Rumble Online Video Site Takes on YouTube. Will Fail.

Rumble online video site takes on YouTube. Goes bankrupt.

Rumble will fail. Mahhhh. I just pissed in my own pants.
Rumble will fail. Mahhhh. I just pissed in my own pants.

I just got a reporter inquiry about a website called Rumble. It was created to take on YouTube head on (see story), and I think that’s about the worst idea for an online-video site ever (at least in 2014). I’m going to come off like an angry old man in this post, so try to imagine me sitting in my boxers on a rocking chair holding a shotgun.

Rumble will either change strategy or be dead in less than 12-18 months.

Its offering to video creators is so bad I checked to see if this was an early April Fool’s joke (please note 1-26-14 update from CEO, below).

  • Rumble: Because the world needs another video-sharing site for cats.
    Rumble: Because the world needs another video-sharing site for cats.

    It requires exclusive content. That’s a really bad idea if you’re trying to compete with a market leader that doesn’t require exclusive content. I  never suggest a content creator license exclusively unless they get a guarantee that offsets what they might otherwise make elsewhere. Even new better.

  • It takes about 3-4 months before they provide analytics to creators (YouTube analytics are instant, and payment is monthly).
  • 60% of revenue (now that’s decent, but 60% of nothing is nothing).
  • No guarantee of views because there’s a limited audience using Rumble (although maybe some of its partners have an audience, and they’ll pull an intermediary approach- they claim some big partners like Yahoo!). Rumble’s CEO says they’re doing 100M streams.
  • No apparent advertisers using the site. They could theoretically solve this by letting their partners sell the inventory, but that would change CPM income … creating a Rumble advertising salesforce would take many months or years).

Rumble is founded by a bunch of folks who have been doing online video for a long time. Some at  successful companies, but some come from companies (you haven’t heard about) that got destroyed by YouTube. So will their vengeance inspire them to topple YouTube? Or is history the best predictor of success?

What they do have is a nice name. Rumble. Rrrrumble. Get ready to Rrrrumble. I was going to say they have a nice logo, but the play button is kinda owned already. Hopefully the founders, advisors and employees will adapt Rumble to find a better niche. Anything but trying to compete with a market leader without any discernable differentiation or advantage.

Mind you- this comes from somebody who makes money on YouTube, but who can’t stand monopolies. For amateurs making online video, YouTube is pretty much the only way to make money via online video. So there may eventually be an online video-sharing site that caters more to amateur creators. But I sure wouldn’t hold my breath for it, and resign not to make a dime anywhere else while they try to figure it out. As I told the reporter, I wouldn’t become a Rumble creator (under current terms) if it was founded by my mom and funded Chad Hurley.

All this said, take my advice with a grain of salt. I’ve called a lot of things accurately, but I also was rooting for and initially saw YouTube as a horrible financial investment.

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski clarifies the terms the online-video company is offering creators
Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski clarifies the terms the online-video company is offering creators

Note from Chris Pavlovski, CEO of Rumble 1-26-14

“I recently noticed your review of Rumble. I totally respect your opinion and enjoy reading various takes, although I hope we do not fail 🙂

I wanted to point out that we offer other options for video creators. The 60% profit share is definitely a difficult one for users to swallow (this is because all revenue is generated on Yahoo, MSN, and takes a long time to receive reporting, but its worth it). We also offer two other options for video creators. If the video is good, they get rewarded within 24 hours and paid within 14 days. Here are the options:

  1. up to $1000 for an exclusive video license, up front cash
  2. up to $250 for a non-exclusive video license, up front cash
  3. we do custom deals as well (for larger creators)

The profit share is the 4th option, but normally makes more than the above two if you can wait 3 months. We are currently pushing well over 100M streams per month on our partner websites, so our reach is considerable and many creators are happy with it.”


