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Tag Archive for ‘Analog Senses’

Moving On

Álvaro Serrano, writing about the recent information on Samantha Bielefeld:

Those of you who have been following the Samantha Bielefeld saga may already know that a few days ago, new information was made public that caused many people, myself included, to question our role in this whole thing.

It appears — at this point I consider it proven — that Samantha Bielefeld’s real identity is actually a man named Victor Wynn Johnson. Not only that, but this man has been accused of being a pathological liar and a conman in the past, long before Samantha ever entered the picture.

For obvious reasons, that has some very important implications.

This whole situation has been incredibly difficult to follow if you haven’t been vigilant about reading all of the various threads on Twitter throughout the past week. But Álvaro does a great job at compiling all of the relevant information and presenting it in a digestible fashion.

I could have written much more about this and I certainly have plenty of thoughts on the topic to justify doing so. But I would rather leave that to Álvaro and others. The last thing I want to do is say something that I’ll later regret and I’m afraid if I elaborate too much I’m at risk of doing so.

Regardless of what Victor has done in the past, my interactions with Samantha, the character, were always pleasant. And although I prefer to base my opinions on my own experiences, it’s clear to me that it’s time to distance myself and move on. I just hope I’m doing so in a way that is respectful to everyone who was impacted by this person’s actions.

Perhaps I was too optimistic or blinded by the encouraging words and support I received from her, I simply wish I would have known the truth sooner. I hope that my vocal support of her writing and the guest post I wrote for her site hasn’t eroded the trust I’ve built up with my readers thoughout the years I’ve publishing online. But as much as I possibly can, I will continue expressing a feeling of optimism for new writers and members to our community. It wouldn’t be fair for me to treat them differently because of this ordeal.

And if there’s one silver lining in all of this it’s that the genuine friendships I’ve built over this past several months have only grown stronger through all of it. As someone who’s lived through tragedies in the past, I can tell you that the ones who stick with you through the hard times are the ones who will remain by your side for the long haul.

As for the the writing I’ve published with references to Samantha, I will soon be editing these pieces in order to better reflect my current feelings about the situation. I haven’t dug through Initial Charge’s archives to see exactly how much editing that will entail, but I expect that I’ll simply add a link to this piece for context.

The Gamble of Ad Networks ➝

Álvaro Serrano, writing in the Afterword section of his this week’s Morning Coffee:

The reality is — and people know it — that there’s no way to build a successful ad network without incurring in some of the bad practices they were supposed to address in the first place. You can’t participate in a massive network that rotates ads across tens of different websites and still claim that those ads are somehow tailored specifically to your readers. […]

The way I see it, the burden falls squarely on publishers to defend their readers’ time and attention and protect their trust. By placing that trust in the hands of an ad network, as ethical and well-intentioned as that network may be, they were effectively taking a gamble.

This whole ad blocking conversation has reminded me of my piece on native advertising from earlier this year:

This helped me to start thinking about native advertising from a different perspective (at least when it comes to one man shops), maybe we should be questioning the morality of links to products and services that we have no control over. Maybe the best way to maintain integrity is to vet every single word and link published on our sites. If someone else makes decisions about what products and services are linked to in sponsorship spots then how can we as publishers vouch for the quality of everything we publish?

I was more talking about sponsored posts throughout the article, but it’s applicable to any other form of advertising on the web. How can publishers vouch for the quality of their website if some percentage of their page’s “content” is in the form of advertising determined by a third-party that they have almost no control over?

I think it might be time for publishers to take their ad sales and hosting in-house. It’s going to be hell trying to convince advertisers that it’s the right thing to do — deliver ads without a third-party intermediary — but in the end, I think it’s the only respectable way to earn a living through advertising on the web. Simple, non-rotating banner ads that link to a product or service without the use of JavaScript sounds like a breath of fresh air compared to the current online ad market. And there’s plenty of ways for the publisher and advertiser to track the effectiveness of the ad that doesn’t require the use of third-party services.

Three Months with Apple Watch ➝

M.G. Siegler:

I’m almost exactly three months into wearing the device. Yes, I’ve worn it every day in that span, which is clearly a good sign. I also still get asked about it on almost a daily basis — also a good sign, as people still seem to be interested in it. But I definitely wouldn’t say I love the thing. I like it, but after all this time, it’s still not vital to me day-to-day. It’s a nice-to-have.

I still want an Apple Watch. Even though, like Siegler, I don’t expect anything truly revolutionary to be created with the platform.

(Via Analog Senses.)

Flickr Reintroduces Pro Membership ➝

A membership includes improved stats, an ad-free experience, free US shipping on Flickr merchandise, and a 20% discount on Adobe Creative Cloud. Existing Flickr Pro members will be automatically upgraded to the new Pro with their existing pricing. All other members can upgrade to Pro for $5.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

I’ve always had an affinity for Flickr, but haven’t used the service in several years. Maybe this is a good time to give it another look.

(Via Analog Senses.)