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Comment Re:Annoy by Design (Score 1) 156

Take your pick. The problem is that people tend to think of these services, especially within social media, as something other than a "product" with a shelf life. It's not like we make our lives available to our friends and extended family with the idea that it's 'only until the company can't make money any more and the service dies'. Anything on the web that survives for more than about a year, we tend to think of as "permanent"... but it never is. But honestly, the life cycle really seems to be:

- develop product
- release as free/no ads to increase demand
- slowly insert unobtrusive ads
- slowly insert obtrusive ads
- switch to "premium" version to remove ads
- premium version only removes some ads
- sell user data to highest bidder
- die a slow death

I'm not saying that I have any idea how to monetize the web, but I learned old-school marketing, which was #1 - never piss off your customers. #2 - Either you are ad-driven, or pay-for-service driven, but never both, because eventually you will go to far and violate rule #1. And then you're dead.

Comment Annoy by Design (Score 1) 156

Why is it that the current model in large scale endeavors like this is to purposely make something so annoying that the customer would pay to remove that annoyance? Why spend all that money on a clean and simple, easy-to-use interface to attract customers - and then purposely make it annoying? It seems like we go through cycles - a great product appears, it attracts a massive userbase, marketing steps in and fraks it up, users jump-ship to the "next great thing", repeat. I realize that these are businesses which need to make money, but seriously, is general marketing really that stupid? How many years now have we been driving this failed model?

Comment Re:Breaking news (Score 2) 298

"eBook prices are mediated by the supply of good writers..."

Actually, it's the supply of 'good writers willing to write.' Few authors are going to keep writing if they can't make any money. As much as we like to think otherwise, publishers are still needed for most writers. At the very least you need an editor. If you want a reasonable cover, you're going to need an artist and/or designer as well. Then there's marketing, etc. A publisher takes care of all that and lets a writer write. Of course, publishers are still taking a huge slice of the pie, much larger than they should be. Nonetheless, if online sellers are able to keep pushing the price of books down, without setting a fixed wholesale price, then eventually it won't be profitable enough for authors to continue writing. More so, with a 'demand-based' market, only the best sellers get listed in the top slots on Amazon. But you only get to be a best seller because you got noticed. It's a catch 22.

Comment Re:The theater is dead. (Score 1) 924

I haven't seen $8 movie tickets for a normal showing in San Diego for almost five years, hell, maybe ten. Eight bucks *might* get you a small popcorn and a small drink, but most standard shows are around $11.50. $13-15 if it's 3D, which every freaking movies is these days.

But you're right. We stopped going to the theater. I mean, I can take my family of three to a show for around $50-60, OR, I can pay for 5 months of DVD/streaming-all-I-can-watch Netflix and make my own popcorn.

Comment Re:Not to defend Apple, but... (Score 1) 171

Certainly it can be done, and frankly, I think the publishing industry in general must change the way it does things or it's dead in the water. But most of publishing is about getting seen by the right people. You can do that as an author if you have the time (it takes gobs!), and most publishing firms do a crappy job of this anyway. Just like Amazon, they are going to put their real money and time on the books that they know will sell. If you're a first time author (or even mostly unknown) then you get a minimal effort. My wife literally sold more copies of her first book than the publisher did.

Amazon provides a place to be seen, but unless you're somehow able to get the right eyes to read you, you are just a very small fish in vast ocean of other small fish. What sucks is that so many of those other small fish are just bait.

Comment Not to defend Apple, but... (Score 2, Informative) 171

Amazon's model isn't much better. They make their money by setting the price for a best-seller high, and everything else ridiculously low. And this seems reasonable to a "supply and demand" society, but there's an endless supply of ebooks. More over, that means that authors aren't going to make enough money to keep writing unless they happen to have a best-seller - and the market ends up flooded with garbage like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. It's a CostCo mentality. The consumer doesn't know any better, and hey, they're getting most of their books for 99 cents! Seems great from their perspective. But that model kills publishing in general. Anyone who thinks the only cost to publishing a book is the time it takes to write it, has never published a book. Even for a bare-bones self-published ebook, you need at the very least an editor. For anything serious, or that crosses over into the print world, then you need a cover artist, a designer, marketing, and probably someone who knows how to bring it all together... they call those people publishers.

Have you seen the absolute garbage that gets "self published" on Amazon? The ability to put a book out there on Amazon's site *for free*, is perhaps the biggest danger to the publishing industry ever. There are thousands upon thousands of "books" that are nothing more than $.99 scams. Some are literally garbage text or word for word rip off's of someone else's work with a new title. They might only get a few suckers, but they do this *thousands* of times over.

Comment Re:Silverlight greatness (Score 2) 394

Except that the difference between the Streaming catalog and the DVD catalog is like the difference between a burger at McDonalds and a burger at Outback Steakhouse. Sure, there are tons of new releases on streaming, but let's be real... 98% of them are low-budget direct to video crap, with an occasional gem thrown in to keep people thinking there might be more on the way. Most of what people watch on Netflix streaming now are the television shows, and even in that genre there are 99 idiotic realty shows for every one Battlestar Galactica or Breaking Bad. Sure, there are a few movies I wouldn't mind having in my collection to watch when I want (off network, because my service provider is going to cap me), but by far the greater percentage of people just aren't going to bother, especially if the studios would stop putting up content on limited time release. I don't mind paying every month, but it sucks to sit down expecting to re-watch an old favorite, only to find that it's been pulled from the catalog by the studio because they think they can get more sales from the re-release of the Blu-Ray disc.

Comment Re:Good start, but... (Score 1) 119

Ah yes, but the point isn't that the bastards shared my data... That's necessary to conduct business with me, etc. The point is that there's a difference between a "subsidiary" and an "associate". A subsidiary company is a part of the parent, and to some extent shares legal responsibility for your data. An associate company can be anyone that the parent has an association with. It could be a legit and respected service, or it could be a shady marketing firm who couldn't give a rat's ass about you or your personal information. When I click on a consent box, or sign my name on an account card, I'm giving permission to the parent company and their subsidiaries to use (and be responsible for) my data. But I don't know who the hell their "associates" are, vaguely mentioned in some privacy notice that comes as a bait and switch by mail a month later.

This kind of corporate activity is boilerplate now.

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