Category Archives: Internet

All For Nothing?

I’ve just been informed about a new site called It is a Russian site (link for English in the upper left corner) that offers digital music at a steal. What’s a steal, you ask? Well, iTunes charges $.99/song, and charges $.79/song + $10/month. So how does 1-2 cents/MB sound? Yes, they charge by bandwidth, and their Online Encoding (OE) system allows you to choose the format and bitrate. Of course, higher bitrate = more data = more money. Some songs cost $.02/MB, so for a high quality, long song, you maybe pay a quarter, but on average it’s a nickel. And some albums are even free.

You’re thinking, “This can’t be legal! It’s too good to be true!” Well, guess what, buster? I think you’re right. Well, it’s definitely true, but I am highly skeptical that this is a legitmate service. They claim they’re legitmate in Russia, which is very possibly true, but they also warn you that it might not be legal in your country. Since they don’t have time to check everyone’s laws, you’re on your own.

One of their payment plans seems particularly suspect. If there’s a CD they don’t have, but you do, you can rip it and upload it for twice their standard bandwidth costs. Something about that just shouts “accomplice”.

Most of the internet lore on them is testimonials, and I haven’t seen any stories of people getting burned. A few believe it’s run by hackers, and even though that claim is largely unsubstantiated, you’re probably best off using PayPal to avoid giving away your credit card number.

I’m curious as to how the RIAA will strike at this. Even if it’s illegal, they’re only finding/sueing those who share music for free. Can they subpoena Visa or PayPal? Get Russian authorities to hand over AllOfMP3’s records? Hard to say. Well, hard for me, at least. Every other review of this site is absolutely sure this is legal, no doubt in their minds, and this includes Tech TV. Granted, it has been around since 2001. Maybe they’re right.

Disclaimer: I have not used this service.

Monetizing the Blogosphere

Jason Calacanis and Brian Alvey from Weblogs, Inc. hosted a panel about how to make money blogging. Someone took the trouble to type up a transcript, and if you have any interest in blogging or journalism – especially as a career – you’ll find it a very interesting read. Calacanis, who did most of the talking, sounds a bit like Quentin Tarantino. If you keep that in mind, you’ll find the transcript even more amusing.

An important point: Calacanis estimates that a good-to-great blog requires 5-25 posts a day, taking 4-8 hours. Not trivial. It also targets one subject and/or has a significant following, so for the time being (and the foreseeable future) won’t allow me to quit my day job.

Web resources from the discussion:

bOINGbOING – former cyberpunk magazine turned kick ass weblog
engadget – a gadget weblog under the Weblogs, Inc. umbrella
the social software weblog – another Weblogs, Inc. site
gawker – a weblog that?s famous for some reason (one of those NYC invented celebrity things?)
Feed Burner – a site for managing/manipulating RSS feeds. I seem to recall a negative connotation to it, like it can be unethically used to publish someone’s content without giving them proper credit.


Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, gave a speech about his site and why he thinks it works as a virtual community. I have very little experience with his site, which he describes as a collection of classified ads, but forums have allowed an interesting community to form around them. Since the ads are organized by city, the site has become a user supported collection of city guides.

I found his talk personal, humorous, and engaging. You can access his Powerpoint slides here. Craig’s an affable fellow who’s dedicated to his work, and as of late, various social/political causes.

SXSW Overview

I returned Wednesday from South by Southwest (SXSW), where I had access to the Film and Interactive tracks. In short, it was really cool, and I?d recommend it strongly to any member of the Crack Team. There was far too much to do, and I ended up missing all parties, the trade show, and the web awards. However, I did attend some very thought provoking panels and saw a few films. So, ok, that doesn?t sound as cool, but as an info junkie and armchair philosopher/sociologist/film critic, I had my priorities in order. And just doing that felt like a marathon.

As I have time, I?ll post about various panels attended, films viewed, and observations gleaned while at the conference.