A Year of Independence

Building a platform is difficult. It takes time, dedication, learning new skill-sets and a lot of sacrifice. To pay this price, and be successful, and then have some corporate goons shut you down, is a serious hazard in this strange new world we live in.

The Axis of Evil

Individual freedom has a new enemy, and it isn’t the government. This time it’s AFTGA [Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google & Amazon.] Doesn’t matter what the political persuasion, if you can’t recognise how evil these mega-corporations have become, then something could be wrong with your brain. It might be the future, where corporations replace sovereign governments, but any artist or entrepreneur wanting to build a platform today would have to be crazy to use the legacy platforms if they don’t want to fall prey to these hyper-radicalised corporations.

Amazon and Facebook Are the Most 'Evil' Tech Companies, According ...

The Alternative Challenge

The route to avoid this is harder than than using the mainstream internet, but in the end, if you seek to have your platform resistant to corporate thuggery, then try building it from scratch. Decentralisation is key, and the internet being the internet, provides ample alternative building blocks. It comes down to habits, so the best way to approach this is to try to change your normal routine with how you interact with the world wide web, by using alternatives for at least a year.

OS v OS

The first fence to jump would be the OS barrier. Using the Windows platform by Microsoft seems safe at the moment. Even though they push through updates that fuck up your user experience, they’ve never to my knowledge targeted users and tried to shut them down. Sure they steal your behavioural data, and pump out propaganda via their MSNBC outlet, but the risk of them stifling your platform is low. That’s why I haven’t included them as part of the Axis of Evil [yet]. No one really uses Edge browser. They can’t Skype you out of existence. But Bezos, Dorsey, Pichai and Cook can obliterate you out of existence if they target you. Zuckerberg seems to understand the potential for evil they are messing with, but the others don’t appear to give a fuck about the individual human being, they believe they are the sole moral authority. For any platform builder, even casual internet users for that matter, this is a bad thing.

Udemy Class Review: Ubuntu for Beginners - ExtremeTech

If you really want to start from scratch, Linux-based operating systems are available that are now just as good as Win and iOS. There are heaps of Linux-based offerings, but Ubuntu is the way to go, but not absolute.

Browser War 2

The First Browser War was long and fought by various belligerents. Netscape, Explorer and then Google entered the battle. MS leveraged the dominance they had with their OS platform to become number one, but in the end Google’s Chrome eventually won, leveraging their success in the Search Algorithm Battle.

The Second Browser War has already began. Its now all about decentralisation and personal data. Google refuses to let go of their golden goose, so they won’t pay you for the data they skin off you. The alternative I find most likely to service every day browsing, just as a way to differentiate from your mainstream operations, is the Brave Browser.

Pin by dipa barua on Stuff to Buy | Brave browser, Clear browsing ...

With Brave, you can separate the old way of interacting with the internet (Chrome, Twitter, Facebook) and the new way, using only the alternative bookmarks with the Brave Browser.

Brave also monetises your data, giving you the choice to get paid for the data they (Brave) collect. Also a great introduction to cryptocurrency and the applied power of blockchain technology.

The Search Migration

When attempting research, the best way to ween yourself off Google Search, especially since they curate what information the algorithm delivers to you (i.e. blatant censorship) is using alternatives.

Presearch is a decentralized search engine, powered by the community. | Social sites, Health ...
How to Get Traffic From Alternative Search Engines (Other ...

DuckDuckGo at least promises to protect your privacy; uses the Yahoo algorithm, and attempts to give you the best result, as opposed to what Google wants you to discover.

Presearch is blockchain-based, therefore it pays you directly for the information it gets from you and offers multiple and custom search options.

privacy@email.com

There was a time in the late 90’s- early 2000’s when I was able to register over seventy free email accounts. kandiliotis@yawmail.com kandiliotis@start.com kandiliotis@mbox.com. There existed heaps of these. Now they’ve all vanished, only hotmail.com and gmail.com have remained the dominant providers of free service. They provide it free because they snoop through your private content and throw adverts at you.