Old Spice Moms Singing is Superbowl Material

Old Spice’s 2014 Superbowl ad shows moms singing and stalking their sons

Mother’s everywhere are mourning the loss of their young boys as they become a man. And in this Old Spice “Mom Song” commercial, they’re singing as they stalking their children, clutching to their cars while riding laundry bins, and showing up in odd places like beaches and cafeteria

A superbowl commercial website is calling this ad creepy, but it’s absolutely my favorite Old Spice ad since Mustafa’s “this is what your man could smell like” viral hits of 2009 and 2010. I hope the agency (still Wieden and Kennedy) runs it on the 2014 Superbowl. There’s a also a shorter alternative with a woman popping her head from a bowling ball machine.

old spice mom song lady
The first Old Spice mom in “Mom Song” looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (remember she shouts “two weeks” as her robotic head explodes?).

My day job, when not a Viral Video Genius, is insights strategy at an advertising agency (which works in healthcare and has nothing to do with this spot). I’ve worked with P&G but not in many years.

So I like to try to imagine what “insights” drove this campaign. Here’s my guess:

  • Guys are sold on Old Spice. But moms are buying Old Spice — especially for young teens.
  • Moms see Old Spice as a brand for grownups, and they’re reluctant to let go of their boys.
  • Moms don’t want to be sold Old Spice or told they’re clingy.

So the creative challenge was likely to win over moms  by satirizing the clingy mom who won’t let their kids grow up. “You, dear shopper, do not look like Arnold in drag in Total Recall.”

Note what the spot doesn’t do: it’s not telling moms to “let go,” or “buy Old Spice to help them get the girls,” which would have the opposite of the desired effect. This just in: seems I called it right according to this AdAge piece that attributes the song to musical agency “Walker.”

What ya think? Love it like me? Freaked by it? Think it will work?

Top-10 User Testimonials for Apple’s iCloud

icloud suck ass from hell

Frustrated with Apple’s beast from hell called iCloud? You’re among friends here. Today we’re curating the most inflammatory customer statements about iCloud I could find.

You see, I just had another “Apple anxiety attack” due to iCloud. But this should be my last (I documented the December nightmare in this “iCloud sucks” post). And I was sure to tag this particular post “iCloud sucks ass from hell” in case anyone’s searching that phrase.

This morning’s irritation: my son and his friend are frantically trying to Facetime each other on their iPads, but the calls are coming to the iPhones of me and the other kid’s mom. As a result, the other mom and I are phoning each other thinking there’s some emergency. And no… the kids’ iPads are not logged into either of our iClouds, so there’s no good reason this is happening.

icloud is 1984 big brother
“Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?” says one iCloud customer.

iCloud, a web-based backup that connects Apple devices, has killed Apple for me and many others. In March I’m giving  my iPhone to one of my kids, and buying an Android. My nerdy friends rave about them. There are two reasons for my departure: a) The iPhone has not been improved consequentially in the last several years, and b) the iCloud implementation was the worst experience I’ve had with technology — and that surpasses computer viruses, crashed hard drives and being disregarded by cable and phone providers.

So I thought I’d calm myself down by assembling my favorite quotes about iCloud courtesy of this  Apple Support thread.

  1. I HATE icloud. How dare they? And market it as innocuous? The arrogance. Seriously.
  2. Apple invaded in my devices and does whatever wants – more than a VIRUS! I can’t get rid off it. .. APPLE what the **** are you doing, making your new software behavour as a parasite!
  3. Total failure, especially if you have spouse, kids, etc on the same Apple account since you keep getting each others stuff on your phone.
  4. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Apple. This Christmas my kids learned about Santa Claus by intercepting my private texts.
  5. I spend more than 5 hours on the phone with several apple support guys to get rid of those many multiple calendar entries on my iPad, but it didn’t help.
  6. My text messages are appearing on all my external devices.  I sold my iPod on ebay and the guy can read all of my messages and respond to them.
  7. A data destroying, heart burning, stomach churning and hours wasting beast called iCloud.
  8. Like an evil spawn of SkyNet and a PC Boot Sector Virus, once iCloud has grabbed your data IT becomes the master of your data.
  9. Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?
  10. I am personally Disgusted by Apple and everything to do with their products and services. Cannot wait to buy a Samsung note (source: Dudechester, iMore forum)


