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    Demonetised

    Saturday 3rd February 2018

    I know: I took, like, six weeks off this time. Which I guess is better than the six months I took off last time. But, yeah: I should probably put something like effort into…not doing these things.

    Sometime.

    This time, part of my reason for delaying this post was to kinda see whether it was necessary. Like, in the last couple weeks since there was an announcement from outta nowhere about demonetising approximately a hundred percent of the planet, I’d thought that Alphagooglywhatever, Inc, might surprise us with a retraction, or revision, or whatever form of cowardice. Now, I’m kinda suspecting, the backlash already having been reaching them and accomplishing nothing, that they’re gonna move ahead with this goofy idea.

    The goofy idea, if you haven’t yet heard about this, is that YouTube.com—now that it’s a moneypit holding of google.com—are changing the rules, yet again, for…reasons.

    Both their official reasons, which make no sense, and also what are likely the actual reasons, which…also make no sense.

    Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve been compelled to note that google.com are in sum total a gaggle of morons. In fact, my first thought for the title of this entry was Do No Evil. But I’d already used that, seven years ago, last time DoNoEvil, Inc, did evil at people; and then I wrote a book about it.

    Back in 2011, seven years ago, the issue was that G+ [DoNoEvil, Inc’s hilarious tryhard of a social network] were getting uppity about names, real or not, transgendered or not, deadnames or not; all stuff that was probably less public an issue back then, if only because they were the only ones being stupid about it at the time. Meaning that, these days, G+ are so desperate to get anyone to use their site that, despite their last word to me on the matter being that I couldn’t possibly be named Gremlin, they quietly abandoned the whole formerly superimportant thing, without actually telling me, and I happened to get lucky trying for the millionth time to unfreeze my account one day and discovered that it was suddenly possible. Meanwhile, facebook.com are now trying to catch up to what G+ pioneered in templated idiocy, so my name there is now officially Graeme Lynne. Which of course isn’t remotely my name; but, in dealing with stupid people: if you can’t convince them of the truth, you can fool them with lies they’re prepositioned to fall for.

    Not really the point, at the moment.

    At the moment, google.com, however much they seem to regret buying up YouTube.com back in…whenever they did that…a dozen years ago, I guess, have ever since been trying to get the site to cover the $1.65billion they wasted to acquire it, back when that was a lot of money, and then maybe even coax it into making them a profit. Because, instead, they’ve been running this thing for the last dozen years as a cashsuck costing more in operational expenses than it makes back in monetisation.

    Which is okay. Like, for all I care. It doesn’t seem to be hurting them, overall. In the sense that, YouTube.com’s expenses notwithstanding, google.com in general—Alphabet, Inc, or whatever they are these days—are making pretty much more money than they can conceivably ever spend. Or invest. Or set on fire. Or whatever they might wanna try.

    All of which kinda means that changing the rules—again—at YouTube.com isn’t meant to be a method of trying to get the site to make any money. I get that; I’m not seeing this as a mistake because it’s gonna cost them somehow. Although….


    If you’re wondering what Powdah is: it’s a fanpage thing for people who are repulsively good at faking broken bones and putrefaction and other stuff you probably never wanna look at if you’re emotional and still like eating sometimes.

    So, here’s what happened….

    Once upon a time, in 2005, a triumvirate of kids moving on from PayPal.com started up YouTube.com as a videosharing site. Which was a neat idea, though no one could work out how or even if they intended to monetise the thing. This was back in the early days of the postbubble internet, at a time when no one was gonna invest heavily in PetsOvernight.com because assetless digital ideas were suddenly poisoned, so building up a site with the sole purpose of spending millions on bandwidth and drivespace didn’t make a lot of sense.

    Just as a note, it was then that I stopped in and grabbed an account there.


    I created my account on April Fool’s Day, because foolish.

    And then I did roughly nothing with it for a while.

    Seven months later, in November, google.com trolled in and bought the site. And here we are.

    Though there have been changes over the years. Like that time that YouTube.com suddenly started getting monetised. A little. Not enough. For all the adverts no one ever sees because everyone’s using μBlock to prevent adverts from getting in everyone’s way, the site has never actually paid for itself at $1.65billion, let alone made an actual profit. For them.

