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Thursday, May 22, 2003

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Time For Wizbang To Shitcan Blogspot

As with other Blogspot users I am now seriously caught up in moving off of Blogspot. Over at Jay Solo's Verbosity, Jay has been mulling over a move to MT. I've been using BlogWorks XML at MediaReview an have really been enjoying it. So I'm getting ready to pack up this site and covert it over to BlogWorks. The benefits are a RSS feed, comments hosted locally, trackbacks and all the other modern conveniences like indoor pluming.

I had the motivation to get involved in COTV, and wouldn't you know it that's when Blogspot slow to a crawl. Coincidence? I think not...

Posting will be lite for the next day or two while I gather up my belongings for the move...

One thing about Jay: he is working his ass off at blogging. Pay him a visit, you'll be glad you did...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The Rise And Fall Of A Blogger

Dawn Olsen has a great post on how to generate traffic to your blog here. Forget all the posts on other blogs on the topic, Dawn owns it now.

In a nutshell her advice for traffic seekers: Sell your soul to the devil
In a nutshell her advice for the rest of us: Blog from the heart

Loved the PS about marrying Moxie. That queue would make the Matrix Revisited opening night line look short by comparison.

P.S. - I'm not that guy, just happened to be the place where Moxie kindly gave me a mention - Thanks Mox!

From MediaReview: Unrepentant Blair Taunts 'Idiot' Editors

The New York Observer has an exclusive with Jayson Blair. The Observer appears to have no permalink system, so the link to the article will probably eventually disappear. Also their server is swamped.

It is a fascinating read for a delusional self centered look at the NYT crisis from Blair's point of view. He certainly has all the qualities of a sycophantic suckup in the corporate world, but unfortunately for him his "job" keeps interfering. Actually writing stories seems to be the least of his talents. He reminds me of Kipp Steadman from the ABC show Less Than Perfect

Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post summarizes the Observer article. Use the Kurtz article if the Observer site is down.

Best Of Wizbang

Some Wizbang items you may have missed:

Intuit To Discontinue Product Activation - TurboTax users read this!
Comments - Enough To Set A Web Master Over The Edge? - Did a hacker cause the Case Western shootings?
Circular hypocrisy - Guns and kids...
Kidnapping Lands Egyptian Grandmother In Maryland Prison - Investigative journalism, some of it my own.
A Modest Proposal - What if the RIAA paid you to stop sharing MP3's?
Drug Problem, or Pain Problem? - Expansion on a Winds of Change topic.
MSNBC - A shift to the right? - Linked by the almighty InstaPundit.
Tucker Carlson is a spudgun freak

I will probably link this into the menu at some point.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Carnival of the Vanities - Week 35

Wizbang is a proud participant in COTV. The 35th edition of Carnival of the Vanities is at cut on the bias. A collection of the weeks top posts from a variety of blogs await your clicks. For those passing through via COTV, I hope you will poke around the Wizbang site a bit, there's lots of good stuff here :-).

Monday, May 19, 2003

Another Reason To Hate Delaware

A quick getaway to Dewey Beach in Delaware this weekend, and what do I see in the local papers? Low-digit tags fetch six-digit prices. Here's a quote from the article:

Low-digit license tags are all the rage in Delaware, where some equate small numbers with big status. The fad started before World War II but has taken off in the past decade, with single-digit tags now valued at prices normally associated with home mortgages.

A No. 9 tag formerly owned by Charles Murphy of Milford was sold at auction a few years ago for a record $182,500.

"I was offered $250,000 for it when I got home," said Wilmington developer Anthony Fusco.

Apparently there is too much money floating around the small state of Delaware when a license plate is worth over $100,000.

Update: For COTV readers, here is my original rant against Delaware (I-95 tolls and incorporation fees).

Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday Joke

I'm taking a break from posting this weekend for a quick getaway with the wife. I'll start posting again Monday night. I'll leave you with a joke I heard that made be laugh out loud (which very few jokes do).

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a
bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and
begins to talk.

MAN: "Hello"
WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"
MAN: "Yes"
WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat.
It's only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"
MAN: "Sure, ...Go Ahead....If you like it that much."
WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new
2003 models. I saw one I really liked."
MAN: "How much?"
WOMAN: "$60,000"
MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."
WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing....the house we wanted last
year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000."
MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer, but just offer
WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you!"
MAN: "Bye, I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are looking at
him in astonishment. Then he asks: "ANYONE KNOW WHO THIS PHONE BELONGS TO?"

