Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: MegaBox: From f**k-all to zero

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  • Keir Leslie,

    Also paywalls.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    many on the left. Not sure where you got that notion,

    Yeah. He's clearly a scammer, and happy to cultivate eg John Banks when it was in his personal interests. He plays the buffoon, but not so sure he's just a clown: he's also made serious money on mega ventures.
    It's possible for lefties to believe this and still enjoy Dotcom's role as Key/Banks' banana-skin. (Perhaps especially in the regrettable absence of any more formidable opposition to their lamentably leading the country way further down the neo-liberal hell-hole :))

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1470 posts Report Reply

  • Freddie Fleetstreet, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Geoff, find me a left wing commentator or journo who has not drunk the Dotcom Kool-Aid. (Russel Brown appears to have spat it out)
    It is the best example of "my enemies enemy is my friend" we have ever seen in NZ.

    And his using the old "I know I did but they are worse" excuse for plundering hundreds of millions of dollars off the backs of creatives should make him public enemy number one. Which is what he would be if we still had a left wing government in power.
    And anybody claiming the cops would not have acted this way if Clark was in power needs to smash the word urewera into the search engine with their head.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2013 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Freddie Fleetstreet,

    find me a left wing commentator or journo who has not drunk the Dotcom Kool-Aid

    bit more nuanced than than, Cameron

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16495 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    find me a left wing commentator or journo Oh, if I only could find a brace of such characters, in a New Zealand media still bedazzled by a nit-wit PM and his poor excuse of a government,

    Hmmm--what name do you use when you are off-duty?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2288 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Freddie Fleetstreet,

    Nobody can sensibly argue that megaupload was not a file sharing business that provided users with an alexandra library of free copyright material.

    I didn't think anyone was trying to. But the claim that by stopping MegaUpload something has been done about piracy is one that seems to be made distressingly often by people who seem otherwise rational. I think it's just another iteration of one of a variety of schemes to protect legacy media and they have all failed. It looks as though "ads next to the content" is going down the same drain.

    Like I/S, I'm blocking all the ads I can. I don't know what he does, but I pay for a chunk of content every year. I prefer to do that by directly sending money to people I choose, rather than having my bandwidth and attention taken by intermediaries who promise to pass on a cut to whoever claims to own the content. When I see Russell say that he gets effectively nothing out of that misappropriation that makes me even more inclined to block ads.

    Maybe I'm too much of an anarchist or nihilist, but to me if a system is not working but lingers around like prawn juice soaked into the carpet, the best approach is to help its demise. Block ads, don't buy ads, actively look for better ways to monetise your content.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It presents interesting legal issues though

    Particularly in relation to the organizations it is close partners with. There are fairly regular cases of news organization A uses audio sourced from B in its bulletin, and uploads the bulletin to youtube. B goes to upload its original material to Youtube. Youtube's algorithms find the match and declare B to be an infringement of A. Hilarity ensues. I am in particular think of "Scripps Local News" and Nasa's own footage of the Mars landing.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    When I see Russell say that he gets effectively nothing out of that misappropriation that makes me even more inclined to block ads.

    To clarify, AdSense is basically a washout for us. Google can’t sensibly match our content to advertising and our readers never click on anything. It works better for specialist blogs and the like.

    Media agency advertising has tended to go in a direction that doesn’t suit us – especially performance-based (ie: cost-per-click) ads, because, like I said, our readers never click on anything – but it’s been nice to have the current banner campaign for UKTV’s Doctor Who archive season. I think we’re a good audience for that.

    I suspect you’ll also see more things like the current Telecom/Nokia campaign (where Emma Hart and others have been using and reviewing the new phones), because content like that can’t be mechanised Facebook-style. That won’t make me anything, but it’s a phone and some cash for Emma.

    On the other hand, we do make a little from ads from the music and arts sectors, and always do a good price for them. If you guys choose to block them you’re not really costing us money (we’ll probably make our impressions target anyway) but you’re blocking something that is, in its way part of the site. I makes me feel good that they’re there, anyway.

    Block ads, don’t buy ads, actively look for better ways to monetise your content.

    Thanks for the advice. Try not to get too high and mighty about it. Ad-blocking’s not exactly a highly-committed form of protest.

    (And if you're one of the people who's chipped in when I've asked for contributions -- thanks!)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    bit more nuanced than than, Cameron

    It's Barnsley Bill. Hello, Bill.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Is that another persona?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16495 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Try not to get too high and mighty about it. Ad-bloacking's not exactly a highly-committed form of protest.

    It's not a protest against you, it's a protest against Kim DotCom and his ilk. I assume you don't see yourself in that camp. But then, I also assume you look at what the common ad-blockers block and actively work around them. Or at least, I see the "ads by scoop" text and "Onya's" image on this page.