    For us…well…yeah. Again: having got an account, I never really did anything with it. Which I suppose is my fault. Like, I had reasons, in the beginning—like the ToS once mentioning that anything I uploaded became their property, which I wasn’t okay with. But, whatever my reasons, I just never really uploaded much of anything. At present, I’ve got 119 videos online there, ninety-two of which I’ve uploaded in the last eight months since I started doing Minecraft LPs.

    That I’ve got less than many thousands of videos up there is my fault. Also, I’m okay with it. Making millions of dollars a year from uploading videos was never really my intention. I like money well enough; I’ve just got other things going on. Like, I’ve got a couple million actual dollars in a couple hundred BitCoins that I’ve had sitting here amusing me for a decade. Or less, depending how far their value has dropped since the last time I glanced at the numbers. Which I’m also okay with: I make money; I spend money; I never run outta food; the rest is just keeping score.

    I guess I’d be okay with making millions from YouTube.com. Like, I wouldn’t see it as being particularly shameful. To put that into perspective, I’ve been in the position to make stupid amounts of money from things like pornsites; I didn’t wanna do that, because there’s something skeevy about it. To my thinking. So, if you’re making millions from porn and care what I think: stop caring what I think. You fragile twat.

    Now that DoNoEvil, Inc, have purchased and attempted to monetise YouTube.com, as we move into 2007, I…still don’t really care. Though that’s about the time I uploaded my first video.

    And then something funny happened. Because, now, I’ve got this account I’ve had for about a year; and I’ve got a video in it; and DoNoEvil, Inc, suddenly…just…monetise me. Ameliorate my account into partnership.


    I didn’t ask for this.

    So…okay. Don’t care; but okay. Now, however deeply in theory, I get paid however many cents from people watching my one video because I’m something of a content creator. Why not.

    Uploaded a few more videos. Again: twenty-seven from 2007 through…2013, apparently. Fine. Along the way, I kept getting stuff I didn’t even know was a thing. Like, for a while there, videos could be only ten minutes long; you’d see artificially lengthened HeMan 4NonBlonde videos and things which happened to clock in at precisely ten minutes [or, often, at nine minutes, fifty-nine]. One day, I got an EMail: I was magically approved for half an hour. And then an hour. Now…I dunno…ten hours? Is that the limit? These aren’t things I look too deeply into. I just know that I’ve uploaded things the length of feature films without difficulty. Which by now might be something just anyone can do; I dunno. I just know that I kept getting whatever superspecial perks, in advance of the public, without knowing they were available—let alone requesting them.

    Got livestreaming one day. Didn’t ask for it; just received it. I’ve never used it. But okay.

    Got all this stuff, for whatever reason. No idea. It sounds like I’m bragging about this; I’m not. Most of the time, I didn’t even know I was getting anything special. The first time I heard anything to the contrary was when I was talking to a filmmaker I know who was complaining that he couldn’t upload this thing he’d done because it exceeded their timelimit. I didn’t have that timelimit. For no evident reason, I had all these uncommon perks that no one else was getting. At least: the majority weren’t getting them. And this filmmaker I’m talking to has his own entry at imdb.com, so…I have no idea what the hell I did to get this attention.

    Of course, on my end, it’s all a bit meaningless. Because, at the time, there’s still that stupid thing about relinquishing copyrights on anything I might submit. Which was disappointing: I’ve been loosely thinking about doing a cartoon somewhere since…for longer than I’ve had this website, which I’ve had for twenty-one years now. So, if you wanna talk about content I could upload: everything from SouthPark to Rick and Morty is pretty new to me; I was thinking toward this sort of thing while Pinky and the Brain were still on Animaniacs.

    Really should just do this thing sometime….

    Anyway: here’s my only credible guess. The only reason I can think of that I might get all these weird betatest perks is that my account dates back to 1st April 2006. I was there before DoNoEvil, Inc, were. I guess it’s possible that we few, who have been part of the burgeoning community since before anyone else had heard of it, got as a matter of policy all the cool stuff that everyone waiting until DoNoEvil, Inc, were behind the site to join up had to beg for from 2007 through…whenever things went all standardised. It’s as good a hunch as any.

    And it’s one of the reasons I held back for a couple weeks on talking about this. Not specifically because, having been there since the good old days, I might be excepted from this stupid forthcoming suicide; just because I’ve kinda figured for a while that we of the oldguard might be getting special attention, so I didn’t wanna make like I was about to be demonetised along with everyone else only to learn that, once again, I was immune to something.