Bag Designer Uses Video To Teach Counterfeiters

Saddleback leather founder Dave Munson is using YouTube to teach counterfeiters how to knock off his bags. The video is instructional, persuasive,  sarcastic and funny. By showing how counterfeiters do and can save money (using lower quality leather, cheap stitching, inferior metal buckles), Saddleback manages to fortify its own high price point. The clip also communicates the company’s ethics and create a storybook villain out of faceless leather-bag counterfeiters.

saddleback youtube


Saddleback has only posted a few dozen videos to its YouTube channel in the past three years, but this “How To Knock Off a Bag” video has been traveling through social media sites (like Reddit) and will soon be its most-viewed.

The takeaway of the clip? If you’re considering making or buying a counterfeit bag, you’d better think not just about what you’ll get… but what it says about you.

My favorite quote (8 minutes in): “the hardware is where you can really make some money. What Saddleback uses is stainless steel 316. What you’re going to want to do is get some nickel plated stuff. So you can nickel plate plastic. You can nickel plate junk, pot medal. You can even nickel plate your crack pipe.”

Munson’s sometimes biting sarcasm is offset by his smile, enthusiasm for the quality of his leather, and a charming moment where he uses candy to lure kids into his plant… not for low-cost labor but for “take your children to work day.”

saddleback child labor

His advice to counterfeiters shows where they can cut corners that will make knockoffs look and feel great, even if they won’t last: “And you will end up saving more money than you will ever make with those gold fillings and jewelry that you get when you dig up those graves,” he says with a warm grin.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the company’s tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” And Dave uses more language and a non-salesy tone to build additional emotion around his craftwork — like the line “take this bag with you through life to hold all your memories.” May I add that this video has increased my longing for one of these Saddleback front pocket briefcase? It’s almost $600… so free to buy me one, mom or rich viewer.

And an added plus? In the coming months, what do you think people will find when they search counterfeit Saddleback? Maybe a video that makes them second guess their pursuit?

First Amazon Human Contact. Meet Garth.

LOTD-land-of-the-dead-25300645-500-345Amazon loves me. I’ll tell you how I know, and even show you the proof.

You see Amazon recently differentiated itself with the  Kindle “mayday” button that allows it direct contact. This is a sharp contrast from Google, where getting a human is like requesting the algorithm behind organic search rankings.

Today I had my first human contact with Amazon, which has been steadily increasing its share of my disposable income since the late 1900s. In fact it’s pretty much my default store unless I’m in a hurry or buying milk.

garth at amazonSo here’s how I met Garth (if indeed that’s his real name). On the advice of the desktop support dude at work, I decided to watch Romero’s “Land of the Dead.” Naturally it’s not available on Verizon Fios because it’s got more than 10% on Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer.” As you may not know, Verizon only offers movies on-demand that have a 10% or lower score.

Netflix also doesn’t carry “Land of the Dead” in its lavish 10-movie collection. So that left Amazon Prime. And in a first, I decided to stream right on my laptop.

Microsoft Silverlight hijacked Chrome and Safari and gave me a permission error. And I mistakenly thought there was no way to watch Amazon videos using Flash (thought maybe there was an unholy bond between Amazon and Microsoft).

So I instant messaged Amazon and found Garth. Here’s our discussion. Isn’t he cool? He even acts like a human (see red) and reminds me that Amazon loves me.

(click to see the full transcript)

Continue reading “First Amazon Human Contact. Meet Garth.”

My Appearance on Funny Stuff and Cheese

And here’s today’s episode of “Funny Stuff and Cheese,” the daily 12-12:30 talk show that’s on YouTube and one of the fastest growing iTunes talk/comedy shows.

It’s hosted by “Mompreneur” Renae Christine and Tom Cote, who hosts my favorite Instragram channel featuring Buddy his pug with stuff balanced on his head. You should follow him before you forget.

