If you’re already subscribing to this site via RSS through FeedBurner, you’ll notice that I’m now including Google ads in the feeds for anything that’s over 100 words in length. I’d appreciate some feedback on what you think about this – is it too intrusive? Is 100 words too little? Too much?
If you’re reading this via RSS and not using the FeedBurner feed, I’d appreciate it if you switched – I’m not turning off the old direct feed, but using FeedBurner means I get a better idea of how many people read via RSS, as well as getting the all-important AdSense impressions and thus making myself richer than Croesus (or at least getting a slightly more expensive sandwich at lunch).
Link to the FeedBurner feed is here. Update your feed readers!
Don Dodge, who now works on the Microsoft Emerging Business team, used to be VP of product development for the original Napster. In "Napster – the inside story and lessons for entrepreneurs" he gives a fascinating account of his time there, and some great tips for dealing with large businesses if you’re a start up.
One of the most salient points he makes is this:
We told the record labels that we (Napster) had a loyal audience of
over 50M users. We had servers that could control distribution. If they
didn’t do a deal with us and put us out of business then Gnutella and
its derivatives would become unstoppable. There would be no company to
sue and no server to shut down. If we worked together now we could
convert the market to a paying subscription or per download model. If
we didn’t do a deal chaos would ensue. They didn’t believe us and
didn’t really understand what this Gnutella threat was. The record
labels lost billions of dollars in lost revenue over the next several
years, and may never squash the free file trading movement.
How true. There are now many legal download services, and services that meet the needs of pretty much every kind of market (except the "I have no money at all" children’s market – and even there, parents, just lay out the cash for a monthly Napster sub!) yet illegal file sharing persists. Why? Because, in part, the record industry missed its one golden chance to convert Napster users into paying customers before the culture of "I’ll download it for free, thanks" took root.
Courtesy of Apple Matters, from their story titled Note to the Recording Industry: The iPod is not Mtv:
The entire debate really comes down to the following truth: the record companies want more money out of the honest folks who are willing to pay for their music. Before iTunes came along everyone who swapped mp3s could be considered a music thief. When the iTunes music store rolled out a few honest swappers jumped at the chance to go legal. The Music industry regards these folks as sheeple and plans to get them to pay not only for their past sins but for all the sins of file swappers everywhere.
Here one is reminded of the case of Count Fulk the Black of Anjou. The Count, history tells us, was a really bad guy responsible for all sorts of disgusting crimes. At some point the Count decided he wanted to get right with the powers that be so he appealed to the local religious leaders for absolution. Not content with a few prayers and a donation the religious leaders of the day sentenced the Count to a triple pilgrimage to Jerusalem…while shackled. So the Count trudged across France, the Alps, Syria and Jordan and back again three times in chains. Finally, to add insult to grievous injury, on the last trip he was tied to a hurdle and dragged through the streets while being unmercifully whipped by two stout fellows. It is hard to say that downloading music from P2P sites is quite as bad as the crimes committed by the Black Count (though the music industry would probably argue otherwise) but the outcome is the same. When offered a legal option those who seem to be willing to make amends and do what is right will be the ones most damaged by the record companies actions.
UPDATE: The writer of the Guardian’s story, Bobbie Johnson, comments below that he approached Tom and checked if he wanted to be named for the story. Tom didn’t.
Guardian Unlimited has a story about Cillit Bang being caught playing dirty on the net, which is based on Tom C’s recent bad experiences with his blog comments being used by someone to promote the brand. However, alas, it doesn’t mention Tom by name – nor does it provide a link to his blog, despite lifting some of the comments in the story directly from it. While I think it’s perfectly fair to lift comments – lord know, I’ve done it myself a million times – you should always give credit where credit’s due.
Bad Guardian! Play nice on the Internets! Provide links!