The YouTube Gazette

news, web-TV reviews, opinion and journalistically questionable content

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Louis Cole: YouTuber Who Eats Live Animals Being Taken To Court By the RSPCA

Controversial YouTuber Louis Cole is apparently being taken to court by the RSPCA; ostensibly for a video in which he eats a live goldfish (be warned, you might find it disturbing).

The 28 year old posted a letter on his facebook that he had received from the UK animal welfare charity (see the original below) stating that they “need to interview you [Cole] regarding an allegation that you may have committed a criminal offence contrary to sections 9 and 4 of the ‘Animal Welfare Act of 2006’” and that if Cole does not meet with them “I [An RSPCA Inspector] will contact the local police who will attend your address to arrest you”

The sections mentioned refer to “Unnecessary Suffering” and the “Duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare” (further information can be found here and here).

Tarantula

This isn’t the first time Louis has eaten a live animal though; he’s been doing it since he started his channel 11 months ago. He has eaten a live Crayfish, Tarantula, Lizard and Scorpion so it is kind of puzzling that -if what he is doing is illegal- the authorities are only catching up with him now.

One would also assume that he must have taken the time to check that what he was doing wasn’t actually illegal before he started doing it in front of a public audience, even if he didn’t think it was ethically wrong.

Of course it wouldn’t be the first time that someone was arrested and charged for animal abuse after putting up a recording of it.

PETA

He has attracted attention before however; in October of last year radical animal rights organisation PETA said that Cole should “be required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counselling” and went on to compare him to serial killers.

Culture

Cole believes that a lot of the revulsion others feel upon seeing his videos is based on culture rather than the actual ethics of what he does.

In a recent article by the UK newspaper “The Guardian” he said that 

"I was chatting to a girl from the Philippines, where they eat a lot of strange food, none of my films grossed her out. I’ve been to lots of developing countries: in South Africa we were in a food market in one of the townships and they were selling cooked sheep’s heads. People were cracking them open and eating the brains the way you or I would eat a kebab." 

Even YouTube doesn’t seem to be staying clear of the debate, it took down his latest video seemingly without warning and as far as this paper knows has provided no reason for doing so.

It may simply have been a mistake; they obviously didn’t have any problem with inducting him in to the much coveted Partner Program by which he earns his livelihood.

In any case all this publicity can only be good for his subscriber count and if he manages to avoid doing jail time it’ll be a win win. Even if the community ends up hating him.

Hell, it seems to work for RayWilliamJohnson.

John Mortimer.

Filed under louis cole food for louis animal rights PETA RSPCA youtube food animals goldfish scorpion crayfish tarantula animal welfare police animal welfare act news online video

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Vlogbrother John Green Questions the Role of Ad Revenue in Online Video

Vlogbrother John Green today questioned whether advertisement is the best way to fund video makers and whether it might in some situations be better to find alternative sources of revenue.

Green’s main point of concern seemed to be the choice of advertisements rather than the concept of advertising itself; citing times when viewers had been upset by advertisements that clearly went against the general view and philosophy of the Vlogbrother’s channel.

"I do not, for instance, think gold is a good investment, or that Obama is a terrible President, or that sexy geeks are just a click away. I also don’t particularly enjoy being supported by for-profit universities, oil companies, and Super PACs."

Ze Frank

The success of Ze Frank’s Kickstarter campaign (which raised nearly $147,000) raised questions as to whether this might be a viable alternative to advertising. 

Particularly because Frank commands massive respect within the online video community, is recognised as a pioneer of the format and is widely credited with the invention of the standard ‘vlogging’ style.

Kickstarter

Even if annual kickstarters or other funding drives became more common within the community it seems unlikely that they would ever really compete with advertising.

The model relies on large numbers of extremely dedicated fans and while this is a possibility for large, influential YouTubers like Frank and Green -who have their “Sports Racer” and “Nerdfighter” communities respectively- smaller and emerging YouTubers simply don’t have the people power.

Long time “Secret Sister” and YouTuber Rosianna Halse-Rojas expressed reservations about the model saying

"I think Kickstarter type things work best when they’re few and far between and also when they’re specific projects, with specific goals and video outputs etc"

There are others ways, for example John and Hank Green’s history and science based shows “CrashCourse” and “SciShow” both relied on grants from Google to secure initial funding but again this is restricted to those with a proven record in online video and inevitably relies on shows earning enough ad revenue to become self-sustaining.

Whatever happens, it seems that for the majority of YouTubers adsense will remain the only viable source of payment for the foreseeable future.

John Mortimer. 

