CDs.
> It is NOT standard all over the web, and you're wrong, and I will be blogging about you. You're not getting it, and your geeky stubborness is preventing you from making sales.
I am not sure why you are unable to understand me.
I will explain one last time:
WE DO NOT REQUIRE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR TAX ID NUMBER.
Those fields do not apply to you, you can simply skip over them. They are only there to accommodate our business customers who may wish to provide that information.
Please do blog about us, thank you.
I DON'T GIVE A GOOD GODDAMN IF YOU DON'T REQUIRE THEM, YOU SHOULDN'T
PUT THEM THERE ON YOUR FORM SO THAT PEOPLE DON'T THINK THEY HAVE TO
SUPPLY THEM, YOU ASSHOLE.
I WILL EXPLAIN ONE LAST TIME AND THEN YOU'LL BE GOING ON MY BLOG: IF YOU DON'T REQUIRE IT, YOU SHOULDN'T PUT IT, DUHHHHH
HAVE A DIFFERENT FORM FOR BUSINESS CUSTOMERS DUHHHHHHH WITH A DIFFERENT LINK THAN CONSUMERS DUHHHHHH
And seriously, even a business shouldn't have to put a tax ID number in an order form unless they expect to have a standing order.
I've made all the right arguments; this guy is a controlling asshole trawling and scraping people's ID numbers for no earthly reason.
Now let's come to the avatars of the year -- Stroker Serpentine and Munchflower Zaius. I have to say that the Herald is more than duplicitous here, properly given this pair the prize, but acting as if the Herald itself hasn't provided a home for one of the main griefers of the two, Jumpman Lane. Indeed, the serial stalking and harassment of Jumpan of Stroker in the last few months should have been reported on, if Pixeleen/Mark McCahill wasn't such a wimp and such a stalker himself. There's something very creepy about the way Jumpman has targeted me and others in SL in really aggressive and nasty ways. He's a former tenant, and a deadbeat at that, and I want nothing to do with him. I refused to accept his offer to be part of his sleezy adult magazine, not interested. SO he began griefing me, despite my giving of him ample grace days on his rent, where he maintained a compound with various pathetic and alcoholic housewives. He'll do things like tell people to unfollow me on Twitter, because he's decided that he's jealous that I have more Twitter followers than him (?!). He'll stalk and dog and use alts to harass and bully on forums -- and I see that Stroker really got the treatment.
It's odd, because The Herald/Jumpman/whoever he is shouldn't feel as if they have to protect Linden Lab from Stroker, and bang on Stroker. And it's not like Stroker is competition to somebody's adult magazine or club, having a furniture store. It makes no sense. It's just griefing for griefing's sake, or perhaps a more sinister motive we don't know about.
I don't know what to think about Stroker's case at this point in time. I don't know enough of the issues. In general, I support the premise. I wouldn't want it to lead to Linden shutting down, like Veoh, but I don't think it will. I think the Lindens, like all the Californians, have to pull up their socks and start enforcing policies they've already put in place on content, third-party viewers, bots, etc.
It's awful odd for Linden to be pushing the Facebook outing and real-life profile, and yet still permit free accounts to be made in rapid succession by griefers and theft who make what Stroker describes as a whack-a-mole scene for content heists. And I marvel that I can't make another alt to hold one of my groups together, with the land groups now lagging horribly if over a certain number, even if I give my real name and credit card, and I'm told my household limit is reached, but a griefer can make a day-old anonymous proxied alt and crash my sim. Makes no sense.