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Intuit To Discontinue Product Activation

The loud and vocal protesting worked: Intuit backed down.

Did you know there was an issue? Get the background information at ExtremeTech. The product activation idea probably sounded good to Intuit at the time, but the heavy handed implementation and their lack of preparation for the shitstorm that followed doomed their tax season.

Most users were unaware of the product activation requirements until after they had bought the product. As the publicity and complaints escalated Intuit tried to defuse the situation, yet the protests continued. Intuit did not meet their sales targets in large part due to lower than forcast growth in the TurboTax brand. The potential of a an organized boycott by loyal TurboTax customers next year seem to have had an impact at the corporate suite at Intuit.

H&R Block tried to capitalize on consumer fears in a marketing campaign for their TaxCut product that proclaimed tax software should "instill confidence. Not install controversy." Most tax software users had already purchased their software by the time the controversy erupted, so H&R Block didn't get a ton of traction. H&R Block was poised to go on the offensive next tax season. Some TurboTax users were advocating a boycott of all Intuit products.

Don't think that this is an isolated case. Other vendors are mulling over the whole copy protection and activation issue. In this case a noteworthy failure in implementation by a major vendor may give them cause to reconsider.

Here's how Intuit addressed the issue in their press release:

"All in all, this was a solid tax season for us," said Bennett. "We grew faster than the industry and were successful in driving customers to new, higher-end offerings, though product activation didn't perform as we'd expected. Intuit has a long heritage of doing right by customers, and some of our customers didn't have the great experience they expect from Intuit. In addition, we didn't get the revenue and profit growth we expected. Therefore, we've decided to discontinue product activation next season." Bennett noted that next year, the company would include in-product technology to unlock marketing and trial versions of TurboTax products.

Times Meeting Details

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has the notes from the Times staff meeting. Read his column here. You've got to believe that the Post is just having so much fun watching this unfold. Remember it was the ass kicking they got (based on Blair's falsified stories) in their own backyard on the sniper case that started all of this.

Canada Labels Mossad Informer "Terrorist"

Via Marduk's Babylonian Musings

The Canadian government in its continuing effort to piss off every government is used to have good relations with has label a Mossad agent a "terrorist" and refused his refugee protection request.

Here's the National Post story.

Another feather in the cap of the Chrétien government.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

So I'm on a work trip to Boston, watching TV in the hotel room when I see an infomercial screaming:

"When is a diet pill worth $153?"

OK I'm mildly interested in the marketing pitch. They are trying to use the price as an indicator of product value. The product they are trying to sell is Leptoprin. Never heard of it?

I did a little snooping around and found a debunking site. I have no idea who these chicks are, but 3FatChicks have debunked this product by analysing the label. The major ingredients are calcium and aspirin.

In summary if you buy this product you are paying $5 a day for an aspirin and vitamin tablet. Sounds like a bargain, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Bronx Student "Fisk" Wall Street

No actual Fisking, sorry - I just liked the sound of it. None the less the students at Clara Barton Elementary in the Bronx are kicking you ass in playing the market. They're also kicking Wall Streets ass. Their game portfolio is up 44%. Their strategy? Invest in companies who's products they use.

The New York Post op/ed piece details some of their picks like Timberland, Ticketmaster, JetBlue, and Microsoft. I wonder if they would be interested in taking over management of my 401K?

Comments - Enough To Set A Web Master Over The Edge?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that a hacked post and deletion of web site files are what lead to the Case Western shooting last week. Loner's rage burned after ruin of Web site details the Biswanath Halder's obsession with blaming Shawn Miller for a nasty comment left at his web site and deleting the web site content. Millers was apparently targeted by Halder because he was the computer lab operator who suspended Halders account privledges.

Halder's problems at CWRU began in June 2000, when a visitor to his Web site left a mocking message: "Bizzy Halder is a moron. This guy makes a living out of creeping people out. From his fake hair, to his fake teeth, his whitey tighty shorts and pants. . . . this guy is LOON."

A month later, someone Halder described as a hacker deleted his Web site files. Halder was convinced the culprit was Shawn Miller. He first complained to CWRU's administration, then to the University Circle police.

Miller has denied doing anything to Halder's computer files. Miller's lawyer argued that Halder focused on Miller because the lab assistant told Halder his computer privileges were suspended.

Given the nature of blogging let's hope there are no bloggers in the same state of mind as Halder. You wouldn't want to be the one to post a comment on his site and set him off.

