DataDownload: Remembering the Internet, an encyclopedia of online life

DataDownload: Remembering the Internet, an encyclopedia of online life A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser

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Today — remembering the internet. A Must Read from The Atlantic. YouTube creators’ changing revenue model, from Bloomberg. The frustrating battle to try and cancel a subscription. And of course the changing nature of work.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the latest Big Tech showdown with CEOs vs. Congress — it’s worth a watch for sure. And a podcast called Sporkful, because — yum.

It’s busy spring, after a year in solitary confinement — so get out, walk in the park, and still wear a mask.

Keep in touch, we’re always open to ideas and suggestions.


Steven Rosenbaum
Executive Director
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read You Probably Don’t Remember the Internet

Sometimes a web developer gets bored or sidetracked and shuts down a beloved fan site. Other times, underrated social networks are deemed unprofitable and get the axe. Or MySpace loses 50M songs as a result of a wonky server migration. The internet is ephemeral — even if something isn’t lost, it’s buried by a deluge of other memes, slideshows, and short-form videos.

But there are organizations striving to preserve the internet (and prevent “digital rot”), like Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, or hacktivists like donk_enby, who saved 56.7 terabytes of Parler’s data to hold extremists accountable. And let’s not forget The Geocities Gallery. But The Atlantic writer Kaitlyn Tiffany says that even if everything was preserved, we’d still be missing the feeling of the internet.

Instar Books has come up with an analog response: Remember the Internet, a collection of pocket-size books about historic events in internet history, from Tumblr porn to MySpace scene queens. “Each one tells the story of a hyper-specific online subculture from the point of view of a writer who was personally invested at the time.”

The Atlantic / 8 min read Read More How YouTube Channel Ryan’s World Makes Most of Its Revenue: Merchandise, Not Ads

Nine-year-old Ryan Kaji (and his family) helms a YouTube empire, with 29.1M subscribers and millions in annual ad revenue. Ryan’s World has sponsorship deals with Walmart and Target, upcoming TV shows on Nickelodeon and Amazon, and a footwear line with Skechers. In total, the Kajis licensed their characters to over 100 partners.

In 2020, the the family’s licensing business surpassed their ad revenue for the first time — a prime example of a growing merchandising boom for YouTube creators. MrBeast started a burger pop-up, video blogger Emma Chamberlain started Chamberlain Coffee, and PewDiePie has a unisex clothing brand.

Chris Williams, whose company PocketWatch Inc. handles the Kajis’ licensing business outside YouTube, says they’ve “created a whole new category. Before Ryan’s World, there was no category of global kids’ franchises around YouTube intellectual property.”

Bloomberg / 6 min read

Read more Tech+Media Most U.S. News Organizations Still Won’t Let Most Readers Cancel Their Subscriptions Online

Only about 41% of US news publishers make is simple for subscribers to cancel their subscriptions online — as anyone that has tried to end their WSJ trial on the phone painfully understands (just change your billing address to California). American Press Institute’s Jeff Sonderman and Gwen Vargo analyzed 526 news orgs and found some interesting stats:

That’s all fine… until we get to the 41% bit. “It’s probably easier to make it hard to cancel than it is to figure out why people want to cancel and what you might have to do to try to get them back. Less than a third (28%) of publishers surveyed ‘segment [their] subscribers based on their risk of cancellation.’”

Nieman Journalism Lab / 3 min read Read More Sovereign Writers and Substack There’s been some controversy brewing over Substack this week, with some comparing it to large social networks in terms of finding “ways they can convince people and publishers to make content for them without having to hire them as full-time content creators.” But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson thinks these criticisms are misguided.

Thompson argues that Substack is a tool, just as Stripe (which takes a percentage of each transaction) is a tool, just like Memberful is a tool. Writers aren’t Substack contractors — users pay writers directly via stripe. Substack Pro, which pays writers upfront, is more akin to a book advance than an unfair advantage.

