Before I get into this, I have to make a couple things perfectly clear.
- I am just a user. I have no insider information on bitlanders. I've just lost enough platforms (metacafe, blogTV, JustinTV, vine, blip, atomfilms, and others), to see the writing on the walls.
- I don't think anyone should jump ship. I will ride this to the end, and I encourage everyone else to as well.
- I am not doing this to try to encourage Bitlanders to change their minds. I've done that enough already, and this is only for my readers to maybe make a "doomsday bag."
OK so what is sparking this blog? Well Bitlanders changed the rules, again, and now your blogs can only get published if they are submitted, and everyone gets 3 free blogs a year. This is in addition to only blogs counting towards base buzz, and only rated content counting towards base buzz. In the last 12 months, bitlanders has fundamentally changed the rules for how you can earn on the site, and I fear this might be the end. If bitlanders doesn't completely close up shop, then it's going to be a shell of it's former self.
Before I talk about what I fear is the downfall, gather round children, grandpa Pokematic is going to tell you some stories about the film annex days. I was told about this "content distribution platform called film annex" on swagbucks, and this was at a perfect time because I recently lost my metacafe platform. On this magical new platform, I could upload movies, write blogs, upload image galleries, write twitter like micro blogs, and get paid in bitcoins. I joined primarily because I wanted a new place to upload my videos, but then I got more subscribers in a couple months than I did in 6 years of youtube, dailymotion, and metacafe, and I started actually making some money on my content. I needed to make some content, because people were liking me. This is when I decided to make "the pokematic podcast" a thing. I always had the idea of "I ramble when I drive, I should record myself and upload them," but I never made it a thing. Then I got an internship that required me to drive 30 minutes to work every day, so I decided "time make my podcast, and upload it to this new platform." It was great; I had a steady stream of content, it was getting viewed by many people, I was gaining subscribers every day, and on top of all things I was getting paid. I could also do a psudo twitter, and people would actually read and like it. It was amazing.
There was only 1 problem, and that problem is what caused the rule change, and that problem is, spammers. These little bastards would upload blogs and videos with random text and content, and would get loads of buzz because of "buzz deals." They would also populate the comment section with "buzz and subscribe," "I subscribed, now subscribe me back," and all sorts of similar things. No one liked them. There was a period when all the real users were banning together to say "leave us vermin." This is when we had the first major change, the "submit for review." Originally, submit for review was just a way to get some extra attention. Use your earnings, buy some gems, and pay to get some extra buzz and recognition. I submitted some of my short films, and it resulted in a buzz boost and subscriber boost. "Submit your quality content, and get recognized" was the motto. I didn't submit a lot of my content because, well, I knew my podcasts and lets plays were low quality. It was just my rambling to my audio recorder, or my friends and I playing videogames, and that's not exactly "high quality." Oh well. There was also "promote" which would buy like 10,000 impressions, and when I did that I also got a boost in buzz and subscribers.
However, this didn't deter the spammers. Now instead of flooding you with "buzz me back" microblogs (now it costs 1 gem to direct mention someone that isn't subscribed to you),they just flooded your comment section with "buzz and sub me back." Mickey put out a decree that "all spam in the comments will result in a ban, no exceptions," but without a "report comment" button, that did little to deter the spammers. This is when the first rule change hit, and that was "only rated content will count towards buzz." When I found out about that, I thought "OK, I'll try submitting one of my podcasts and seeing what happens." Well...this happened.
Yeah, the content that all my fans love, I can't earn from because "it's not a video." I don't know for sure if this rule was added to "submitted videos" because of me, but it would be too coincidental if I didn't play a part in it seeing that I'm the only one I know of that podcasts on here and I drew the attention of Hillary.
(Credit: bitlanders FAQ/content/"Content Review" feature - What is it and how do I use it to increase my Buzz Score? I can't direct link because you don't allow direct link to FAQ)
So yeah, that irked me and resulted in my branching out to dailymotion, tune, and vidme for my podcasts and lets plays. I didn't abandon ship because I've been doing this for years unpaid, and people were ACTUALLY watching my stuff for once, so I'll keep uploading, just not exclusively. It did end the spammers. Now instead of getting notifications daily for "buzz and sub back," I get them maybe once a month. The problem though is that those of us who don't make "quality content" don't have a chance at earning, and gems are relatively expensive so it's a bit of a catch 22.
Oh well, when Blip decided it was only going to let high quality users things worked out so well (wait a minute...). No, back on topic. The rule change did spark a surge in high quality content. Well, content that had a lot of pictures, videos, tags, and other seemingly arbitrary factors. But then, the rules changed, again.
Yep, they did it again. Now it's only rated blogs that count towards base buzz. Having already lost my earning potential, I didn't freak out like everyone else, and offered some advice.
