Category Archives: The Stories

Blipocalypse, How? Notes toward a history of internet video hosting

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On May 28, 2014, I woke to find the following message in my Inbox: “Important Change to Your Blip Account,” the subject line said, and I hereby award it AYTIWS’ coveted “No Shit, Sherlock” Award for 2014. Sorry, everyone, but that contest is over. We all lose.

The rest of the message read:

“We are writing to inform you that, due to recent changes at Blip, we will be closing your account. On July 7th, 2014 we will downgrade your account and no longer accept uploads. On September 1, 2014 your account will be deactivated and you will no longer have access to the Blip dashboard or your content. Your videos will be removed from our system at this time.”

Even though I asked what “recent changes at Blip” led them to this decision, I already knew the answer: they’re trying to become a TV network, despite the fact their own internal studies tell them (and the world) that people are fleeing TV in droves. They’re bringing their TV viewing habits with them (watching during prime time, after they’ve gotten off work, eaten dinner, and are trying to ignore their families) and they’re willing to suffer through an ad at the start of someone’s show…but the last thing they want is a recreation of the landscape they left behind. Yet that is exactly what my video host has spent the last two years pushing.

The reasons for this are rooted in Blip’s founding, almost ten years ago, and in the vast changes since that have completely altering the internet landscape several times over. Continue reading Blipocalypse, How? Notes toward a history of internet video hosting

Adventures In Spamalot

Stop the spam or we'll shoot this dog.

Spam: it’s an old complaint that comes up now again. And since I don’t trust any of the semi-autonomous programs charged with keeping my stuff up on this castle of sand I’ve taken to perusing the long, long, long list of fake messages I get every day from Akismet. In the course of deleting the damn things, the old riff  bug bit down hard, and since blogging is really little more than one big scramble for that evil, corporate euphemism for writing, “content,” I thought I’d share my favorite fake comments with you, the people. {More}

Exploitation Filmmakers: Viral Marketing, Old-School

Amazing what you find in your Inbox. I find it to be a continuing source of synchronicity. Here I am, staring at my site statistics page, contemplating all the usual viral marketing methods. Are they genuinely effective at reaching mass audiences in a cloistered, disaffected age such as ours? How does one put butts in seats when everyone seems content to isolate themselves into provincial, mutually-antagonistic sub-cultures?

Pondering all this, I stumble across a bit of spam from Franklin, Indiana’s own B Movie Celebration. Among the heads highlighted on their Spotlight page, I found the life story of one Howard W. “Kroger” Babb. Born in Lees Creek, Ohio, 1906, Babb earned his nickname working at a grocery story. He fell in with Cox and Underwood, those legendary roadshow movie makers, at some time in the 30s,  and cut his teeth in 1938 shilling a best-forgotten portrait of Ozarks Mountain life called Child Bride . With Child Bride, Babb combined the usual exploitation tactic of aping a salacious film’s “educational” value with an old fashioned, Midwestern, carny barker’s style. This generated far more denero than a no-budget morality play about hicks who marry underage girls (staring a twelve-year-old Shirley Mills, two years out from her role in The Grapes of Wrath) would seem to warrant.

Child Bride‘s trailer showcases Babb’s early work. Incidentally, Babb met his wife during the film’s distribution, who later in life described the film as “the most atrocious thing I ever saw”. {More}