Meeja: April 2008 Archives

The 200 millionth download at eMusic has provided an opportunity to take a stab at how many active subscribers the service now has. I did it the not so subtle way by plotting the cumulative downloads against days since eMusic went subscription only. The company conveniently provided three real data points and one implicit point in an arrangement that suggested some kind of power law was at work in the cumulative count.

For one, it implies that the growth of eMusic in the last couple of years has been pretty linear and got a bit of push sometime during 2006. Wasn't that roughly when AllofMP3 got its marching orders?

Hidden comments

13 April 2008

A bunch of people are up in arms about yet another social site that hoovers up newsfeeds so that people can collect all their comments into one place. The two big problems that some blog owners have are these: it's an infringement of copyright as content is being sucked into another site wholesale; and it encourages people to comment on posts away from the source blog, so that the blog owner can't get to see them without subscribing to this new site.

The first point is a tricky one. You could argue that it is an infringement of copyright. However, if you are providing full feeds then Shyftr is really only acting like an online newsreader. The name Shyftr doesn't really help the service's image but, if you don't want copy hoovered up in this way, don't provide full feeds. As this blog isn't ad-supported, it is not that big a deal where the material is read as long as it's attributed to me. Sure, I'd like to know how many people are reading. Owners of sites such as Shyftr would buy themselves a bit more slack if they ponied up readership stats to the people who provide the actual content. But it's not in evil country yet. Anyway, if you're that worried about content leeching, just used a bit of Apache mod_rewriting to serve up partial feeds, or a list of links to Rick Astley videos, to those service's spiders – assuming they've been good and announced themselves.

The second 'problem' is an indication of how misguided some bloggers are when it comes to the subject of The Conversation, although I think there is a small, subtle issue with a site like Shyftr. Because comments appear on blogs, it is easy to be misled into thinking that is where all the action is happening.

Take Scoble, for example, who can be relied upon in these circumstances to come out with this sort of line: "The era when bloggers could control where the discussion of their stuff took place is totally over."

And bloggers had control before? How so? Is that like how nobody discussed what appeared in the papers before blogs came along? Pubs and cafés were eerily quiet as people digested their daily news in total silence, fearing to talk about it because the nasty media had all that control?

I've seen plenty of releases with disclaimers - mostly about forward-looking statements. Or as the CFO of one big analogue chipmaker put it at a financial conference some years back as he put up the obligatory safe-harbour statement: "This basically says that everything I am about to tell you may be a lie."

This disclaimer from Webit PR, however, is a new one on me:

"Disclaimer:

Whilst WebitPR Ltd endeavour to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this Release, WebitPR Ltd cannot accept any liability for:-

• the inaccuracy or otherwise of any information contained in this Release; or

• any loss liability or expense which may be suffered by any party in consequence of acting or omitting to act as a result of any information contained in or omitted from this Release; or

• any loss or suffering which may be caused by or to any party either as a result of the information contained in this Release or such information contained in this Release being inaccurate or otherwise misleading."

I guess this is one of the consequences of more releases being turned up directly by search engines. But it only serves to confirm what we already know: everything in the release may be a lie.