Five Hurt in Badger Rampage

LONDON (Reuters) - An angry domesticated badger savaged five people, leaving one man so seriously injured he needed skin grafts, and chased away pursuing police officers during a 48-hour rampage through a quiet English town.

One-year-old Boris launched what experts described as unprecedented attacks after finding himself hungry, alone and frightened after being stolen or released from a wildlife visitor center where he had been hand-reared and hand-fed.

"I have been involved with badgers for 24 years and I have never heard of anything like this, nor has anyone I have spoken to," Mike Weaver, chairman of the Worcestershire Badger Society told Reuters on Tuesday.

Weaver was brought in by police to catch Boris, who had bitten the five victims' arms and legs after getting loose near Evesham, Worcestershire, in central England.

The officers themselves had been chased onto the bonnet of their car as they tried to round up Boris, who was later put down.

Weaver said badgers were notoriously powerful animals and the incident showed the folly of trying to turn wild animals into pets.

I just had to post this. Why would anyone want to domesticate a badger...

Monday, May 12, 2003

Texas Woman: "God Told Her To Kill Her Kids"

There's just no way to imagine what could be going through this woman's mind: Mother charged in Mothers Day's murder. Deanna Laney's brother-in-law (the pastor at their church) delivered the following sermon Sunday regarding the murder. The Laney family were to all appearances a normal family, and Dee did not have depression problems according to early news reports. Deanna Laney killed her two older boys, and attempted to kill her 14 month old boy. 14-month-old Aaron, was in critical condition Monday at Dallas Children's Hospital. CNN is reporting that Laney is acting erratically in prison.

Is there something going on in Texas we should know about? Sounds eerily familiar to the Yates case. On the topic of the Yates case, here is an interesting take: Satan Plays Major Role in Yates Murder Trial

The trial brought to light the influence of Michael Woroniecki on the Yates family. The Unrepentant Idealist has a lengthy take on the god of Woroniecki. My favorite line:

Can the "good news" be so trite as to be reducible to "you don't have to spend eternity in hell"?

It would not be surprising to find Woroniecki (or someone like him) tied into this case as well. Otherwise what could possibly posses a mother to commit such an obscene act?

Friday, May 09, 2003

I've Been Promoted

Apparently I am the Canadian Minister of Environment and Labour. I wish someone had told me earlier I would have made some capricious decisions and resigned in protest over the governments decision to lick the boots of France.

As to the nasty golf course battle: I reward golfers and piss off environmentalists. I guess the other Kevin Aylward is not so bad after all even for a lefty Canadian. I too am all for more golf courses. Of course I will be asking for Clintonesqe comped membership or rounds.

Update: I have resigned. And it turns out my minister position was for the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. There may have been some ulterior motives in my resignation from the post. Oh well...

Hollywood Invades The Blogoshpere

Of course I'm exaggerating. Production companies are not likely staking out blogs to acquire the film or television rights. What with all the media convergence though where is the one as yet unsown fertile field? The blogoshpere, of course.

The assignment today is to give a representative movie, mini series, series, of actor/actress to go with a blog. Another way to think about it is imagine you were pitching a blog to a studio exec. How would you describe the blog in terms of a Hollywood reference. Maybe if you were pitching the BitchGirls you might describe them as Thelma and Louise on the Internet. For the record, yes I know there are more than two BitchGirls - it was just a quick example.

I haven't thought it through extensively but I'll throw out a few examples:

Blog                                    Movie/Series/Star
Rachel Lucas                        Annie Get Your Gun
Amish Tech Support             Witness meets Caddyshack
InstaPundit                          Dan Ackroyd in the Bass-O-Matic SNL spoofs
Moxie                                   Kim Novak in Vertigo

That's all I have for now... The InstaPundit analogy only make sense if you have been following the filthy lie campaign at IMAO.

Discuss amongst yourselves - here, there, or anywhere...

Circular hypocrisy

Maybe I'm just opening myself up for flames, but the whole assault weapon ban debate has me in twisted in knots of pretzel logic. First a couple facts:

1) Growing up I hunted, and all the men and some of the women in my extend family hunted. We fly fished a lot as well, but that's not so important. My grandfather was a midwestern lawyer who lived on a large ranch in Kansas. My dad and siblings grew up on the ranch.

2) I own no guns.

3) My wife, to my knowledge has never fired a gun.

4) We do not let our kids play at a house where we know the owners keep guns.

5) I believe that people have the right to own guns.