It would seem as if Bitlanders wants to be a blogging platform. Oh well. I said "I'll still stick with bitlanders, even if my preferred method of content production is now ignored." I don't blame them though. Text is much easier on the servers since they take up significantly less space than video and pictures.
But here it is, bitlanders is instituting "pay to play."
So here it is, only rated blogs can get buzz, and all blogs must be rated to go public. Blogs, the thing bitlanders wants and is the only thing you can earn from, now requires you to pay to do it. For some like Jeane this isn't going to be a problem, but for others this will be devastating. It's like blip and atomfilms all over again.If this isn't THE END, then it's a sign of a fundamental change in what bitlanders will be. Gone are the glorious filmannex days. Most of the OGs either jumped ship entirely or fell from grace. I like to think I kind of "stayed where I always was," but I fear we're going to lose a lot of creators to this new change. I encourage you not to leave though. You made your following on filmannex/bitlanders, and while you probably can't earn anymore, stick with it until the end.
"But Pokematic, I know my blog won't do well, how can I not waist my submission?" One word, "movie." I presume you have a way of creating and uploading video if you're writing blogs. Fire up movie maker or imovie, or record it on your tablet/cell phone, make a short video saying "read the description," and post your blog as the video description. You don't even need to have pictures or audio; it could just be "movie maker default blue and white 'read description' title." Most of you complaining are talking about "short blogs;" well, the description section of a video can be long enough for your short blogs. Want to include videos, copy the link to where you want to show them (but don't upload the video as your own, that's against the rules and just not cool). For now it's still free to upload videos, and if your fans really wanted to read your blogs, then they will read the description of your video. Heck you could even write your blog in the video. I know I saw that all the time on early youtube and early dailymotion; movie maker your text, render it as a 360i video without audio, and upload it to youtube or dailymotion. Sure, you won't earn anything from them; but were you earning anything with your blogs previously?
So if you can't earn on the site, is there any hope? Yes. There is the obvious patreon, where fans can directly tip creators, and putting out your bitcoin or paypal address. But there's other options as well. If you're a filmannex OG, you probably have a bitcoin account, and know a thing or two about earning bitcoin. Well, there are bitcoin faucets where you fill out captchas and get free fractions of bitcoins, and if you refer someone to the faucet, you get a commission. I have a faucet rotator that is a compilation of different faucets with my referral link. I recommend double bitcoins since their UI is very easy to use from both an owner and user perspective. Plus, bitcoin faucets are free to use and do pay users for using them. You get free bitcoin, and your fans get free bitcoin (just don't expect to get rich of them since these are usually "Satoshi" aka millionths of a bitcoin, but you weren't getting rich off bitlanders either).
"Now these work arounds for making content and earning on bitlanders are all well and good, but what about if bitlanders bites the big one? What if bitlanders shuts down completely and you can't post anymore?" Good question. My only advice is to find an alternate platform. I don't think there is or ever will be a platform as welcoming and versatile as bitlanders (though it does have it's shortcomings), but the best thing you as a content producer can do is find an alternative so we don't lose contact if bitlanders ends for good, or the rules get so complex that average users can't keep up. So here are a couple of alternatives I use.
- Youtube: Duh, everyone knows youtube. Easy upload, easy set-up for earning, just know that the copyright system sucks and everyone uses it. You will be a shrimp in the ocean.
- Dailymotion: It's like youtube, but smaller. I think it's like the 3rd largest user video sharing site on the net (at least top 10). Not as easy to earn, but a little more lax on copyright. Though recently I've had trouble uploading to them. I think it's just my computer though.
- Tune.pk: Pakistan's premier video hosting site. I don't get any views, but I haven't had trouble uploading or hosting my videos. There is a cap of 1500 videos uploaded per user, and a video length limit, but oh well.
- vid.me: Probably the largest up and coming video site. If you become a verified user (really easy, I just told them about my bitlanders reach), no upload length or size caps, easy sharing and privacy, a pretty robust community, just no way to earn yet.
All I have experience with is blogger. It's very easy to use. Links with your google account. Easy link your adsense account. And HTML editing. I heard wordpress is very similar, but I wouldn't know.
Pictures and Microblogs
Myspace: Yeah, believe it or not myspace still exists. I still like to use it to upload large image galleries. I think there's also a "status" option. It's pretty easy to use, and rather sexy. I guess you could also go to facebook and twitter, but I like myspace.
So there you have it. I fear the end is near, either in complete shut down, or an end to that which we know today. We will probably never have the old filmannex back, but that can't be helped. I recommend everyone back-up their content if they haven't already, and join a second platform if not already. If bitlanders kicks the bucket, then you will have a place to back-up your stuff. Alert your fans like I did as well, as all the platform links are to my pages on other sites. We probably won't go back to the way things were, so all I can say is make the most of it. Don't quit now, ride it out. You've come this far. Well this has been Pokematic, signing off, and bu-bye.