    And it's not a particularly committed form of protest, no. I've done the latter, and arguably still do - every time I ride my bike as transport I'm putting my life on the line for what I believe is right. But just because not spending time consuming advertising isn't a huge impost (it's a benefit) does not mean it's not worth while, or that I shouldn't do it.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    According to what I've read Megabox will only replace a "small percentage" of existing ads with those from Megabox, which is still intrusive imo - so instead of from f**k all to zero its perhaps more accurate to say from f**k all to sweet f**k all from a revenue point of view

    Given users have to agree to install the software to get their carrot (free music)... I'd suggest it won't be highly attractive to your average web user - who won't be bothered installing the software - unless the music offering is either deemed very cool (niche as hell) or very mainstream which the major labels all but totally control, still.

    Seems like a project destined for mockery and failure - hat ready to be ate

    Mega I can see the merits and business case for but the other just seems stupid

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 326 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What I find most disturbing about Megabox and I guess to a similar degree Google et al., is that the discussion is all about the rights of the advertisers and perhaps sometimes to a limited extent about the rights of the viewers.

    For me, I can turn off the ads if I want to - I don't because I understand that Russell makes some money out of them. I also actually make a point of clicking through if I'm actually interested, because again I understand Russell makes some money if I do. The point here is I want Russell to be able to continue creating content. I don't need the ads and if they piss me off enough I really will block them.

    This discussion focusses on the ads too much. The real issue is how to content providers get rewarded. And we still have not sorted that out in this internet age.

    Dotcom and Google would love us all to pay content providers via them, they'd take a cut of course. And being good businessfolk they will get rich while the content creators get almost just enough to keep providing. And don't doubt for a second that Kim Dotcom is anything other than a very good (successful) businessman.

    Whether Megabox's ads are "classy" or not is irelevant. The question is, will diverting ad revenue to megabox make any difference to content creators ability to earn from their content? I can't see any way that can be true so I'm inclined to say it's a bad thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3266 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Even on this site, ads are equivalent to the full page Harvey Norman newspaper ads I use to light the fire or TVCS obliterated by the remote, I seldom notice them and never click on them.

    So, once again, I register my preference for a regular auto payment to PA., like I do for Scoop. Can this be done?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2288 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    So, once again, I register my preference for a regular auto payment to PA., like I do for Scoop. Can this be done?

    A shared payments system across a number of sites is under discussion. I'll keep you posted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    Nobody can sensibly argue that megaupload was not a file sharing business that provided users with an alexandra library of free copyright material.

    I think even that is a stretch. It was a file locker that was fairly simple to use, provided good services and was stable and reliable. As such it became a popular place for people to store pirate content for sharing.

    However I've yet to see any credible evidence that MegaUpload was any more guilty of that than many other file locker sites (RapidShare, HotFile and many others). And they appeared to be complying not only with the requirements of the DMCA in terms of copyright take downs, but also provided direct take down access to many rightsholders.

    The MegaUpload service also had a significant legitimate user base (not sure we'll ever know how big?) which would certainly not be the case for some other services. They didn't facilitate any piracy themselves, instead that was made possible through index sites (which have continued unaffected) which list multiple download locations for various pieces of media.

    If Dotcom's statement about the incentives system yesterday was true (I have no idea, I never explored it) then it was only available to premium users and only on files under 100MB. None of the pirated content I ever came across on MegaUpload was split into small chunks and imposing that limit certainly doesn't make it seem like they were encouraging piracy.

    Of course I find it impossible to believe that MegaUpload weren't aware of the way many people used their service, but given they appeared to be complying with relevant laws I'm not sure how much that matters.

    The new service, Mega, seems to have more in common with DropBox than with MegaUpload. It could be used in the same way that MegaUpload was to share pirated content, but so could DropBox.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 213 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    It’s not a protest against you, it’s a protest against Kim DotCom and his ilk. I assume you don’t see yourself in that camp. But then, I also assume you look at what the common ad-blockers block and actively work around them.

    Ha! I have a very long list of better things to do that that.

    Or at least, I see the “ads by scoop” text and “Onya’s” image on this page.

    One of which is actually an ad position, yes. The other is an expired awards brag that really should be removed.

    And I guess I should be addressing I/S, who tends to take the moral high ground rather forthrightly on this He said:

    As someone who uses Adblock to control what I see, I have zero sympathy for advertisers getting “hijacked” in this way. Sorry, but its my screen, not yours, and I’ll decide what I see there thanks.

    Well, I/S, you can rest assured that we’ll still be around whatever. I fortunately don’t need to earn a living from PA (although I really wish I could pay off my debt to CactusLab), but the advertising market is a lot more important to Scoop, who sell our ads as well as their own. It’s their primary source of income, and they need to pay wages, and run an office and servers etc.

    People treat Scoop as if it’s infrastructure – the national noticeboard where all press statements are published – but it’s also a business. That work is done by people who deserve to be paid for what they do. How many links from your blog go to Scoop? How many times do you use it every year?