“At the same time, Substack Pro isn’t like a book advance at all in a way that is much more advantageous to the writer. Book publishers own the copyright and control the royalties forever; writers in the Substack Pro program still own their customers and all of the revenue past the first year, of which they can give 10% to Substack for continued use of their tool.”

Stratechery / 15 min read Read More 10 Ways Office Work Will Never Be the Same

In 2019, it would have been hard to imagine office space being the exception rather than the norm for knowledge workers. Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University professor who studies remote work, says that the pandemic accelerated the drift towards remote work from 25 years to one. It also permanently changed a number of other facets of office work, says Vox.

People spend more time in meetings and in Slack: Time spent in meetings has more than doubled compared to early 2020, according to a new report from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, and time in Slack has gone up an hour, with an average of 110 minutes per day. This hasn’t exactly helped alleviate stress: “Microsoft’s January survey found that 54 percent feel overworked and 39 percent say they feel exhausted.”

WFH won’t be distributed evenly: Lower-paying jobs are more likely to not have the option to work from home, according to surveys from Pew Research Center. Bloom says this divide will persist post-pandemic and create a two-tiered economy.

Office space will be used differently: Ali Rayl, Slack’s VP of customer experience, says they’re “starting to think about the office as a tool in our toolkit for getting certain kinds of work done. Folks come into the office a couple of times a week, they have plans with colleagues to get together and brainstorm and plan collaboration in person.”

Vox / 21 min read

Read More What We’re Watching How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Transformed Our Lives One Year Later

“It was one year ago when the World Health Organization declared the COVID crisis a pandemic…. Amna Nawaz brings us personal recollections of how life in the U.S. was transformed and the challenges of this past year.”

PBS NewsHour (YouTube) / 7 min watch

Watch Now What We’re Listening To Podcast: The Sporkful

“We obsess about food to learn more about people. The Sporkful isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters. Hosted by Dan Pashman of Cooking Channel’s You’re Eating It Wrong and the book Eat More Better.”

Listen Now Virtual Events Free Event: Building an Advisory Board — The Startup Perspective
Date: March 29, 1PM EDT
“There has never been a better time to invest in early-stage fintech. In this series we’ll cover everything from the basics of what vehicles to consider, how and where to start, all the way to deep dives in emerging sector trends.” Register Here.

Free/Paid: Unleashing AI — Strategies for Success in Digital Transformation
Date: March 30, 1PM EDT
“Join Gregory North and Sameer Maskey in an interactive session sharing key insights on the real-life opportunities and challenges in making digital transformation happen.” Register Here. A Deeper Look Innovation Labs: Google’s Chetna Bindra Gives the Lowdown on PPIDs, FLoCs and UID

Senior AdExchanger editor Sarah Sluis asked Chetna Bindra — Google’s group product manager for user, trust, privacy and transparency — the questions about FLoCs and publisher-provided identifiers (PPIDs) that have been swirling in our heads since Chrome’s big announcement to phase out third-party cookies. Here are two highlights from the fireside chat:

Are PPIDs essentially a workaround?

Google recently announced plans to “expand the use of PPIDs, which are unique identifiers created by publishers based on a first-party cookie or login ID that can then be hashed and passed to buyers through Google Ad Manager. PPIDs aren’t new — they’ve been around since roughly 2013 — but they’re potentially newly useful as a way to make first-party cookies shareable with a demand-side platform.”

Are FLoCs a can of privacy worms?

“Big questions remain about one of the most talked about proposals under development — Federated Learning of Cohorts — and whether it’s truly a privacy safe replacement for third-party cookie-based behavioral advertising…. It’s one thing to create a FLoC of auto intenders in a certain geo, and quite another to cluster a group of people based on religion, for example, ethnicity or whether they’re suffering from depression…. According to Bindra, Chrome is very focused on making sure that individuals will not be placed into groups that are ‘deemed sensitive.’”

AdExchanger / 5 min read

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