Renae runs and is the author of the highly rated “Home Business Startup Bible.” Her message to moms is simple: stop being frugal and start making some dough because stay-at-home moms are made of “awesome sauce.” Her Instagram features pictures of her wee ones and food.

Beauty and the Bald. Here’s the show. We eat “Easy Cheese” and banter.


Possessed Baby Stroller Prank: Screamingly Good Viral Marketing

Hear a baby crying in a stroller in NYC? May want to let that pass. Could be a devil baby that contorts itself and pukes. In this particular case, it may be a robot designed by the folks at Thinkmodo for another horror film promotion (remember the Carrie telekinetic prank in a NYC coffee shop?). This one is to promote “Devil’s Due,” and in about 24 hours it’s past 15 million views (1/16 update: 26 million views in 2 days). That, friends, is viral.

It’s “Devil Baby Attack” and it’s taking YouTube by storm. I’m probably most impressed by the way I learned about this. On a phone call with my mom this evening. I guess I’ll have to call her more often.

Some feedback/thoughts:

  • The prank is beautifully executed from beginning to end. We’re shocked. Then we see behind-scenes. No wasted shot.
  • Excellent job on “seeding” it. There’s no way it would have been seen this many times — so quickly — without a smart promotion of the clip itself (bloggers, journalists, etc).
  • Given the 22K comments, I’d say the majority of the views are real views. When videos are “gamed,” you see a really low number of comments. Rough math: 22K comments divided by 15 million views is .0015 percent of viewers commented. With more programatic  stuff, you see a slightly better ratio. For instance a recent RWJ video got 200K views and 1,700 comments (.0085 percent).
  • I would love to see a bit more of the off camera laughs and the team behind it — It helps when the viewer has a chance to connect more with the creators. But it’s a horror film promo so I suppose you have to keep it somewhat dark and mysterious.
  • I’m glad we’re no longer concerned about making these appear non sponsored. The video’s end reveals it’s a promo. And if you’re gonna have a logo at the end, there’s no shame in providing a link to the movie site for Devil’s Due ( This would drive traffic to the film site’s real trailers and almost invariably help convert more of these 15 million views into ticket-paying customers. Even better: give us a reason to hit the horror site. As long at the viral stunt is this good, we’ll forgive the plug at the end.

Finally, a note to Thinkmodo team: for the love of God people, I missed my invite to these productions. I’ll consult for free to see you guys pull the next one off. I’m one of YouTube’s most-viewed pranksters, an author of a book on viral video marketing, an advertising executive and a horror fan. And I can keep a secret. What else do you need? 

Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film "Devil's Due."
Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film “Devil’s Due.” Who’s missing from this shot, friends?

Tollbooth Collector from “Penny Prank” Video Dies

In 2006 I paid this tollbooth guy in pennies and posted a video that's been seen a half million times on YouTube alone. The tollbooth collector died this week.
In 2006 I paid this tollbooth guy in pennies and posted a video that’s been seen a half million times on YouTube alone. The tollbooth collector died this week.

Today I received an e-mail from a man named Rick Anthes who asked for a copy of “Penny Prank for Tollbooth Guy,” a prank video I made in 2006. Rick also wanted to let me know that the tollbooth collector in that prank video recently died of colon cancer. He sent me a link to the obituary of Brian C. Kintzel dated today (Jan. 11, 2014).

Rick said Brian liked the  video, and that he was known for the patience he displayed in it. Rick added “he was my best friend, my confessor, a confident and a mentor. The little brother I never had, the big brother I wish I had.”