    You’re not about to bring down anything by using an ad-blocker as an individual – but if everyone took the same stance as you, there wouldn’t be any Scoop to rely on. You may wish to consider parallels with, say, taxes and resource use. Or at least come down from that high horse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A shared payments system across a number of sites is under discussion

    Great. About time.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16495 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    If Dotcom’s statement about the incentives system yesterday was true (I have no idea, I never explored it) then it was only available to premium users and only on files under 100MB. None of the pirated content I ever came across on MegaUpload was split into small chunks and imposing that limit certainly doesn’t make it seem like they were encouraging piracy.

    I found two academic papers on the economics of file-locker incentive schemes:

    Paying for Piracy? An Analysis of One-Click Hosters’ Controversial Reward Schemes is the more sophisticated of them. It puts some actual numbers to the schemes (“Megaupload used to reward one million downloads with $1,500”) and concludes:

    Our measurements show that the potential income of most uploaders is very low. Hence, these uploaders must have a di erent incentive rather than money. On the other hand, a few uploaders can earn signi cant amounts of money. This mix of uploader motivations has implications on proposed anti-piracy measures … pro t-oriented uploaders are a small minority of all uploaders, and they are not essential for the ecosystem to survive.

    The majoritarian altruistic uploaders are not aff ected by this class of measures as long as sites remain available where they can upload and share their fi les. More generally, our findings suggest that the overall impact of the OCHs’ affiliate programmes on piracy activities may be overstated: Most users upload content despite earning next to nothing. Discontinuation of the aliate programmes would deprive pro fit-oriented pirates of their illegal income, but it seems that these programmes are not the main driving force behind OCH-based piracy.

    I could find no mention anywhere on the internet of the 100MB file limit, but this paper notes that Megaupload’s scheme was closed shortly before the bust, so perhaps there was a time – when everyone was getting anxious – where the 100MB applied. If it did, it certainly wasn’t well-known.

    The other paper is Profiting From Filesharing: A Measurement Study of Economic Incentives in Cyberlockers

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    You’re not about to bring down anything by using an ad-blocker as an individual – but if everyone took the same stance as you, there wouldn’t be any Scoop to rely on. You may wish to consider parallels with, say, taxes and resource use. Or at least come down from that high horse.

    Aye. I don't think I've ever clicked through on an internet advert, and I fast forward through TV adverts very happily. But I recognise that they're part of how the system works. They're the reasonable side of making money off the internet, as compared to the spam and scams that proliferate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Freddie Fleetstreet,

    The Kim Dotcom opera seems to have divided most of us down political lines with many on the left descending into breathless fanboy lapping up and faithfully regurgitating his every utterance.

    Oh don't be silly - people on the left like him because he supports right wing politicians, tried to buy one off by slipping some money illegally under the table and made a loud noise when he wouldn't stay bought - he provides a public example of the greed, smoke filled room , jobs for the boys sorts of behaviour that people on the left have hated about the Right and National in particular.

    We like him because he validates all of our prejudices at once.

    Apart from that he's still someone who tries to illegally buy off politicians, we don't like that, he sort of makes it up because, he's funny, reminds us a bit of sergeant Schultz and has a rhino fetish

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Aye. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked through on an internet advert, and I fast forward through TV adverts very happily. But I recognise that they’re part of how the system works. They’re the reasonable side of making money off the internet, as compared to the spam and scams that proliferate.

    Let's not go too far :-)

    Internet advertising is basically screwed -- at least in the sense of conventional display advertising in support of editorial content. Advertising exists for its own purposes now -- within Trade Me, or in the social media strategies of businesses that might once have reached their target audiences by advertising in publications that those audiences read.

    Even conventional advertising campaigns are considerably more mechanised. When you look at a Facebook buy on paper, it looks pretty compelling. It's just ... soulless.

    When we started taking advertising, I really thought that we'd get a lot more bFM -level advertising -- ads from people who were part of the same communities as the readership -- but that has never really happened. As I said, I like the music and arts ads we carry, but it ain't a business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'd be more likely to subscribe here than click an ad, I find that even the affiliate links on author sites are usually something I notice after I buy their book, rather than something that I either see and click or seek out. The ones that work for me are the "my new book is now available _here_" ones. Or, more usefully, when I'm shopping for books I get to the end stage and go "what haven't I looked for" and that's when the Stross and Scalzi blogs pop up in my head and I type their names into the search thing. Which, incidentally, is largely because the publishers are still struggling with the idea that people outside the US should be permitted to buy their books (I know the reasons, I just think they're stupid).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 432 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    bFM -level advertising

    Doesn't bFM pay a team of people to bang on doors and scare up those ads? It might not be on the radar of a removal firm or horticultural (ahem) supplies merchant to spontaneously place ads.

    Interesting to see the biggest (US) internet advertisers. Google is prominent - placing ads to increase traffic to serve more ads....

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4422 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Sacha,

    Is that another persona?

    No, Barnsley and WhaleOil are two distinct people, even though they've traditionally overlapped politically.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4161 posts Report Reply

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