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How Can You Help Content Authors?

November 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, i think we can all agree – the reaction to my last two posts has been … outright chaotic. However the most common response by far has been genuine surprise. A lot of people simply didn’t know what was going on with these “news” hubs leeching content for profit.

Everyone’s been asking what they can do to help original content producers, and i’ve heard all sorts of elaborate, unrealistic suggestions. There’s no reason to make it so complicated.

As a matter of fact, it’s pretty simple. When you see something cool, take a moment to figure out where it actually came from, and support the original author by posting a link directly to the source webpage or channel. Post on your personal blog, or favorite forum, or social media site, or wherever. It takes five minutes and helps the author tremendously!

Aside from the obvious benefit of driving traffic straight to the source, those links also help the author’s webpage get a better search engine ranking. If we all link to real author websites instead of getting lazy and linking to news aggregators, it’ll help content producers a lot.

It’s common sense, really. When you enjoy something, just ask yourself, “Who deserves the credit for making this happen? How can i support them to encourage them to make more?” Basically you just have to make sure that you’re backing the content producer and not the middleman, because the middleman certainly isn’t going to create more of what you enjoy.

If you want to point out a combo video, then link to the author’s transcript or video webpage. If you’d like to share an article or interview, link to wherever the author originally published it. If you feel like discussing tournament results, try to find them on the organizer’s website first. You get the idea, right? That’s all there is to it.

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  1. November 23rd, 2010 at 05:18 | #1

    To be perfectly clear, i’m not trying to gain anything here anymore. I’ve already made my decision and i’m sticking to it. I just hope this whole unfortunate ordeal helps other original content producers down the line.

    Our community as a whole probably should’ve had these discussions long ago, but there was really no reason for it while everyone was abiding by the unwritten rules. And sometimes we’re too polite for our own good. Nobody speaks up until it’s too late and then it’s twice as hard to fight back.

  2. Ryukenden
    November 23rd, 2010 at 07:42 | #2

    Got it!

  3. Pokey86
    November 23rd, 2010 at 09:30 | #3

    This is good advice, i’ll stick to this in future.

  4. image
    November 23rd, 2010 at 11:53 | #4

    Just monetize your videos on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/t/contentid). Doesn’t matter where it’s embeded, you’ll get some clicks.

  5. November 23rd, 2010 at 13:23 | #5

    I’ve tried that, but u2b doesn’t accept gaming videos – except when they do, and then their justifications make no sense whatsoever. Seriously, u2b’s partnership policy has more exceptions than rules. Anyway that’s not the issue here, and neither is money.

    This is basic internet etiquette, going all the way back to 56k days before u2b even existed. If someone makes a cool video, you support them by linking to whatever webpage they’d want you to link to. (And obviously don’t link directly to downloadable files, but that doesn’t come up as often since not many people host their own videos anymore.)

    It’s just common sense. Basically all you’re doing is asking yourself, “What can i do to make this guy happy and increase the chances of getting him to make more of what i want?”

    It changes from person to person too, but it’s usually pretty easy to figure out what people want. Like desk’s videos always have annotation links to his band’s songs, so i try to link to his band page whenever i can. A lot of video makers don’t have personal websites so i just try to find excuses to link to their u2b channels to help them get a few subscriptions. Stuff like that.

  6. KarinNoPapa
    November 23rd, 2010 at 14:25 | #6

    I think part of this has to be on the content producer’s side. It’s nice when people do things they should, but you need to give them a nudge to do that. Brand your site better, make it visually recognizable, have a design, a logo, that sort of thing. Get people out there on other forums posting links back to your site when you post something big and relevant. There’s all kinds of little things that you can use to make it seem like you have a lot of exposure, and that all feeds into random people getting to know that your site even exists, and is something special. You need to get a little bit of the communities mindspace, starting with a toehold.

    Before I said something like “I don’t even know what other sites you run”, which implies ‘you need better marketing’. It ain’t easy, but in this business, content can only carry you so far.

  7. November 23rd, 2010 at 15:43 | #7

    While i agree with you to an extent, isn’t it weird that you’re asking talented authors to waste more time on amateur marketing and have less time to create what you actually want?

    It really kind of sucks to hear people say that the reason we’re not getting more community support is because we’re not good businessmen. Because then the question becomes, “Well how far do you want us to go?”

    Let’s be honest, a pretty logo isn’t going to change anything. I mean if i’m to treat this strictly at a business, what’s to stop me from putting everything i’ve ever made behind a paid subscription? Nothing else has worked, so financially speaking i don’t have anything to lose from charging people money for access to my content.

    Then you could probably threaten me with piracy but i could threaten you back with copyright infringement. You could say that i’ll never find out who’s responsible, but in a community this small, we always find out eventually.

    But if i do any of that, it’ll stifle the flow of information in our community. If you see something interesting in one of my articles and you want to discuss it with your friends, you won’t be able to show it to anyone. And when other content producers follow in my footsteps, it’ll completely ruin the community.