Filed under vlogbrothers Ze Frank online video youtube nerdfighteria nerdfighters missxrojas crashcourse scishow google google adsense John Green news

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Sam Pepper YouTube Gathering: Simmering Irritation Boils Over

YouTuber and ex-big brother contestant Sam Pepper has been stirring up controversy on the ‘tubes lately.

The 23 year old -who describes himself on twitter as a “Self Acclaimed Social Network King” (it’s “proclaimed” by the way Mr. Pepper, just saying)- has attracted  criticism from within the community for the way he organized a recent London YouTube gathering.

Some who attended felt that far from encouraging creativity, collaboration and friendship between YouTubers and the people who view their content (as has arguably been the ethos since the first large YouTube gatherings in 2007) Peppers event served only to inflate the egos of larger YouTubers with more subscribers and views.

"I think the point of YouTube gatherings should be, well, you go to them and you meet people who are like-minded, nice and sweet and you go home and you talk to them on the Internet. They shouldn’t be ‘oh come to this thing, meet people with more subscribers than you and feel like a lower form of person’"

This isn’t the first gathering of it’s kind to be criticised though; YouTuber Lucy took to task footage of a February gathering (the original video can be seen here)

"The ‘famous’ youtubers literally climbed on it [a monument] and crowd surfed off into the arms of hundreds of fangirls. I just don’t know what to say about it other than it kind of upset me that this was was being advertised as a gathering"

She went on to say that these events corresponded far more to the idea of a “meet ‘n’ greet” than a traditional YouTube gathering.

Whatever they are it’s clear that the style of these events perpetuate the idea of a clear divide between content creators, content consumers and even between YouTubers themselves providing the gap in subscriber numbers is large enough.

Either you’re surfing the crowd or you’re holding the surfer up. That would seem to to stifle communication between the two almost completely and in doing so be the very antithesis of what was originally intended by the very first gatherings.

John Mortimer.

Filed under Sam Pepper Marcus Butler sampepperofficial marcusbutlertv pointlessblog Luke Cutforth lukeisnotsexy bertiebertg gatherings youtube gathering youtube online video news

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Rocketboom: A Return On The Horizon (finally)

Remember Rocketboom? me neither, the daily internet culture show has been gone for a while now. It’s been 8 months since the end of regular uploads and 6 months since the channels last video.

That last video contained a tantalising hint explaining the show’s absence and promising more to come “We are ready to go but we decided we wanted to do something more, something new. So that’s what we are going to do” as well as an unknown young woman (presumably the shows new host).

Hints

A recent tumblr post by Rocketboom’s creator Andrew Baron seems to suggest that things are finally on the move at Rocketboom HQ. 

"We’re just about two weeks out from re-releasing the show. I was hoping to have it launched already but decided to wait until we are ready instead of force the date"

Although the bird has flown on the two week deadline the fact that he was even willing to suggest a time frame means they must be very close to being ready and already have a number of episodes filmed.

This one from the official Rocketboom twitter feed might even be hinting at a definite return date.

 

While it’s protracted absence can be partially explained by the departure of host Molly Templeton -or mememolly as she’s more commonly known- for a talent development directorship at the burgeoning MyDamnChannel network; the sheer length of time the show has been away for makes it seems likely that deeper issues are at play here. 

For Starters, No-one Actually Seems To Work There Any More

 

The last two years have entertained an exodus of talent with 6/10 of the senior Rocketboom staff having left in the last two years, most moving on to pursue career advancement.

Have they been replaced and the recruitment kept quiet in lieu of a flashy announcement? or is Rocketboom running a skeleton crew with only a new presenter backed up by a camera operator and editing staff?

Whatever happens it seems likely that Rocketboom will have a tough time of it when it does come back, the internet moves fast and while it’s been away young networks (like MyDamnChannel) have been buying up real estate, google has been sponsoring experimental channels like the Vlogbrothers “Crash Course” and “Sci-Show” and Rocketboom has lost subscribers and perhaps more importantly it’s grip on the collective conciousness of the youtube watching community.

However, Baron has a wealth of experience in online video and appears willing to adapt to the challenge of YouTube in 2012. He’s even posted a response on his tumblr (here) about the economics of Rocketbooms posting frequency.

I don’t know what Andrew Baron’s been cooking up at Rocketboom HQ but I hope for his sake it’s as exciting as he says it is.

John Mortimer.

Filed under rocketboom andrew baron mememolly youtube online video news

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Hank Green Launches “Pride and Prejudice” Web Series

Having kept it firmly under his hat for more than a year Vlogbrother Hank Green revealed an ambitious web series this afternoon. 

