The old adage “If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is”. That is, it’s NOT true. Crowdsourcing companies promise a lot more than they can deliver. Our previous post proved to be way too optimistic when we tried to get a couple of those companies to actually deliver those views. What we found was that some proxy servers MIGHT do so.
However, it seems that proxy servers are as much of a bag of snakes as crowdsourcing entities. We noted during our experiments with crowdsourcing companies that some of them proposed to use proxy servers, or actually did so, but they apparently did not succeed in adding more than a handful of views. That apparently was because YouTube is too clever, and they disqualified most of the views for a variety of reasons. For example, if the crowdsource operative used a proxy server located in a country other than his/her own (which they could tell if the visiting IP was from one country in one time zone but the time of the computer to which the IP was attached was set to a different time zone), YouTube disqualified those views.
The other challenge is that most proxy server folks want to be paid in Bitcoin. While you can use dollars or credit cards or gift cards at sites like Paxful, they can be pretty expensive.
The bottom line is that many owners of YouTube channels may find it too expensive and time-consuming to boost their view counts via crowdsourcing or proxy servers.
YouTube’s new policy should create a bonanza for the numerous organizations who provide low-cost labor for doing a wide range of tasks on the Web that are more suited for humans than software, because many of sub-10K view channel owners can flock to them to boost their view counts. The most famous of these is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. When we first heard of what appeared to be slave labor, we were affronted, but when we found that people as ethical as Stanford University researchers used Mechanical Turk we were somewhat mollified. And we quickly learned that it would only cost about one cent to have one of these low-paid “slaves” watch a video for the 30 seconds that is needed to create a “view”, so it would only cost about $100.00 to rack up 10K views. This means that essentially ANY channel owner—including terrorists, racists, and plagiarists–could exceed YouTube’s 10K requirement.
Facebook and a handful of other social media are so entrenched that few people think about life before them. But the Web was conceived 15 years before Facebooks’s founding in 2004. Facebook put a pretty face on the Web, and billions of people have flocked to it. And Google Search, YouTube, and a handful of other giants –fueled by tons of advertising revenues—exercise a lot of control over what people can see and do, so much so that there is growing sentiment about breaking up these monopolistic organizations. And delivering fake news or vicious propaganda from the likes of ISIS (ironically ISIS can even get PAID by YouTube while it disseminates its messages of hatred) adds further pressure for this breakup.
Google is certainly getting a lot out of the $1.76 billion they spent buying YouTube almost exactly 10 years ago today. As of early 2013 YouTube was experiencing one billion unique viiewes/visitors every month, nearly one out of every two people on the Internet, use it for myriad purposes. Anyone at all can upload or watch videos of cats or dancing babies, and Google benefits because it can charge advertisers to put ads adjacent to those videos.
Well, Google sure isn’t making it easy for individuals, thanks to the messy combinations of accounts, email addresses, channels, and browsers that makes it a nightmare to find videos once you have more than one of each of these four entities. And to make matters worse, Google threw its failing Google+ social network into the brew. Using Chrome we find three channels (or are these accounts?)—Wilddancer, Beekeeping (thus far empty as we try to sort out the whole mess), and Bill Coggshall—associated with one email address, and two channels—Car Tunes by Coggshall (which started out as “Car Tunes” that YouTube allowed me to reserve then reneged and forced me to add “by Coggshall”) and email@example.com (strange-looking channel, no?)– associated with a different email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). Using Firefox we find two channels (or accounts?)—Car Tunes by Coggshall and email@example.com—associated with email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Internet and the Worldwide Web have arguably changed the path of history. And they have made companies like Google into mega successes. But those companies have also caused much consternation among their millions of users. Why? Apparently they don’t bother to check with many (or any!) of those users to see how logical and self-evident their websites and associated tools are for their target audiences. Examples abound, and we will be posting some of the more egregious. But the Internet giants could have been even more successful, and keep website visitors on their sites longer (where they would be exposed to more advertisements) if their user interfaces were less opaque. The goal is usability, which is not rocket science. Two of most used tools are the Chrome browser and YouTube, which we will discuss in separate posts.
Did Stephanie Lenz make a bag of money from her video that Universal would otherwise have made? It seems that actually Universal and Prince got a lot of free advertising out of it starting in 2007, no? A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal has just struck a blow against the hubris of music publishers such as Universal who send out takedown notices at the drop of a hat. If every YouTube (or Vimeo et al) video that borrowed a little, or even a lot, triggered so much legal argy-bargy, there wouldn’t be enough lawyers and judges on the planet to deal with it all. Similarly for the print world, and look at all the examples of “the pot calling the kettle black”:
-Google violated copyrights wholesale by scanning millions of books; but didn’t that provide a service to humanity by making intellectual content available for out-of-print volumes?
-Facebook was essentially a college Freshman Register; could it have been sued by thousands of universities collectively?
-Amazon’s Kindle refuses to let owners copy even one word. So all students writing term papers are back to the archaic 3×5 cards in the digital age. How stupid can they be, especially in the days of the Turnitin plagiarism checker technology?
Most Internet users have been spoiled by so much apparently “free” content. Well, of course it’s free to them because advertisers are paying for it, and are putting ads next to that content, just like newspapers and magazines have done for many decades. However, some of the same sort of technology that have brought us all this cornucopia of useful (or at least entertaining) content, is now being employed to strip the ads off this content, as described in some detail by The Financial Times.
Google itself has already (very recently) started a small initiative that lets people pay to watch YouTube videos sans ads. Those are all or mostly for mass market entertainment content, so the cool creative stuff (“coolness” is in the eye of the beholder, so even cat videos count here) may still be afflicted with ads. But we suspect that millions of people would be willing to pay reasonable amounts of subscription money to use sites they value. One proof of that is the large total contributions per year that are made to support Wikipedia. So we can hope that other sites with value-added start to offer alternatives like this new one from Google.
The worst ads are ones that have video (or animation) or audio, which are REALLY intrusive. One of the worst sites in this regard that we personally use is spanishdict.com. (But despite this unpleasant behavior, spanishdict.com, is highly-ranked by Alexa, 1,818 in the world as of May 14, 2015 with a whopping 907 improvement in the preceding three months.) Ironically, when one narrows the viewing window, the ads—which are mostly on the right side—get chopped off. No wonder they have to resort to using audio, video, and animation to attract attention.
Do other mere mortals attempting to set up pictures for their new YouTube channels or avatars for their new Gmail accounts have the same troubles we have been having? Or do they want to discourage users other than advertising customers from having graphics? Or what? For starters, there is no initial guidance given as to desirable or acceptable ranges of pixel counts. (Does Google not believe that we mere mortals know what a pixel is?) Then when we try one of our set of pictures with different resolutions, the gatekeeper deems it too high resolution. On the next try, it is rejected for being too low resolution but now it tells us what the lower limit is so on our third try it is accepted and we drag its corners to fill the target provided. Success! Nope, now the gatekeeper plays another one of his/her tricks. For the YouTube channel picture he/she decides to crop it, apparently to some resolution du jour. For the Gmail account he/she instead says that he/she can’t set it up today so try again later. Huh?! Are Google’s computers tired or something?