Having road-tested heaps I’ve settled on Protonmail. It has a decent free plan, it’s encrypted by default, has solid free features, and is based in Switzerland. Oh, plus they don’t snoop on you.

It’s in the Cloud.

Cloud storage is handy, holy shit, it’s more than just handy. Having access to your data anytime and anywhere is the best, it’s revolutionary. But just like email, Google and Microsoft just love snooping around your stuff, and if they don’t like you, they can cut you off from your data and will. Dropbox and Box.com are also big-tech cronies who would do same if they all decide to come for you.

When Megaupload was shut down, like all disruptive technology, Kim Dotcom simply establish an another file sharing service, Mega.nz. Granted, it can be taken down, but only a government level attack could do it. As long as no laws are broken, I don’t see this happening. It’s encrypted, has neat features, and robust.

If you want more control; set up your own file server. Nextcloud and Owncloud are available, and with a bit of research and knowhow, are easy to install.

If you’re savvy enough, you can run these from home, but if you use a hosting service, make sure the servers are NOT reliant on Amazon’s AWS, otherwise they can and will shut you down.

Microblog: The News Revolution

Twitter is garbage. If you’re looking to have a meaningful conversation on a platform limited to 280 characters then give up. Its not going to happen. The only usefulness a micro-blogging site has is access to news. It bypasses legacy media choke-holds and gives you direct news, real-time, from the source.

Unfortunately, Jack Dorsey’s crew think its okay to appoint themselves as the morality police by curating what is and what is not news, or what is ethical and what is not. Or who is a good person and who is bad.

Fortunately, the market counterbalances this with competition.

And Freedom of Speech is the main marketing strategy, with both Parler and Gab dedicated to respecting the right for an individual to express themselves freely. As an artist or any platform builder, this is an important aspect. Getting your news out to the world should not be based around the morality and ethics of some Silicon Valley goon, but base around your own principles.

Social Freedom, or Death

Interacting with your fans or customers is a fundamental aspect to any platform. Whether the interactions are positive or negative, that is your business.

Minds Launches Virtual Currency-Powered Social Networking ...

Minds and Hive are both blockchain-base solutions to social media censorship. They are user controlled with strong established communities, and they offer payment systems for content.

Blockchain Killed the Video Star.

Stay bland, avoid using an ever-increasing list of banned words, submit to an ever-subverted political correctness, and you will do fine on YouTube. The monetisation program they provide is easy bait, but you become enslaved to their ever-shifting values.

Blockchain offers solutions to grow your platform. It may be slow and meagre but crypto-currencies aren’t going to go away. They are maturing fast and will eventually dominated the Internet’s economy.

Dr. Bill.TV is Now on BitChute! - Dr. Bill.TV | The ...LBRY in 100 Seconds - YouTube

Bitchute and LBRY are the main contenders. Decentralised, they provide a safer base of operations. Build an audience free of corporate interference.

Dtube gets an honourable mention because of… blockchain.

Patreonisation

When Patreon decided to de-platform customers, SubscribeStar said thank you very much. Russian-owned, there’s little chance they’ll bend to American corporate wokeness because, a] they actually want to make money, b] Russia is protected by nuclear weapons.

SubscribeStar

Locals is another subscription\social media platform that’s worth checking out.

Also, consider getting up to speed with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, because legacy banks and Paypal have no qualms destroying you and your enterprise.

Beyond Distribution

AFTGA, especially Amazon, have a stranglehold on publishing whether it be books, music or movies. They can crush you on a whim. Paypal, who own eBay, Gumtree and other ecommerce big tech firms have proven they will shut you down if they don’t like you so, don’t rely on them. Alternative distribution outlets are hard to come by, but they do exist., for example; OpenBazaar.

Decentralisation is key. If you’re producing content, blockchain and torrent technologies have the ability to sucker punch these corporate leviathans, but that is a quest for another future post.