That list may or may not put me in a large group of the citizenry, I don't know and I'm not really interested in finding out. My problem with guns mostly centers around automatic weaponry. For self defense and AK-47 is just not necessary. I grew up on shotguns and rifles. Imagine how much easier the whole debate would be if handguns and automatic weapons did not exist. It's real hard to "conceal" your shotgun. Concealed weapons are what freak me out. If I know you have a gun (because I can see it or your shotgun racks) I'm in gun safety mode. It's a learned habit, you could not accompany the adults on a pheasant hunt without the proper amount of training and respect for weapons in our family.

So if you really want an automatic weapon, my question is why? For sport? To kill the bad guy real good? I just don't get it. There is plenty of fire power legally available in gun and sporting good shops. None of us are in such danger that we need to spray 1000 rounds a minute at anyone. Again I harken to the midwest where your pickup does your talking. Every other pickup has a gun rack and a good many have an unloaded or loaded weapon in them. Not the place to whip out your Saturday Night Special, when probably 25% to 50% of the population has the drop on you.

In the postage stamp world of suburbia the equation is different. I don't know how many of my neighbors have guns, and I'm not really looking to find out. But when a neighbor announces that they keep a gun in the house, they are off the playlist. It's not my job to police them for gun locks and proper safety conditions. Logic dictates that I must assume that they are dumbshits and any small child could find and discharge their weapon as easily as they could stuff a popsicle in the VCR.

So there you have it, I'm all for gun rights, except for your tripod mounted Bazooka, and Matthew and Andrew can't come over to play today, they're uh sick, yeah that's it...

Thursday, May 08, 2003

GM Should Be Felating Murdoch For Buying DirecTV

In the neverending charade that is the Congressional hearing, Democrats were trying to do a little grandstanding at the expense of the potential new owner of DirecTV (See Ruppert Murdoch Defends DirecTV Purchase).

What these asshats forget is how royally GM screwed the pooch on this deal.

Just 2 years ago GM blindly accepted EchoStar's $32 billion bid for DirecTV over a smaller News Corp bid. Still Murdoch was up there close to the EchoStar bid and had been in negotiations with GM for a long time. Any clown could see that a merger of the only two players in the satellite TV market in the US would invite regulatory intervention, and to no ones surprise that is exactly what happened. GM's sell off strategy always seemed to be to find anyone available to bid up the price against Murdoch, who clearly wanted DirecTV.

Fast forward to last month and GM had pissed away billions in profit and finally sold a controlling stake in DirecTV to Murdoch for $6.8 billion. Hughes (the parent company of DirecTV) tracking shareholders are furious at the losses that they have had to absorb. GM clearly needed to cash out, but over the course of shopping the asset to everyone but the one man who really wanted it they managed to deflate the selling price massively. I think News Corp. should have let GM twist in the wind a little more, but at the end of the day they got their prize and GM is left holding the bag.


Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Delaware Bashing

I was all set to do a big long rant on how I detest Delaware, specifically the government of Delaware. In a nutshell they operate like the Soprano's, constantly looking for new ways to shake down outsiders. The giant scam of their "forced robbery" on Interstate 95 was my major beef. So I started listing all of my grievances against the state, and in the process of doing research on exactly how much money they make off of the 11 mile stretch of I-95 that runs through their state I found Jonathan Chait's THE CASE AGAINST DELAWARE - Rogue State at TNR. He nailed it...

Here are two major points with regard to how the state of Delaware forces you to help fund their state coffers:

Altogether Delaware collects some $120 million--around 6 percent of its budget--from tolls, most of it extracted from non-Delawareans.
Incorporation fees... Delaware collects so many of these fees that they, along with some associated revenues, account for a whopping one-quarter of total state revenues. The revenue stream is so large (relative to Delaware's budget) that the state needs no sales tax.

Damm I hate that toll.

How Could One Blogger Be Any More Wrong?

Some one named RonK has a post at Daily Kos that is trying to revise history in real time concerning Iraq. The full post is here. While I take issue with just about every line in the post, there is one particular item that is so wrong it just cannot be left hanging out there. It is regards to the effect of the war on terrorism. Here's the quote:

Forget what you've been hearing for the past year and a half. Terrorism doesn't depend on money, or state sponsors ... though it will use both if it can. Organized terrorism lives or dies on the dynamics of two key population subgroups:

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Terrorism (9/11 style) depends on nothing but money. Any assclown can get a grenade and blow himself up in a Tel Avi restaurant. It takes money to fund a cell of sleeper terrorist on foreign soil with no jobs. Correction, it takes a lot of money. That is what is so interesting about the emptying of some of the coffers in Iraq reported over the last few days. If we don't track and recover that money surely some will make it into the hands of the bad guys. History has proven that an effective terrorist organization requires either state sponsorship or wealthy benefactors. Run down the list of every terror organization currently known and you will find a mini bureaucracy that requires care and feeding.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Kidnapping Lands Egyptian Grandmother In Maryland Prison

This is a story that caught my eye this morning as I scanned the pages of the Washington Post. Buried in the local section was a story about a a custody feud and kidnapping landing a grandmother in prison. The story is here.

