I'm not sure why anyone would see any reason behind Amazon's move to hoard a bunch of gTLDs (global top level domains), other than pure greed.
In a recent open letter (PDF) to ICANN, Association of American Publishers rightfully opposed granting Amazon the control of the .book gTLD. It states:
In short, Amazon makes clear that it seeks exclusive control of the “.book” string solely for its own business purposes, notwithstanding the broad range of other companies, organizations and individuals that have diverse interests in the use of this gTLD or its second-level domains by others or themselves.
Well stated, but does ICANN or anyone else really need a protest letter to recognize Amazon's true motives in hogging as many domains as it can?
So the founder of Megaupload is back with another file-sharing service. Good for him and good for the millions of would be users who use such services.
Let's reserve judgement on what Megaupload is allegedly guilty of but one thing is for sure, American media is but a means to corrupt and bend minds and subdue society, and people pay for it on top of that.
In the US the media is used like a sedative To many, TV, music and movies are like candy to a kid. As long as people are provided with mindless entertainment, they remain passive and controlled. Then commercialism is introduced to sway opinions and move the herd to one direction or another, much like mass hypnosis.
Stealing copyrighted material is illegal, but for the time being we have a choice not to engage in and pay for it. In the end what Megaupload is truly guilty of is giving people a tool to fritter away time with the rubbish called entertainment.
I used to think that the Internet was the great equalizer in the business world. A small guy with programming skills and a big drive sets up a new site and offers a novel service. The service goes viral and the small guy becomes a small company and builds and expands his way to success. The small guy pulls off an IPO or gets acquired and retires to the tropics. It's a happy ending that some have indeed experienced.
But what I have learned is that without some early connections and some cash infusion the small guy can quickly and quietly wither away, no matter how much effort he puts into his novel idea and no matter how many users he attracts. He's destined for a quick failure unless he gets some serious support behind him and fast.
How do I know this? Having operated this very site for some 12 years has given me plenty of lessons to that end. I operate this site as a hobby from the corner of my condo and while the free utilities offered here have a decent number of users, which I assume find them useful, and while I never looked to this site as a means of financial success, this site is in fact too small to succeed. Take these cases:
- For a number of years this site was hosted on various web hosting services such as 1&1 and every few months there was a warning to kick me off the service because the site was exceeding usage quotas. So, like a gypsy, I kept moving the site from one hosting company to another. A financially secure company would have had no issues paying for more resources.
- A couple of years ago Amazon Associates (an Affiliate Network) I was using for this site accused me of cheating and shut down my account, depriving the site from a small stream of revenue. According to Amazon, I had published URL's with my associate account to other sites, violating their terms of service. URL's had in fact been copied to other sites but not by me. Page-scraping and content-stealing robots had done that. A large site most likely would have never been suspended. In my case my appeals of innocence fell on deaf ears in Amazon.
- A few years ago I operated a URL shortening service much like tinyurl and bitly. One day a spammer used the links in a widespread spamming operation and suddenly the domain registrar, GoDaddy, cut off the domain registration claiming that is was spamvertized. It took over two months to convince GoDaddy of my innocence and get the domain back. I shut off the service promptly. This would have never happen to bit.ly or goo.gl.
- Recently a service on this site fell victim to a Nigerian phishing operation to collect bank information from unsuspecting victims. For days my ISP hounded me about this, nearly cutting off my services. That would have never happened to a customer with deep pockets, but I ended up discontinuing the service to guard against possible service termination or potential legal consequences.
- The latest headache came in the form of a DDoS, paralyzing this site. An outside site using one of the widget services from this site came under attack and the attack spilled over to this site causing capacity issues. I had to resort to all sorts of traffic blocking filters to partially mitigate the effects. This would have been a non-event for a larger site, but for this site it meant lengthy periods of slow performance and outages.
The Internet, a great equalizer? Hardly, great ideas can only go so far and without serious financial backing, they are destined for failure and eventual oblivion. I can't imagine how many great innovations have died premature deaths without that all important cash infusion.
Got an email of apology from GoDaddy for the outage they had earlier this week. It sure was a real pain for many and no doubt many lost business over it.
The hosting customers have received a one-month credit for their trouble. The rest, who have a domain or two with GoDaddy, only got the apology email and it was laying it on pretty thick.
We let you down and we know it. We take our responsibilities — and the trust you place in us — very seriously. I cannot express how sorry I am to those of you who were inconvenienced.
Ok, fine, he's sorry and traumatized. Now how about extending the domains for a year to go along with the words?
Last week came the news that Target stores will no longer carry Amazon's Kindle readers. The bold move was basically a retaliatory reaction by Target to what is known as showrooming.
Showrooming is how Amazon encourages its users to visit various physical stores, check out or even try out various merchandize and then go back to Amazon to order them for cheaper prices. In a sense Amazon uses the physical stores as showrooms for free and that creates an unfair advantage in favor of Amazon.
Sure, people can visit Amazon's site too to shop around but a page visit costs Amazon a tiny fraction of a penny while a shopper roaming the isles of a store, and specially inspecting and trying various items could cost the stores multiple dollars.
Target may feel good about removing Kindles from its shelves but that maneuver will be but a blip on Amazon's bottom line. Making the playing field fair will be tall order but for starters Amazon should be required to collect sales taxes on all items sold. If there's heavy resistance, then stores should be exempt from collecting sales taxes as Amazon is.
Paying sales taxes on Amazon purchases will not be popular, but if Amazon is allowed to push physical stores out of business through the unfair loopholes, that will result in a monopoly and there's little doubt that its pricing policy will not favorable by any measure once the competition is wiped out.
Sometimes I don't know how companies get away with their sleazy tactics, but I guess it's because they are loaded and consumers have little power to stand up to them.
Q - If you are Comcast how do you make sure your business customers don't leave you?
A - Lock them into long-term, fixed-price service contracts.
Q- How do you raise your prices on them, despite the fixed-price contracts?
A- Force them to use your equipment and then silently raise your monthly equipment fee.
That's exactly what Comcast has done starting in the new year. Brilliant.
Business Class Equipment Fee
Here comes another attack on the free and democratic way of life.
the SOPA/PIPA bill sponsored by congressman Lamar Smith is about to be voted on by the legislators. On the surface, the goal is to protect copyrights and intellectual property rights on the Internet.
In reality this law is created to bring the Internet under complete control and censorship of the US government. In other words any site can be blocked and any site owner or user can be charged for almost any reasons.
Let's face it, the proposed rules are so loose that just about everyone is automatically in violation of the potential law already. Who needs to go to China to enjoy arbitrary criminal charges and censorship, when you can have all that fun right in the USA.
Stop American Censorship
So after all the bloviating and firing affiliates whose home states wanted to collect sales taxes from Amazon, suddenly it is talking fair taxation.
Where was the fairness when Amazon was (and still is) crushing small business all across the country? I don't like Amazon to begin with anyways, but I hope eBay can push this big bully back a little in defense of the small business.
Amazon, eBay square off over tax collection by small sellers
Sometimes I'm so tempted to to do this: Block China Web Traffic IP Addresses and Chinese Hackers.
Of course if everyone blocked everyone else indiscriminately that would go against the spirit of the Internet.
What's needed is for the ISPs to get off their lazy and greedy butts and block attacks at their sources.
Certainly a bunch of zombies (unwitting users with infected machines) will be caught in the dragnet too, but they can be contacted and urged to clean up their machines before they're allowed back on.
It'll be good for us, it'll be good for them, it'll be good for the Internet.