The new show “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is a modern take on Jane Austen’s literary classic “Pride and Prejudice”. The first episode features the main character Lizzie, her friend and her sister talking directly to the camera and even acting out a skit in the style of YouTube Vloggers.

Creator and executive producer Green seems to believe that this adaptation of the vlogging style to a fictional narrative (a la Lonelygirl15 back in 2006) will make the characters and story more relatable to the general youtube viewing audience

"It didn’t escape me that the most popular web series have the characters talking to cameras. Lonely Girl, The Guild, Dr. Horrible…I think it’s partially because of what we’re used to on the internet"

It’s hard to judge how successful the project will be -especially in the now crowded YouTube market- but vlogbrothers fans and the dedicated Nerdfighter community will undoubtedly provide a boost other webseries can only dream of.

John Mortimer.

Filed under hank green vlogbrothers pride and prejudice the lizzie bennet diaries youtube web series lit news online video

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Alex Day’s Godiva Week: An Autopsy

One week ago YouTube musician Alex Day launched his new single “Lady Godiva” (a re-imagining of the Peter and Gordon single) utilising the same platform so successfully used in the promotion of his Christmas charity single “Forever Yours” which charted at #4 in the UK.

"I would be really over the moon if you could consider getting lady godiva and some of the remixes on itunes and then we can show the major labels that the world dosen’t need them any more; we are the ones in control and we can make this work."

While it didn’t reach quite the same heights as “Forever Yours” “Lady Godiva” earned a respectable #15 in the UK charts. Some however have questioned the motivations behind his release of the single and the way in which he’s promoted it.

Fellow YouTube musician and personal friend of Alex Day Tom Milsom questioned why Day felt the need to gain a chart position in the first place and pointed out that if everyone bought the original and the various remixes (a loop hole in the charts Day has exploited to boost his chart placing) fans would spend almost seven times the amount asked by large record labels.

Although Day did make it clear that he felt fans should only buy the single if they liked it, it’s clear that the motivation for its style of release was the desire to make a point to “doubters” and major record labels.

"The thing is ever since christmas all i’ve been hearing is ‘you can’t do this again, you guys [the fans] are just bored, you don’t really care, forever yours was just a one off novelty and it won’t happen again’ "

"we will show the doubters of the world [that] we are not meaningless we are brilliant"

Day is undoubtedly a pioneer among YouTube musicians in gaining chart positions as well as recognition from the press. However, it remains to be seen if his highly independent style of release will be utilised by the YouTube musician community as they gain notoriety.

John Mortimer.

Filed under alex day tom milsom godiva day lady godiva radio 1 itunes itunes charts youtube more of an evaluation really autopsy just sounds more dramatic nermie army music news

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Mike Lombardo: What’s happening?

It’s been almost two months since “The Smoking Gun” article revealed Youtube Musician Mike Lombardo’s December arrest for the alleged “possession, production and distribution of child pornography” it caused a storm online and left many fans feeling betrayed by the actions of someone they had previously looked up to.

Disillusionment

Some even expressed disillusionment with the well known youtube based community “Nerdfighteria” although it’s unclear if Lombardo ever actually included himself within it. Indeed Vlogbrother’s John and Hank Green went so far as to state that “Mike himself, on several occasions, took pains to point out that he, himself, was not a nerdfighter, for whatever that’s worth”.

Since then the Internet -and Lombardo- appears to have gone dark on the issue. Lombardo has not made any posts on his youtube, twitter, tumblr or public facebook accounts nor has he released any statement through friends.

Panera Bread

A purported sighting at a Panera Bread franchise is about all anyone outside of his immediate social circle seems to have seen of him since the news broke on February 16th.

No-one seems to know exactly what is going on with the case and charges have yet to be filed (although this can happen anything up to 175 days after arrest for a federal crime).

The evidence against him appears to be damning however, the investigation and later raid on his upstate New York home in December was begun after 19 year old Deanna Archetto informed the FBI that a 15 year old fan had arranged with Lombardo to meet for a “sex liason” on new years eve.

Archetto was herself informed by a 17 year old girl referred to in the FBI affidavit as “Victim 2” who herself engaged in “sexually explicit discussions” with Lombardo.

Nude Images

An examination of the 15 year olds phone lead to the discovery of “multiple nude images of Lombardo” and “multiple explicit text messages”.

This may only be the tip of the iceberg, after the allegations against him were made public many more unnamed alleged victims came forth detailing how they had had similar experiences with Lombardo. The processing and interviewing of these alleged victims may go some way to explaining why charges have yet to be brought.

John Mortimer.

Filed under mike lombardo milo youtube vlogging dftba records nerdfighteria vlogbrothers hank green john green news online video