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Byte, the Second-Coming of Vine, is Now Available on iOS and Android


After first announcing that he was working on a successor to Vine tillbaka 2017, Dom Hoffman, the co-founder of the former short-form video leader, has now officially launched Byte, which is essentially the second coming of Vine, with updated features and focus.


Som förklarat av Byte:

“We’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and the community that loved them. You know the drill: Upload from your camera roll or use the byte camera to capture stuff. Stay under the time limit and get lost in the loop. Explore what’s loved by the community, handpicked by our human editors, or just served up at random. There are lots of ways to discover surprising new personalities, voices, and moments.”

Functionally, Byte is very much like Vine, which, by extension, means that it’s also similar to TikTok, though as noted by TechCrunch, Byte, at launch, lacks any of the additional remix, AR and effects tools available on the rising video app. TikTok also allows for longer uploads, which could give it an edge – although Vine’s 6-second time limit definitely worked in its favor first time around. Perhaps it’ll catch on again, and make Byte the next big hit.

But then again, the reason for Vine’s eventual demise wasn’t a lack of popularity, at least not initially. Even if Byte does catch on, the app will need to evolve from its predecessor in one key area: providing monetization opportunities for its top creators, thereby motivating them to keep posting to the app.

For all the criticism leveled at Twitter for Vine’s demise (Twitter purchased Vine in 2012, then shut it down in 2016), Vine was actually shut down due to declining usage. At peak, Vine was serving some 200 million monthly active users, but as the app continued to rise, its top creators started to question whether they should be investing time into the platform, given that they could make a lot more money for the same content elsewhere.

That lead to some of the more popular Vine stars shifting focus. King Bach and Logan Paul moved to YouTube, while others, like Amanda Cerny, started posting to Instagram, platforms that have now made each of them respectively millionaires for their efforts. 

And as the big names shifted focus, Vine view counts plummeted. Then in 2016, according to rapporterar, 20 of Vine’s top 50 creators met with the company to deliver an ultimatum of sorts.

Som rapporterats av Mic:  

“If Vine would pay all of them $1.2 million each, roll out several product changes and open up a more direct line of communication, everyone in the room would agree to produce 12 pieces of monthly original content for the app, or three vines per week.”

Vine declined, and they all adandoned it, taking their millions of followers with them to greener pastures. And that was pretty much it for the app.

Twitter repeatedly sought to mend bridges with its creative community, and offered a range of new tools in an effort to keep them around, but usage of the app continued to slide. By the time Twitter added pre-roll ads to Vines in June 2016, then extended the time limit to 140 seconds for selected creators, it was all over. Most of the app’s dev team had moved on, the major stars were making big dollars elsewhere. In the end, it made little sense for Twitter to keep supporting the app.

Twitter was then framed as the bad guy by Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov, who tweeted this shortly after Twitter announced the closure of the app.

But the fact was that Vine had been superceded, by Instagram and Snapchat in the content stakes, and by Facebook and YouTube in regards to monetization. That’s not to say that Twitter is beyond criticism for the platform’s demise, but to single out Twitter for ‘failing’ the app largely ignores the key factor – monetizing short-form video content is hard, and no platform has got it right yet.

Of course, nobody knows this better than Hoffman, who, from the get-go, has said that Byte will invest in its creators, and ensure that they get paid, even if it has to dip into its own funding to make it happen. 

That’s an admirable commitment, but it does seem like a significant risk – particularly when you also consider that TikTok, for all its hype, still hasn’t worked out how it will facilitate monetization for its top stars.

That’s the key egg they need to crack – short-form video is engaging, and has repeatedly proven popular. But long-form video enables greater revenue generation. Snapchat struggled for a long time to work out its monetization options for creators, while Instagram added IGTV as a means to potentially supplement its main feed, and compete with YouTube. But when creators get to a certain popularity level, and they look across and see others doing similar work to theirs on other platforms, for a lot more money, things get complicated real quick.

That’s one of several ongoing concerns for TikTok (which, it’s worth noting, is also experimenting with longer videos to better facilitate monetization), and until Byte’s creator compensation program is fleshed out, it’ll remain a lingering concern for that app also. 

Still, Byte looks engaging, and seems set to get at least some early hype. Whether that will be enough to drag users away from TikTok, it’s its first big challenge to overcome, then we’ll see how the next phase pans out.  

You can download Byte now on both iOS och Android.



Elon Musk beskriver nya bockmarkeringar i alternativa färger för att förtydliga verifieringen


Elon Musk Outlines New, Alternate Color Checkmarks to Clarify Verification

Elon Musk has revealed more details of the coming revamp of Twitter’s $8 verification program, which was initially launched three weeks back, but then pulled from live production due to a raft of impersonations which caused significant confusion in the app.

Those impersonations also led to stock price dips, corporate apologies, misreporting – the $8 verification plan, while only available to some users, for a short amount of time, immediately caused significant issues for Twitter and it’s as partners.

So Elon and Co. took it back, in order to revise and re-shape the program in a more brand-safe, user-friendly way.

And now, Musk has revealed more details as to exactly how the updated $8 verification plan will work.

First, to limit the potential of misrepresentation of corporate and government accounts, Musk says that those profiles will now get a different colored checkmark, which will ensure that people can’t just buy a blue tick and then pretend to be Coca-Cola for example.

Enligt Mysk:

“Gold check for companies, gray check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not)”

App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi Postad dessa exempel of how these new ticks might look in the app.

It’s a sensible move, which will avoid similar incidents like this tweet from an $8 verified account, which tanked Eli Lilly’s stock price.

Eli Lilly tweet

The updated gold checkmark will ideally limit the potential for future users to do the same, because they won’t be able to buy the official gold tick – though there will be a period of adjustment and education on such for users.