The unique angle to this story is the the custody holder is the Maryland father and the mother is the kidnapper. Her escape to Egypt was made substantially easier due to the fact that her family is very wealthy, and they were active participants in the kidnapping. I did a little digging and found various articles on the history of the story. Here are the relevant articles (in reverse chronology):

Fox News story story on the kidnapping

Fox News story on the sentencing

And in a bizare twist: The mothers recent add for an Au Pair in Cairo

After reading all the articles it is really hard to feel sorry for the grandmother, who could not be bothered to obey the first rule of fugitive justice - never return to the country you are wanted in. The allure of her San Diego condo was too great. Another strange part of the story is that the mother fled the country in the middle of a custody battle, that in most cases she would have won. By kidnapping the two children she automatically lost her case. Another odd piece of the story is that the mother and grandfather seem content to let the grandmother rot in jail rather than return the kids. Given the number of international custody kidnappings it would seem prudent for Maryland officials to keep the only bit of leverage they have (the grandmother) over the mother.

From NY Daily News - Rush & Molloy
The '70s folkie formerly known as Cat Stevens has become a voice of moderate Islam since the the Sept. 11 attacks. But Israeli officials are charging that thousands of dollars donated by the "Peace Train" songwriter for humanitarian causes in 1988 were rerouted to the terrorist group Hamas, GQ magazine reports.
The article by Jake Tapper claims that Stevens, who changed his name to Yusef Islam in 1977, gave the money to Mouhammad Abdel- Rahman, a son of the notorious blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
"We don't think this - we know it," Israeli government spokesman Daniel Seaman tells the magazine.
Islam also helped radical cleric Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad get a lawyer after he was jailed for saying Britain's then-Prime Minister John Major was "a legitimate target" for assassination, the mag reports.
His brother, David Gordon, says Islam has distanced himself from radicals and argues "no one ever knows where the money goes" with such charities.

That's like acting suprised that a contribution to the Greenpeace would go to fund a bunch of hippies trying to intercept a Japanese whaling boat. Cat Stevens is an ass. At least he hasn't signed the pro Castro letter, yet...

Coming Soon US Version Of UK Hit Coupling

If you are a fan of Friends you owe it to yourself to check out the UK comedy Coupling on BBC America. Do this now before the only reference you have to the Coupling series is a NBC remake of the show coming this fall.

NBC president Jeff Zucker is quoted in a NY Daily News article as saying the show would be slotted for a 9:30 PM time slot. The likely candidate night is Thursday, as the show would fit as a bookend to Friends.

Coupling is the smartest comedy of the genre on the air right now. Much like Seinfeld in its heyday, but more sexually edgy. I will not bore you with plot or character summaries, I'll just implore you to seek out the original version. For those without BBC America, I know that Coupling plays on some PBS stations. Search for it on Tivo - you do have a Tivo, right?

Unfortunately the character of Jeff, played on the BBC version of Coupling by Richard Coyle will probably be a disappointment to anyone who is a fan of the British version of the show. There is almost no way to describe what he adds to the show. The best analogy I can think of is Christopher Lloyd's manic Jim Ignatowski character on Taxi, but more focused on breasts.

Monday, May 05, 2003

A Modest Proposal

There has been a lot of press recently on the after effects of the decision against the major record labels in their case against Morpheus and Grokster. Much of the speculation has centered on the record labels potential use of proactive search and destroy programs against consumers. Most of the information coming out is aimed at the casual P2P user as a form of FUD (fear, uncertainty,and doubt). The record industry wants you to believe that they are the bogeyman who can lock your computer or erase parts of your hard disks if you continue your copyright infringements. For the most part, it's all BS.

