The sale of CollegeHumor. A lesson we must learn

The sale of CollegeHumor

The sale of CollegeHumor, or to be more specific, the reasons that led to that sale It is a subject that should draw the attention of all of us who love technology.
While within the world of free software, many continue to encourage an anachronistic mistrust against Microsoft, they put aside the great threat that they make up Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

The sale of CollegeHumor. Why should we care?

Collegehumor is a traditional brand of comedy content that is distributed by digital platforms. Founded in 1999, it is aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 49 and grew to 15 million unique monthly visitors, on their website.

Along with other brands, it is owned by CH Media, until yesterday in the hands of IA / Interactive Corp. However, this company decided to sell most of its stake to the creative director of CH.

Sale includes the dismissal of most of the employees.

An unidentified spokesperson commented that as part of the agreement, the unit will restructure and will lay off 100 employees in New York and Los Angeles, leaving the business with about five to ten people.
The new owner stated:

"While we were on our way to being profitable, we were nevertheless losing money, and I myself have no money to lose."

Very interesting, Diego. But what does it have to do with us?

Give me a little patience. Let's read the official explanation first for later, when we get to the alternative explanation, you will understand what I'm aiming for.

According to the economic news site Bloomberg, the reason for the sale is that IAC is changing its portfolio to focus on growth areas. This includes the subdivision of the unit that runs the dating site Tinder, and the acquisition of the healthcare services portal Care.com. It appears that it will continue to maintain the Vimeo video sharing platform and the Daily Beast news website.

Agree with this, the sale seems to make senseor. Sites like CollegeHumor are unable to compete with streaming services like Netflix or Amazon that have increased the number of comedy titles in their catalogs.

But, as I have been promising you, there's something below the surface.

According to former employees of the company, CH fell into the same trap as his colleague Funny or Die, Facebook misled them with visit statistics making them believe they were older. Both hired staff to meet a demand that was not true.

One of them, comedian Adam Conover, recounts:

This happened to my old CollegeHumor employer. In order to beat YouTube, Facebook faked incredible viewer numbers, so CH turned to FB. So did Funny or Die, among many others. The result: A once thriving online comedy industry was decimated.

Conover tells how they went from having videos on their site to posting them on Facebook:

We posted links on FB, of course, but the links led to our site! I specifically remember the fateful day someone said "You have to see the numbers that uploaded videos get on Facebook." IT'S CRAZY! Too good to pass up! " So we started posting videos natively on Facebook.

And the inevitable result;

The problem: there is no way to monetize. In fact, instead of viewers coming to OUR site and seeing the ads, Facebook's model is to charge you for access to your followers. Site traffic plummeted. So did the revenue from the ads and therefore the budgets for the videos. Our visits to FB were amazing! But now we know they were a lie.

Digital Marketing Specialist Scott Galloway put the question in numbers:

Audience metrics were inflated by 150-900%. Entire companies switched their strategy to video. Bankrupt companies, people losing jobs, FB escapes with 0.18% of annual revenue ($ 40M / $ 22B), slap on the wrist.

And this is where I wanted to go. exist numerous options to create our own alternatives to proprietary and quasi-monopoly services from Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. The cost of web hosting has dropped dramatically and open source tools are very easy to implement. Sites like Youtube or Facebook should only be used to attract customers to our own sites managed with free tools.


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  1.   leonardo ramirez said

    Hello. Could you tell us some free platforms and tools? Hopefully one day you will make an article on how to assemble one with free tools.

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Yes, of course. In the meantime take a look at this
      https://mediagoblin.org/

  2.   Punk said

    Another Facebook joke ...

  3.   Danny said

    yet another of the "good" and "innocent" of Mark Zuckerberg.