The alternate checkmarks will also likely kill off Twitter’s new gray ‘Official’ tick, which looks pretty ridiculous.

Twitter Official checkmark

Of course, the new variations of checkmarks do also add the potential problem of another elusive marker that people will be trying to get. But we’ll cross that extra complication when we come to it.

Another concern with this approach is that it’ll require manual checking, as Twitter can’t know for sure that it’s a brand or government account without some kind of confirmation.
Initially, Twitter has thus far opted to avoid any kind of manual confirmation in this new process, due to the additional labor requirement, but now, Musk says that this will be integrated into the updated process:

“All verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates. Painful, but necessary.”

How Musk and Co. do that with any level of efficiency, with 65% less staff, I don’t know, but it seems like they’re going to at least try to find a way to check each $8 subscriber before approving their blue tick.

Musk also noted last week that any change in user name will result in a blue tick being deactivated till Twitter approves the new name.

So, like, a lot of manual monitoring, with a lot less staff.

Also, for the traditional blue checkmarks, there’ll be no differentiation between those who’ve been given the marker, and those who’ve paid for it:

“All verified individual humans will have same blue check, as boundary of what constitutes ‘notable’ is otherwise too subjective.”

Which is true – there are a lot of blue checkmarks on random accounts, and it has been a confused system. But at the same time, there are also a lot of high-profile individuals who could be at risk of impersonation under this system – which, incidentally, is why the blue ticks were introduced in the first place (in 2009, an MLB star sued Twitter for allowing a scammer to use his likeness to dupe people in the app).

Det finns också detta:

“Individuals can have secondary tiny logo showing they belong to an org if verified as such by that org.”

So an additional qualifier for spokespeople, CEOs and journalists, as another measure to avoid impersonation.

The updated elements will certainly lessen the scope for scam activity, but still, they do also introduce a level of risk, and at the same time, the scheme itself is unlikely to work out as Musk hopes.

The revamp of Twitter’s verification program is Elon’s first grand plan to save the app (aside from cutting costs), by giving users access to one of the most in-demand in-app features – the elusive blue checkmark.

Charging for verification could theoretically kill two birds with one stone, in verifying real humans (while making it cost-prohibitive to crate bot accounts) while also providing a direct revenue stream, thereby reducing the company’s reliance in ads. People want the blue tick, now they can get it, while Musk has also sought to amplify the cultural divide element, by presenting this as a way to even the field, and enable all users to get what only celebrities have thus far been able to access.

Initially, Musk was set to charge $20 per month for this service, but after an argument with the author of ‘Misery’, he reduced this to $8 per month.

In Musk’s view, this is a good deal, because who doesn’t have an extra $8 to spend?

He’s since sought to establish this as the norm, repeatedly telling his critics to ‘now pay $8’, as if it’s a forgone conclusion that people will indeed pay.

But they won’t, and history shows that there’s almost no chance that Musk’s paid verification scheme will actually work as intended.

Take, for example, Twitter blå, which provides Twitter users with a raft of additional features, which was initially available for $3 per month.

Twitter Blue never saw much take-up, peaking at 100k subscribers, with even the addition of tweet editing, the most requested feature in social media history, failing to shift the needle in any significant way.

Given this, it’s difficult to see Musk’s new, $8 verification getting the number of sign ups he’d need to achieve his aims for the option.

For context:

  • Om Elon vill få prenumerationer för att bidra med 50% av Twitters intäkter, som han tidigare sagt, behöver han 24,6 miljoner användare att logga in för att betala $8 per månad för en blå bock
  • Om han vill använda detta som ett sätt att verifiera alla människor, så att endast botkonton är de som inte har en blå bock, skulle du tro att han skulle titta på uppemot 75% av Twitters användarbas, eller cirka 178 miljoner användare som betalar varje månad
  • Twitter kommer sannolikt faktiskt att förlora omkring $6 per amerikansk användare, per månad, för varje person som registrerar sig för det nya $8 Twitter Blue-schemat, på grund av Musks plan att visa Blue-prenumeranter "halva annonserna". Om man tar hänsyn till App Store-avgifterna från den månatliga $8-betalningen, kan det faktiskt vara en svår balans ur intäktssynpunkt, med Twitter potentiellt till och med förlora pengar på affären, om det slutar med att annonsexponeringen minskar.
  • Majoriteten av Twitter-användare är utanför USA, där $8 per månad kan vara mycket mer kostnadsöverkomligt. Detta gäller särskilt i Indien, där det mesta av Twitters tillväxt har kommit från de senaste tre åren. Indien har nu 18,8 miljoner användare vilket gör det till Twitters tredje största publikmarknad, och även om Musk också har flaggat för varierande prissättning per region, kan till och med $1 per månad vara för högt för utvecklingsmarknader

I huvudsak finns det inget prejudikat som tyder på att tillräckligt många användare kommer att registrera sig för Elons $8 per månad bockplan för att göra det värt besväret för företaget att köra, antingen som en intäkts- eller verifieringsväg. Bara 0,41% av Snapchat-användare betalar för Snapchat+, en bråkdel av LinkedIn-användare ponny upp för Premium, medan Meta drog slutsatsen för länge sedan att debitera användare var inte i närheten så lukrativt som att visa fler annonser till en större publik.

Dessa nya åtgärder motverkar vissa av de problem som den första versionen av Musks $8-verifieringsprogram introducerade, men återigen kunde de också undvika dem helt genom att revidera det nuvarande blåchecksystemet, i motsats till att helt enkelt låta folk betala för markören.

Men oavsett är Musk fast besluten att gå vidare och ta reda på det själv på båda håll

Musk säger att den uppdaterade $8-verifieringsplanen kommer att lanseras på fredag nästa vecka (12/2).


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