    So, let’s talk about this anyway….

    First: there have been changes to policy all along. Just the other month—like, probably within the last year—DoNoEvil, Inc, evilled out this new strategy in which anyone with less than [I think] ten thousand lifetime views was instantly demonetised. That sounds right. It’s not all that memorable because, whatever the number was, it was significantly less than I’d already got. Really, it was significantly less than anyone who could expect to make more than a dollar a year from monetising videos had already got.

    So, First Point One—quick sidestory: I once, the hell back in the early nineties, knew a guy—CEO type who wasn’t really one of my competitors so much as a friendly rival with whom I’d compete to waste money on stuff—invited me along to an assembly to critique him on…stuff. It doesn’t matter; it’s boring. But we had the same evil corporate badguy gig, in different fields, so he was interested in my input and suggestions and whatever.

    So, there he is, doing his thing, not acknowledging that I’m even in the room. And it was a big room. Like…bigger than a cinema, if smaller than a megachurch. Lots of people listening to him because he was the boss and, unlike me with my deplorable apathy, he was really into keeping score. So he’s covering all this stuff, and he mentions his little philosophy toward, like, clusters of people. Because this is a system in which he’s in charge technically of the whole thing, but practically he’s overseeing about six people directly. Something I got, because I was doing about the same thing. Though I was overseeing ten, because I never sleep anyway.

    To his six immediate underlings, he’s throwing out this advice, take it or leave it; I remember it well enough that I’ll aim for verbatim here: ‘Two things you never wanna mess with,’ he says, ‘people’s wives; and people’s money. Wives are obvious: never be alone in a room with a woman you’re not related to; never even give them anything to talk about. This whole thing comes down to trust, so stay trustworthy. And money? Let people have it. I don’t care if you owe someone a million bucks for a massive project, or owe a delivery boy a couple bucks for the sandwiches: give it over. Because, however much money you’ve got, that’s what you expect to have. If you’re expecting a couple bucks for doing a job, that’s what I’m giving you. Because, while it’s nothing to me, to you, it’s what you worked for.’

    When he said all that, I thought it was a little braggy and condescending. Accurate, but…braggy. But I gave it some thought, and he wasn’t wrong.

    Fastforward by…erm…twenty-five years…apparently, and I can reword that for you: if you’re expecting seventeen cents a month for views on your videos, someone needs to give that to you. I know: you’re gonna take six months to save up for a taco, but it’s your money. You did the thing; you earned it; you need to be paid what you’re owed.

    So, when I say that people with less than ten thousand views and therefore less than ten thousand cents aren’t losing a fortune by being demonetised, my point is more that, I’d hope, you’ve still got a dayjob somewhere. But, at the same time, that ten thousand cents [or whatever] is something you’re supposed to get, and you can’t really not get it from any corporation pretending effectively to Do No Evil.

    Which leads to another point, soon enough. So…we’ll stick a pin in that and…and move on….

    Anyway: I survived the purge. Not because I predate DoNoEvil, Inc; simply because I’m well over ten thousand views.

    But it got my attention anyway. Because the reasoning behind that purge was that people were creating little accounts pretty much for the sole purpose of uploading controversial content. Fire&Forget videos with fake news or threats or just whatever subdiabolical idiocy. It got my attention because it reminded me that DoNoEvil, Inc, are more of a corporation than a charity.

    Whenever something like this happens—twitter.com lock down an account, or facebook.com zucks someone for a month of sitting in the corner and thinking about what you did, or G+ pulling a psychotic break from reality—there’s always LawyerSmurf at the ready to parrot out something about free speech. Because he’s a fool.

    Okay. Two things about free speech. The less relevant one first.

    If your excuse for saying something—your sole excuse—is that you’ve got free speech? You have no reason to say it. It’s that simple. Free speech is not its own excuse. Like, you can use it as an excuse, but we’re all gonna know that you’re just saying something for the sake of making noise. And we’re never gonna care. Tell me that you think all plaid people need to be murdered, because freedom of speech and some other stupid reason? Fine. You’re wrong, and stupid, and noisy; but, in addition to using a right for the sake of using a right, you’ve got this other stupid excuse too. But, when your only reason for letting words fall outta your head is that you’re allowed to? That tells me that you have no point worth listening to; no further research into your idiocy is required.

