Some of these human aggregators are taking the audience they've gained on the backs of other people's jokes and straight-up selling it. Jon King, who runs a plethora of "parody" Twitter accounts that in his own estimation are only about 30 percent his own work, openly admits to sharing links for money, explaining "I'm always on Twitter, it seems like; so I figured, why not try to make a little money off of it?" Oh, let's see, Jon, how about your dignity? Integrity? Your immortal soul?
Fake Social Media Follower
Clearly, the number of followers, likes, and shares your online presence garners is important to a lot more than just your self-esteem. Accounts with millions of followers can drown in sponsors and advertising revenue, which means that maximizing your interaction becomes a priority at all costs -- specifically, about ten bucks. That's how much it costs to get 1,000 robots to follow you on Twitter.
FastFollowerz, via Baracudalabs.com
And possibly in real life, after they send back Terminators to hunt people like you.
If your budget is a bit higher, some websites offer one million fake followers for only $600. You can get 1,000 Instagram followers for $12 and 1,000 SoundCloud plays for $9, creating this weird reverse "Emperor's New Clothes" situation in which everybody but your sponsors knows that you're playing to an empty arena.
And for a mere $50, you can get a six-month license for software that lets you create a practically infinite number of Twitter accounts, which you can program to tweet, retweet, and follow others just like real friends. (You cannot, sadly, make them love you.) You can then turn around and sell these fake friends to other users, creating a pyramid scheme of untold numbers of fake people interacting with other fake people in a fake environment. We did it, everyone. We built the Matrix.
Official Trailer Passer-On-er
The most tragic thing about all the rampant plagiarism is that there are totally legitimate ways to make buckets of cash on other people's work. All you have to do is limit yourself to offering a preview. Movie trailers used to be a thing you tolerated while wondering how long you should wait before digging into your popcorn. But these days, they've become events unto themselves. Just look at the one for Fifty Shades Of Grey:
The last 52,163 are us refreshing the page over and over to try to get it to 69 million for this screenshot.
If our calculations are correct, 68 million views comes to about $136,000 in revenue, possibly more. Now you know why we suddenly have teasers for the teasers (preceded by teasers for other movies' teasers). Everyone loves trailers and movie snippets, but we love them more when they're posted not by the greedy studio trying to sell you something, but by passionate fans sharing the thing they love. That's where professional "passionate fans" come in.
A YouTube channel called Movieclips -- which is devoted, surprisingly, to movie clips -- generates over 600 million views a month and over $1 million in ad revenue. For uploading parts of movies. Not only that, but they've posted so many cinematic bits over the years that they now have the ability to identify other fan-posted movie clips as soon as they're uploaded on YouTube. That scene from Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot you thought you got away with posting? They probably saw that.
But rather than getting the clips deleted, Movieclips simply helps the studio claim the revenue -- and the stats, which are almost as valuable. If clips from a movie that tanked suddenly start getting tons of views, that tells the studio that the audience is there, opening the door for sequels. That used to be measured in DVD sales, which is what allowed the Austin Powers franchise to flourish. OK, maybe that's not such a good thing.
The point is, it's an industry that thrives on sharing content created by other people, who have no problem with you sharing it. Not only do you never have to create a single thing, you never have to feel bad about it.
Um, excuse us, we need to go have a talk with HR.
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