    Do you want me to install pop-up ads on Sonic Hurricane? Do you want to see annoying commercials in my videos? Do you want to see “branded” logos across every combo? Do you want me to say “rate/comment/subscribe!” at the beginning, middle, and end of every video?

    Does any of this sound the slightest bit appealing? I mean, yeah, right now a very good businessman is running a news hub and making a lot of money off everyone else’s work. Can you blame me for not wanting to destroy everything i like about our community in order to take back what’s mine?

    I just don’t understand why people are asking me to do stuff that they don’t actually want happening. You don’t have to help me, but at least don’t blame me for refusing to do shit that nobody wants to see in our community.

  8. Dayun
    November 25th, 2010 at 13:00 | #8

    On a completely unrelated note, happy Turkey Day Maj. Hope you are having a good one.

  9. November 25th, 2010 at 17:50 | #9

    Happy Thanks giving everyone. :}

    I’ll keep doing what I can to help.

  10. November 25th, 2010 at 21:01 | #10

    Thank you sirs. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  11. holyrobot
    November 30th, 2010 at 13:34 | #11

    Hi Maj. Read your article and I can understand where you’re coming from. Generating content consistently is a gut-wrenching process. I tried to do that on my own site for a while with artwork that I was giving away for free online and eventually gave up because it was putting a huge strain on my life outside of working on the site. I think I was putting in somewhere between 25-35 hours a week in addition to maintaining my site. It was literally a 2nd job.

    I noticed you have Google ads on your site to generate revenue and I tried the same thing. Google ads makes hardly any money, a better route would be to try contacting places like Capcom and other companies that might see a benefit from placing an ad on your site and get them to pay you directly on a monthly basis.

    It takes a little more work this way, but if you could show that you generate x number of page views a month and price out an ad so that you make like 1/10 of a cent per page view and sell it that way, then it sounds good to the company and you’re able to count on a certain amount of money in income.

    I know sites like smashingmagazine.com have a good example of ad placement on their sites. It might help to reach out to some companies to try to get ads on your site as a way to supplement some of the costs of hosting a site yourself, etc.

  12. holyrobot
    November 30th, 2010 at 14:40 | #12

    Maj,

    Ha, I read the article, but not the comments yet, I see you already had this discussion about ad placement and pop-ads and what-not. I don’t think you have to go that far to generate income. There’s a way to put ads in the sidebar for your site in a tasteful way without ‘selling out’ or going crazy with ads to the point that you alienate your community. But, it remains to be said that you won’t make money on your site unless you do some sort of effective advertising. I honestly don’t think anyone makes nearly enough money on Google Ads for them to be of any benefit and there are other ad services that let you set the price of the ads and place them in your sidebar.

  13. November 30th, 2010 at 17:17 | #13

    I agree, google ads is pretty much terrible. I’ve looked into other ad providers but most of them have minimum traffic requirements. I think the network eventhubs uses demands a minimum of a million visitors per month. I’m pretty far away from that threshold.

    Street Fighter got really big (which is awesome) because of SF4 – but only big enough to sustain the top two or three Street Fighter websites (in terms of traffic). My goal was to make it into the #5-10 range, and i accomplished that, but it turns out that was only enough to make $1/day (before expenses).

    That’s the issue here. If i spend 5-7 hours daily on content for this website and my goal is minimum wage, then i’m at 2% of where i need to be. That’s not enough to build on. You know, it’s not like i’m halfway to my goal.

    There are probably a few things i could do to get more traffic and earn higher amounts than google ads pays out, but i just can’t imagine it making enough of a difference. Maybe i could get there if i had another two or three years to invest into this, but i don’t have that kind of time.

    Besides, my monthly traffic stats have been declining steadily for several months now. Maybe it’s because SSF4 is getting “old” after eight months? (Maybe MvC3 will relaunch fighting game fever?) Or maybe it’s because more people are gravitating towards “news” sites for their daily browsing routine?

    Either way, the bottom line is the same: Finding a way to sustain this pace of 5-7 hours a day seems impossible. Not difficult – impossible.

    I’ll still contribute whatever i can afford to the community, but i’m also waaay more burnt out than i’m letting on, so i’m gonna need a serious break. Except even that seems far off, because i have so many loose ends to tie up first.

  14. Manic
    December 20th, 2010 at 00:35 | #14

    I know I’m late but what are these underhanded tactics that eventhubs is using?
    And do you lose money from other sites like Iplaywinner and option-select?

    Personally I think you should just give street fighter a break. It looks like you are feed up with the community and I can tell you that its not going to change anytime soon. Alot of jerks and assholes play street fighter but the same can be said for any game community. I wish you the best and thanks for all the videos and guides. I just want you to know that more people appreciate your content then you think. Fuck the haters and keep doing what your doing man.

  15. December 20th, 2010 at 01:11 | #15

    I’ve explained this before but it’s a complicated issue that tends to get buried in older comments, then people don’t bother reading those comments, then it’s like the discussion never happened. That’s why it’s so difficult to fight this bullshit. But anyway, i’ll explain it again.

    It’s fucked up that so many people go to eventhubs to find new combo videos, considering none of those guys have ever made a combo video before.