    Also: freedom of speech has nothing to do with corporate platforms. That you can say whatever stupid thing about plaid people is unrelated to your temporary permission to exist at twitter.com. That facebook.com have a couple billion active users, and losing your account prevents you from commenting on a site using their API to allow feedback might display as a good faith somethingorother on your part; but it doesn’t translate to your right to maintain that account. It’s just true. Also, when you buy that taco you’ve saved up for over the last six months? You’re not allowed to sleep overnight at Chipotle. Kinda the same thinking there.

    Free speech has no effect on corporate holdings. The sum total of rights, alluded to as Freedom of Speech, are pretty much that, when you complain that the government are a buncha morons, you [probably] won’t get arrested and imprisoned for it, anymore. Because America.

    So. Back to YouTube.com. Whom the LawyerSmurfs will promise are required to monetise you, because otherwise you don’t get paid, which is a form of censorship, despite the fact that YouTube.com could block your IP or nation or shut down entirely and replace the whole site with hello.jpg from goatse.cx on a whim. You have no rights endemic to YouTube.com, apart arguably from expecting them to not publish your routing numbers and maybe wanting them to pay you your seventeen cents if you didn’t break whatever rules they could cite when they didn’t do that. It’s not an issue of free speech; anyone saying it is…he’s just wrong and stupid and possibly plaid.

    A lot of people were purged, as it were, when monetisation suddenly required ten thousand views. Some were troll accounts uploading whatever laughable attempts at intimidation or whatever; not a small percentage were people, not entirely unlike me, using the site as a sorta someday hobby thing and making a few cents a year. Which…now might be a good time to pull the pin….

    Here’s a small concern I’ve got about that. Somewhat notoriously, in getting advert revenue outta DoNoEvil, Inc, you’ve got this threshold: they won’t pay you until they owe you a hundred bucks. Which, out here in the world, is kinda nothing; it’s a trip to the supermarket, or filling up the car two or three times. But, if you’re taking weeks or months or years to hit a hundred bucks from adverts, that hundred is kinda special. It’s a milestone. It shows that, whatever else can be said of you, you’re worth, over whatever epoch of waiting, a hundred bucks in the advertisement meritocracy.

    What I don’t happen to know is whether people getting demonetised for having less than ten thousand views, who necessarily therefore had less than a hundred bucks coming to them, ever got their <$100.

    I’m not worried about this legally. If DoNoEvil, Inc, say that you get a hundred bucks after earning a hundred bucks, then that’s the facts; earning ninety-nine kicks you outta the deal. It’s like the big huge steak that’s only free if you eat all ten pounds of it. Fall short, and you lose the bet. Legally, DoNoEvil, Inc, could stiff people on their $99 and no lawyer who’s not a plaid smurf would ever blink.

    Ethically, however, they’d have ever yet more trouble remaining DoNoEvil, Inc.

    So I wonder about that. And, now, I wonder whether they’re gonna pay all these people they’re about to demonetise their one cent or ninety-nine ninety-nine. I dunno.

    I’ve actually got a cheque sitting here on my desk. Dumb luck; it showed up in the mail yesterday. It’s nothing: fifteen bucks. Got it because one of my income streams happened to give up and shut down recently. Meaning a couple years ago. Anyway: I happened to wonder whatever happened to them, a couple weeks ago, and hit their site. It was different. And, while I still had access to the backend, the whole purpose of the site had changed and I was no longer making money from them. So: yay.

    Clicked around a bit; found the explanation: pretty much just that—that they weren’t making the money they’d wanted to make, so they changed gears and shut down and reinvented and, now, they’re doing this other thing. But they’ve got my money, if I want it; just click here and they’ll mail it out.

    I did; they did. So, one of these decades, I’ll get round to phonecamming the cheque and digitising this fifteen bucks into my bank account. And then maybe buy a taco.

    DoNoEvil, Inc, could, if they prefer the nightmare of directdepositing several million little bursts of less than a hundred bucks to the nightmare of losing all DoNoEvil credibility, do the same thing. Sorry we did this stupid thing; here’s the fifteen bucks you took a decade to build up; say Hi to whatever mascot Chipotle might have….