Technically all of the shadowy types of measures they are leaking to the press (see the NYT article - Registration required) are already available in the form of viruses, trojans, etc. Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has some legal advice for the record companies, and was where I saw the NYT article first. There is nothing revolutionary being discussed, rather it is that the potential threat comes from multi billion dollar conglomerates as opposed to teenage hackers. There is almost no chance of the record companies crossing the line into proactive destruction of your computer property, there is only the perception that they are able to do it. If you believe that the record companies or their agents may launch such an attack against you, your file sharing behavior will change, so the logic goes. When that day comes, the record companies will have scored a partial victory in the war against music trading. Imagine if everyone on Kazaa stops sharing, figuring the other guy would share. When that day comes the service stops being effective.

So the premise is that the record company would like to index your computer for illegal media (MP3's) and remove them. Here is my offer to the record companies. I will opt-in to a piece of software that ensures that my computer does not store ill gotten music or media under one condition: You have to pay me!

My payment, of course, would be in music or credits to CD stores, online music services, etc. Basically I agree not to participate in music trading for a payoff. I am making a rational economic decision based on an examination of the music economy as it exists at this instant. There is a continuum in the music industry between free MP3's available on the P2P networks and the $15 to $19 CD I can get in the store. If I like a single song and want to listen to it, the marketplace leaves me little choice but to go to a P2P service to get it. It's not like I can walk into the CD store and pay for one song. If on the other hand I want to get the latest Dave Matthews album, I must make another choice between spending all of the time necessary to get every track off the P2P networks or just stopping by the store and paying the full price for the CD. Given that I have a job and kids, I do have a monetary value attached to my free time. Downloading and burning a CD could take at least an hour of my time, hence in most cases I would opt for the CD purchase (especially if the price were lower). Obviously students and teenagers have a much lower monetary value attached to their free time and may be less inclined to stop using P2P.

So if I let the record companies (and/or the movie industry) certify my PC as copyright infringement free, I expect that they will pay me for that privilege. Why? Say, for example, that I "steal" 50 albums a year at a loss to the record industry of $750 per year. Keeping my PC copyright infringement free would lead me to spend some portion of that $750 dollar loss on actual recorded music. For this example lets say that by participating in the "program" I buy $250 worth of CD's that I would not have otherwise bought. At this point the record industry has made incremental revenue gains of $250 with the added benefit that I cannot share the music with millions of my closest friends. Forrester estimates the record companies are loosing $3.1 billion dollars a year to 1 million or so users of P2P systems. In that case I would be costing them about $250 a month as an average user (sound a little high to me). So if the net benefit of my departure from the P2P field would be $3250 dollars a year, what would I really like from the record companies in return? How about a cut of the profits, by way of some free songs? The exact number and frequency are really not the point, market conditions and rational self interest will determine at what point I agree to "buy" the monitoring program. Is it one song a week, month, year? There are any number of levels that will satisfy various percentages of the P2P community.

If participating in the slow demise (one PC at a time) of the P2P networks earned me the opportunity to make one legal mix CD every couple months I would probably sign on. A lot of other casual users might sign on as well.

My premise is that the record companies are only really aiming at the casual user of the P2P systems. Hardcore users with nothing but time on their hands would probably be immune to any offerings. So as a casual user myself, why do I use P2P systems? It is most certainly not to get whole albums, rather it is to make "mixes" of favorite songs or artists or genres.

Anyone who has used P2P knows that getting a whole album is usually a less than satisfying experience. Whether it is poor sample rates, missing songs, or cutoff recordings, you usually spend a lot of time to make an album copy and the result is not always a great copy. Here's the secret the the labels just flat out don't understand:

The P2P services flourish because there is no good way to get a legal compilation of songs you want from the record industry!

Face it, no one wants a lot of the songs on most CD's. If I hear a Coldplay song I like, I might want to put it on a mix CD for the gym or the car, but at no point will I actually go buy their CD or spend the time necessary to download the entire album. So if you take it as a given that I will never buy a Coldplay CD, what if the record industry had a way to make money from me if I wanted a Coldplay song? This seemed to be the idea behind Apple's entry into the music field with the IPod service. As a side note, if retail music stores stocked only the top 100 CD's and had a machine that made on demand CD's from the catalog of recorded music I suspect that they would do as well or better financially as they do now.

So if the record company is going to pay me to opt-out of P2P wouldn't that cost them a lot of money? No. If the payment was in music that I could get for free from P2P it's pretty much a zero sum game for the record company. I would not be spending money on that Coldplay song either way, and there is only a small out of pocket royalty cost to the label (which I'm sure they would negotiate out of future artists contracts). Think of it like your friendly neighborhood drug dealer giving out samples of the goods, an investment of goodwill for a potential future paying customer...

Update: Charles Hill likes my idea, I think :-).
HobbsOnline A.M. weighs in.


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