The Future Self Publisher

https://steemit.com/publishing/@kandiliotis/the-future-self-publisher

At the moment, Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) dominates the eBook publishing landscape like a tyrannical despot. They control over 70% of the eBook market, and punish you (via KDP Select) if you list your book on some other platform. They charge a premium for you to market and advertise on their platform – a spend of $100 will barely get you one sale, and if you get a sale, they’ll pay you a fraction of that sale depending on how many pages are read.¬†

That’s it for authors. If you’re not on Amazon, you’re wasting your time.

A few years ago, hope of a better system appeared in the form of blockchain technology. As Bitcoin made inroads into commerce a few avenues appeared for authors. Most were buy and sell services offering sales for products in exchange for Bitcoins. Looking back at all my accounts most are now all extinct, Bitbooks.cc being the most notable one. (I received a small tip from there once, that’s now worth $50) But nothing since has been developed that could be useful for authors.

Until now.

This ICO revolution powered by Etherium has for the first time since the Amazon Revolution in the 90’s offered writers and reader a possible new paradigm for not only books, but for music and films as well. Decentralisation is key. Screw the middle man. Self publishing is about bypassing the traditional publishers and connecting with reader directly. Yet Amazon is the behemoth Third Party Entity on the web that no author, established or not, can circumvent. 

Decentralisation = Hope.

I won’t go into the technical details of how Ethereum and contracts work, I’m still learning the process, but I will list a few application that I’ve come across that seem promising if they actually deliver on what they say they can.

Authorship

First up, Authorship. This ICO is (at time of writing) currently offered. Based on the Ethereum platform 

“Authorship is one such decentralized platform that aims to redefine the world of books by connecting authors, translators, publishers and readers on a single platform.”

They will be issuing tokens described as …

 Authorship Token. The ATS, an ERC-20 token based on the Ethereum technology, is a unit of exchange on a new Blockchain based book publishing system. Authors, publishers and translators are rewarded with ATS tokens in exchange to book sales, while readers are able to spend ATS tokens in order to purchase books. 

The flow chart is a little complex, but from what I understand it still involves traditional publishing platforms. Without some kind of application or prototype to use it’s hard to tell how useful or effective this could be.

Publica

Next up is Publica, it’s ICO is in a month or so. They are a little clearer on what kind of model they want to establish and their flow chart is a tiny bit less converluted. 

Publica describes itself as..

a platform for authors, readers, books of all kinds and the people who make them. And for smart contracts to carry all kinds of transactions and exchanges for the publishing economy.

As for token Publica will be using their own cryptocurrency.

 Publica-the-country has no national debt. It exports more products and services than it imports. It doesn't print new money. In an economist's terms, its money supply is fixed and therefore stable for the long run. Within its borders, Publica's internal money is a token called PBL.

Others.

Again, without a working model it’s difficult to tell how this will work.

There’s Po.et.  – a shared, universal ledger designed to track ownership and attribution for the world's digital creative assets. 

 They have a testnet online so I’ve been playing around with it. Still no way of telling how this can be useful.

One app that has caught my eye is Musicoin. Even though a music portal, this model and format if used for an ebook, is potentially an author’s dream distribution network. What Musicoin lacks, however, is the ability for promotion. If they can introduce a way to allow an artist to offer incentives for consumers to sample their work, this kind of business model could take off, astronomically.

For established authors, an ebook model similar to Musicoin could free them from third parties altogether. For new authors, a decentralised/crypto portal where writers can promote themselves by offering incentives for readers to sample their work, who can use the tokens to then go and buy full works, this could be the catalyst that ends Amazon’s reign of terror. 

In the 1990’s freeware had revolutionised marketing for software creators, and free betas are used today to test and market games and so on. As a writer, something like a eBook version of Musicoin, that allows for incentives for sampling content, can be a game changer, far greater than the Print on Demand concept from over a decade ago.

If there are new decentralised publishing models out there, I would be certainly interested in road testing them.