    (Actually catalyst did upload a 3S Ryu combovid once, which he made by taking a KYSG video and a Mopreme/Kamui video, cutting out the credits, splicing them together, muting the sound, and adding music which he stole from one of my videos. Not shady at all, right?)

    Anyway, what do you usually see when eventhubs posts a combo video? It’s embedded right on the page, the author’s name is listed as plain text (and often written incorrectly), and some random dude’s name is credited for submitting the tip. This is an awesome system as long as everyone is happy with working to put money in catalyst’s pocket in exchange for 15 minutes in the eventhubs spotlight.

    You watch my video on eventhubs and you move on to the next news item. You don’t have any reason whatsoever for interacting with the video itself. You’ve already seen the whole thing, so why bother clicking on anything?

    That means the only thing i get out of making videos is blank views, while eventhubs reaps all the other benefits: repeat traffic, ad impressions, comments, and so on. In fact, catalyst repeatedly listed my website as “Sonichurricane.com” in plain text, without making it a clickable link. Don’t try to tell me it was accidental either. That guy knows what he’s doing.

    Here’s the fucked up part: Incoming links are a HUGE factor in search engine ranking. If you go to google or any search engine and type in “street fighter footsies” you’ll see my website at the top of the results. That’s partly because my footsies articles talk about footsies, but it’s mostly because a bunch of people linked to those articles from SRK and all over the internet.

    Except everyone has gotten into the habit of linking to eventhubs for goddamn everything. Some people even link to eventhubs to share my combo videos, instead of linking to my own website. Meanwhile eventhubs lists my website URL as plain text instead of making it a proper link.

    Basically catalyst has done everything he could to establish eventhubs as a black hole for traffic at the community’s expense, while making it as difficult as possible for anyone else to compete with him. 10k people watch my video on eventhubs, maybe a couple hundred find their way here to read some text. That model doesn’t favor dedicated content producers at all.

    And yeah, it’s the same thing when other sites embed my videos too, but none of them have as much of an impact as eventhubs does. And none of them are as blatantly self-serving as eventhubs is.

    Unfortunately, as i explained above, i feel that most of the things i could do to protect myself against eventhubs would ultimately hurt the community – so i’m not willing to take those steps.

  16. kingsagat
    December 22nd, 2010 at 10:46 | #16

    Maj,

    Here are a few suggestions:

    1) You can prevent embeds on Youtube videos (http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=171780).

    2) The placement of ads on the site is really bad. You should also have an ad on the “first page”. Most people don’t bother scrolling beyond the first page. If you had an ad, where your combo video ad is (top right) , you are much more likely to get clicks. Also, the kind of ads placed are not relevant. Join an affiliate program with Amazon, Capcom etc. and promote SF4 relevant content. Take a look at iPlayWinner’s website for what I mean.

    3) Google Ads will not make money unless the ads are related to your content. Imagine this. You are on a website that reviews beds, but you get an ad about lawnmowers. How likely are you to click?

    4) I think that you should have a link to the website at the beginning of every combo vid. It doesn’t need to be pure text. It can be some tasteful combo screenshot with a link. This will really help drive traffic to the site.

    I know this seems like a lot of work not related to content generation. But it is a one time thing. You should be able to get it done in 5 hours at the max. Maybe going back and modifying old combo vids will take some time. But the first 3 should be a snap.

    I agree that EventHubs is not providing linkbacks on purpose. This gets people to stay at EventHubs and helps them generate more revenue. But that is business. The problem is, you don’t seem like a guy who is particularly interested in making money. Making combo vids, yes. Making money, no. If you don’t like the business aspects, you’ll be better off handing that off to a reliable partner.

  17. December 22nd, 2010 at 12:14 | #17

    Thanks, but no thanks. I know you mean well but you’re like the tenth person to offer those same basic pointers. None of that stuff makes much practical difference. And if i was willing to disable embedding, don’t you think i would’ve done it already? With all due respect man, i’m tired of repeating myself.

    For the record, eventhubs isn’t successful just because that guy’s better at Business 101. The reason he’s gotten this far is because he treats our scene like a marketplace while the rest of us continue to act as a community.

    His whole claim to fame is that he took a whole bunch of strategy posts from SRK and compiled them into character guides, then proceeded to make money off them while giving nothing back (except plain-text credits). You don’t think there are at least a hundred of us who could’ve done the same thing if we weren’t so strongly opposed to the idea?

    That’s not some revolutionary business concept. It’s plain theft, and nobody objected because we’ve never had to deal with anyone so self-serving. SF4 just caught us all off-guard. Has there ever been a time when fighting games were popular enough to make a living by doing what catalyst has done?

    It’s simply never come up before, so it’s taking everyone time to adapt. You have to admit, it’s a hell of a lot harder to counteract the eventhubs effect than it was to create it.

    Anyway, yeah i could do a few more things to protect myself from his tactics, but it’s too late and it’s not worth the damage. I only felt the need to bring it up because any content producers who are considering following in my footsteps deserve to know what they’re up against. I’m sure they’ll learn from my example and do things differently.

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