Then Rick shared some backstory I hadn’t known until now…

“At the time you made this clip, Brian was a regular Toll Collector, but he had already or was about to take a test for the Bridge Commission that might get him promoted to a Toll Corporal overseeing other  collectors and assume the responsibility for the Bridge he worked on. This video was viewed by the Senior Staff of the Bridge Commission and brought before the board reviewing the candidates for the Corporal’s position. Senior Staff told the board this is the kind of individual you want representing the Bridge Commission and showed the clip. Without question, Brian was promoted. Your actions that day did what you had hoped for and quite a bit more that you may not have even considered at the time. You have to believe that we all have an influence over other people even when we don’t mean it nor when it isn’t contemplated.”

So… this is one of the nicest and most memorable e-mails about one of my videos. I’m sure Brian would have been promoted without the video, but I love that he got credit for it.

I also lost a dear friend over the holidays to colon cancer, so it also made me sad. Get your colonoscopy folks. 


How to Fix iCloud Message Problems Between iPhone, iPad and iTouch (Dec. 2013)

The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.
The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.

For the past month, adults everywhere have found their text messages going to their children’s iPads. And the kids, if they’re old enough, are sending messages to their friends, which in turn go to the parents’ iPhones. So guys like me are at the office getting bombarded with texts from kids, and our own texts aren’t going through.

These are the symptoms of Apple’s changes to iCloud synching, and I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs is turning in his grave. The tech folks at Cupertino should be glad he’s dead, but still fear his wrath in the afterlife.

Here’s how to fix your iCloud problem:

  1. This is not caused by the fact that your kids are using your or account to buy apps on their iPads. Giving them their own account for the iTunes and App stores will not solve your problem.
  2. The beginning of both the problem and solution lies in the settings > iCloud menu. Your iPad and iPod devices are probably logged on to the same iCloud account you use for your iPhone. That means all your text messages go to them. And vice versa. This is something that changed in mid November 2013.
  3. Once you’ve deleted your iCloud account from the iPod/iPad, you will need to set up another if they still plan to message other devices. This requires a credit card.
  4. Next you need to grab their iPad/iPod and go to settings > message. Turn that off iMessage off. Good, now turn it on again. And off.
  5. Theoretically you should be fine. But the bug makes iCloud link these devices even when you delete the account on them. The iPods, iPads and iPhones remember the iCloud account even after you delete them entirely… So you need to delete it. Turn it off. Turn it on.
  6. Do you see the insanity? There’s no pattern here. You just need to keep turning iCloud and iMessage off and on and eventually you will get lucky. It’s a bug. Eventually you’ll do things in the correct sequence and it will resolve.
  7. Once it seems to work, test it by sending a message from each device to a different phone. Then start shopping for a Samsung. This isn’t the beginning or end of Apple’s decline.
i hate apple
i hate apple

While you’re experiencing this, it’s best to scream like a maniac. Threaten never to buy another Apple device again. Tell your kids if they ever login to your iCloud account you’ll take away their pad. Belt out that you will not spend an entire Sunday being the damned tech support desk for the entire family. Tell your wife and kids that if they have another problem with their iPhone, iPad or iPod that they are forbidden from even TELLING you about the problem much less asking for your help.

And here’s the dirty little secret. Apple knows damned well that families share many Apple devices. And families were getting by quite fine without needing synchronized messaging between devices. Apple has allowed this bug to exist, primarily to irritate us into establishing separate iCloud accounts for each device. When we’ve set up separate accounts, we’re more likely to buy songs more than once. We’ll likely buy apps more than once. It’s a conspiracy, man. This is a deliberate attempt to squeeze out “lazy money” from loyal Apple customers, and I’m sure it’s working. This reminds me of when Apple decided to make it impossible for me to shop Audible from my phone. Really, you greedy dick?

I was on the fence about jumping to Android, and the past few weeks have knocked me right over. Apple has been “pulling a Blackberry” in the past few years — it’s been absolutely lazy about feature upgrades since iPhone 3 and 4. Siri? A fingerprint reader? Please. Meanwhile, the Samsung has overtaken iPhone in 2013… it’s awkwardly large, but that’s a sacrifice I’ll need to make.

Who’s up for an Apple exodus? Did the company ever make you feel like it gives a shit if you switch?

apple eats bloody apple