[iDC] Will you delete your Feedburner account?

Burak Arikan arikan at media.mit.edu
Sat Jun 9 21:45:22 EDT 2007

Hi Trebor,

In all these acquisitions I don't remember anyone asking their users  
if they want to delete their account. Why does Feedburner put a  
notice in their front door (sign in interface) saying that you have a  
right to opt-out, delete your data? The note clearly says this:

"If you take no action by June 15, 2007, the rights to your data will  
transfer from FeedBurner to Google."

Maybe putting this note is legally enforced to Feedburner since their  
clients are not only individuals but also companies. If this is true,  
this question pops up in my mind:

Do I have more rights if I use a social web 2.0 service as a company?


On Jun 7, 2007, at 8:22 AM, Trebor Scholz wrote:

> Thanks, Burak. Bernardo Parrella interviewed me about this sudden rush
> of acquisitions a few days ago. As his text will be in Italian, I'm
> using my response here and also add thoughts from a lecture that I
> presented in Stockholm and Hamburg last week.
> You can listen to the vodcast or see the presentation "Seven
> propositions for the future of the sociable web":
> http://www.collectivate.net/journalisms/2007/6/6/seven-propositions- 
> for-
> the-future-of-the-sociable-web.html
> GOOGLE now owns Blogger, Writely, Dodgeball, Feedburner, YouTube, and
> Picasa. EBay took over Stumbleupon and Skype. YAHOO snatched up
> Facebook, Del.icio.us, WebJay, Jumpcut, Upcoming.org, and Oddpost.
> Mr. Murdoch's NEWS CORP acquired MySpace, the video and photo-sharing
> site PhotoBucket and the media mash up site Flektor.  It goes without
> saying that they already own Fox News and Fox TV, and a few good old
> publishing houses like Harper Collins, Daily Telgraph, The Times, New
> York Daily Post, The Sun, and The Australian.
> Fox Interactive bought Photobucket, which is well-liked on MySpace.
> NewsCorp's effort is to make services on MySpace proprietary. This  
> means
> that in the future, MySpacers, will not be able to plug in third party
> services. The goal is to create, popularize, and monetize in-house
> applications and then close the door to the wealth of the sociable  
> web.
> Murdoch clearly does not get the sociable web as this direction  
> will go
> at the expense of the teens on MySpace.
> Ebay's acquisition of Stumbleupon, the web browser plug-in that allows
> its users to discover and rate web pages, is driven by a different
> impulse. Ownership of the company means access to the 2.5 million  
> strong
> community using it and will help eBay to gain more exposure for their
> web pages, which will lead to more transactions. We are oversaturated
> with information and such referral sites, peer-to-peer recommendation,
> will only become more important.
> Social software architectures (code) assert control. Code has agency,
> political implications, and it represents a worldview. Always.  
> There is
> a chance, however, for agents in "social operating systems" to perform
> this code with critical awareness. Owning an environment such as  
> MySpace
> means that you can subtly "adjust" the code in a way that draws people
> to your site and retains them there. Not offering people an easy  
> way to
> export all the content that they contributed, makes it very hard for
> them leave. Also, this centrality (i.e. 85% of all American college
> students are active on Facebook) creates a captive audience. Exiting
> such a community would isolate you from your friends and fellow
> students.
> In the fall of 2006 almost 700,000 joined a "Students Against Facebook
> News Feed" group that protested the introduction of a new feature  
> that’d
> allow parents, for example, to RSS feed the Facebook pages of their
> children. Not cool. Students threatened to delete their accounts or
> else. This Facebook mutiny shows two things. On the one hand it says:
> "Don’t mess with networked publics!!!" Students are linked up now and
> they care (seemingly more about their privacy than the war in Iraq).
> Facebook had to revoke the feature. But the other lesson is that net
> publics are captive audiences on these core sites of the sociable web
> and that the only chance that they have is to cause a ruckus as the
> exist costs would be too high.
> Google buying Feedburner, a site that allows blog owners and  
> podcasters
> to manage their RSS feeds, is also no surprise. Over 400,000
> “publishers” use Feedburner. Community is the commodity.
> What these media giants are actually buying is not service  
> environments
> but the people who are using them: it's cold cash for hot communities.
> It's not even mainly about the content.
> Walled gardens are the danger of this obvious development toward
> consolidation. The sociable web echoes capitalist society!! The wealth
> and diversity of what the corporate world calls Web 2.0, and what I  
> call
> the sociable web, is at risk!
> MySpace wants to become a proprietary platform-- just like Steve Job’s
> iPhone or Sony’s eBook reader-- and that is ultimately not even  
> good for
> business; all the quirky, small applications that are coming out each
> week are fun for people to use. Closing the door to the wealth of the
> sociable web is a poor decision.
> Burak asks if we should call it quits; good bye, Feedburner? No. How
> much of a chance is there for essentialist alternatives in a
> post-autonomy world? Today's small startup (i.e.
> http://www.feedwhip.com/) will be in the pocket of one media giant or
> the other by next month.
> We can, however, diversify the tools that we are using and build
> non-profit or hybrid alternatives.
> It is foolish to naturalize capitalism, as many do, by arguing that  
> only
> greedy big business can support large-scale social life.
> Fuhgetaboutit!!! Sure, Google’s server farms cost plenty. In spite of
> that you do not have to have a projected value/profit of $15 billion,
> like MySpace (bought for $583 million), in order to have sufficient
> incentives to create a useful context-providing platform.
> Take Craigslist. Most of you will know this network for urban
> communities. It operates in 450 cities worldwide and supports 5  
> billion
> page views per month. It is number 34 of all sites on the web in terms
> of traffic. In December 2006, Craigslist's CEO stunned Wall Street
> analysts by letting them know that
> "Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit from the website
> but instead prefers only to help users find cars, apartments, jobs and
> dates."
> Trebor
> ==
> Trebor Scholz
> Recent texts, lecture podcasts and vodcasts
> http://www.collectivate.net/journalisms/2007/5/15/roundup.html
> Blog: http://collectivate.net/journalisms/
> iDC List: http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/2007-May/thread.html
> Social bookmarks: http://del.icio.us/trebor
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