    I don’t know whether they’ll do that. And I probably won’t find out, since I’ve been in their advert scheme even longer than I’ve been at YouTube.com: whether I get whatever they owe me from videos will probably be lost within what I get from having adverts on websites. But maybe I’ll watch for whatever itemised thing for a couple months.

    And, technically, I still don’t know whether, once again, I’ll get special treatment for predating them at the site. In this case, there’s sorta no reason I should: YouTube.com was never monetised before it made $1.65billion all at once and then started running adverts. YouTube.com as a paying gig has always been entirely DoNoEvil, Inc’s idea. So, on that point, that’s okay.

    I just…I guess I’m a little insulted by the idea that DoCorporateRaiding, Inc, trolled in and bought a site I was a member of, and then they might demote me to nadapartner in three weeks.

    Which is to say that, yeah: this new threshold of four thousand hours in the last year [in numbers your brain likes, that’s about eleven hours a day, 365 days in a row] and a thousand subscribers is apparently gonna kick me out of their little programme. No more pennies per advert not already blocked by μBlock for me; so sad.

    Funny is that, in my case, it’s more about the subscribers. I’ve got…seventy-five. I’m really not sure how many hours of viewtime I’ve got in the last year; maybe enough. But, partly because I resolutely refuse to pavlov out remember to like and subscribe for I want the attention of a moron who can’t think to do that until ordered to click things, my subscriber count to date is…less than the seating capacity of a cinema. Which is less than that of a symposium once fronted by a guy who was my subscribercount rival. Which is kinda funny.

    Partly it’s funny because it’s not a problem. Because, even without looking, I can just about promise that, by now, I could hit fiverr.com and grab myself a thousand subscribers for…well…five bucks. There’s zero doubt in my mind that someone’s already developed an industry around this. Like…really, I should go look into it; I should do exactly that, whether anyone else has already done it or not. Betcha that makes a hundred bucks faster than uploading videos does.

    But I don’t really care. I’m not missing meals.

    It does however raise a question outta me. A suspicion. A hunch that, whatever reasons DoNoEvil, Inc, might think they have for pulling this brainless stunt, we’ve already outsmarted them.

    By we, I pretty much just mean everyone who can outsmart a moron. It’s a large number without observable affiliations.

    You don’t wanna see people, who have an agenda, trolling in and launching an account and getting monetised for fame and fortune and presumed endorsement by uploading videos you don’t like? Yeah: okay. And, while I’m here: you really think that the sort of trolls you fear wouldn’t have a vast network of other trolls you fear, all subscribing to each other, all running muted videos in the background to hit eleven hours of viewing time per day? You really imagine you can defend against weaponised autism? Because Shia LaBeouf once thought as you do; you don’t know the power of the lulz. You ridiculous amateur infants.

    Which isn’t about me; I don’t care. But, I once had a guy who’d just bought a Lamborghini for the purpose of bugging me ask for input on this little speech he was giving about never messing with people’s money. My answer to that? You’re not wrong. He wasn’t. DoNoEvil, Inc, are.

    It’s not gonna work. It never works. That I alone can see how much it’s never gonna work should tell you something. But, you go right ahead and pull this stunt in the face of however many thousand spergs who can track down a flag in another country by timing the contrails forming behind planes flying overhead; you at DoNoEvil, Inc, lack the processing power of this massive organic dick of a computer.

    I don’t know. At this point? I just can’t guess. Maybe DoNoEvil, Inc, will still get over their panic and rethink this stupid idea before…whatever the deadline is: 2Xth February, I think. Maybe they’ll walk back this whole stupid accusation that the only people who’d have less than a stupid number of views and subscribers are criminals, and the stupider idea that those criminals are the only people who can’t outsmart DoNoEvil, Inc.

    But I kinda doubt it now. Sure: after only, like, six years of misunderstanding how names work, they silently fixed the backend in the abandoned G+ suckspace and stopped requiring people to lie about their names; but this is, like, two and a half weeks they’ve got to grok that they’re doing the dumbest thing they could ever try, if their plan is to rid YouTube.com of trolls and keep the people who actually make the site worth hitting.

    Oh. Did you wanna hear how to defeat the trolls in an effective way? I’ll give you a hint: I don’t work for you; ask someone you’re trickling taco money onto.

    Have a webcomic:

    More later….

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    <— Space Bear

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