D.K. Foreman – Personal Blog

Archive for December, 2012

A Fallen Empire: YouTube cancels billions of video views after finding they had been ‘faked’

by on Dec.28, 2012, under Uncategorized

*Major record labels stripped of more than two billion video views
*Biggest hit taken by Universal, which alone lost more than one billion
*’This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy,’ says YouTube

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2254181/YouTube-wipes-billions-video-views-finding-faked-music-industry.html#ixzz2GNvNKnhU
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The world’s biggest recording companies have been stripped of two billion YouTube hits after the website cracked down on alleged ‘fake viewers’.

Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in the video site’s biggest ever crackdown on artificially inflated figures.

Sony was second hardest hit, with the label behind such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850million views in a single day.

The dramatic cuts came as YouTube conducted a crackdown on fake views, but music industry sources have blamed it on housekeeping related to the migration of their videos across different channels.

The unprecedented move left Universal with just five videos on the site – none of which were music – and Sony with just three.

(Rihanna: Her record label, Universal Music, was the biggest loser from a YouTube video view crackdown)

‘This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy,’ YouTube announced.

It marks a huge commercial blow to all the artists involved as YouTube is now the web’s most important outlet for music videos

Over four billion hours of video are watched by over 800million unique visitors to the site each month.

The dramatic falls, highlighted by figures compiled byYouTube statistics analysts at SocialBlade, came after YouTube conducted an audit of its viewing figures aimed at combating ‘black hat’ view count-building techniques.

That is the term used when hackers artificially build up the numbers of views or likes on a YouTube video – enabling them to make clips appear far more popular than they really are and increase their exposure on the site.

The number of views attracted on YouTube are these days regarded as an unofficial worldwide popular music chart, so once it became clear that hits had been inflated, fingers immediately pointed at the record industry.

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YouTube viewer figures are doubly valuable to channel owners since it is also the primary way in which the site works out how to share its advertising revenue with partners.

The Daily Dot reported how many of the channels affected – which also include ones belonging to Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Beyonce, among others – had also had many videos deleted.

Universal, which previously had dozens of clips on its YouTube channel, has had its offering slashed to just five – none of which are music videos or last more than about a minute and a half.

Sony’s page was also left practically bare following the cull, with just three videos left.

Among the channels affected was that of British X Factor success story Leona Lewis. The official YouTube channel of the protégé of music industry svengali Simon Cowell, lost nearly 24million page views as a result of the crackdown.

The mass takedowns came the same day that hundreds of the site’s users flooded forums to complain they had suffered a series of video deletions for violations of YouTube’s terms of service.

Many speculated they fallen victim to a technical error, but YouTube replied to confirm that the users had been sanctioned for violating TOS item 4, Section H, which bans artificially inflating view counts.

According to the Daily Dot, the apparent crackdown last week was widely discussed on the Black Hat World forum, where visitors exchange advice on unethical search engine optimisation tactics.

In one thread on the forum, where YouTube included a link to the site’s policy on ‘viewcount gaming, the first post spoke of a ‘friend’ who ‘sells likes’ who had been told by four different customers that their videos were deleted due to violations of YouTube’s terms of service.

Record labels have blamed the cuts in their viewing figures on a change in the way that YouTube has changed its view count. Billboard reported how the Google-owned company recently decided to remove view counts for so-called ‘dead videos’, which were no longer live on the channel.

A senior label executive told the music industry trade magazine that since thousands of videos had in fact been migrated to Vevo, the views those clips accrued during their time on their dedicated label channels were taken away in YouTube’s ‘clean up’.

Universal acknowledged its drop in views, but told the Daily Dot its channel had been mostly dormant since it shifted its focus to Vevo, which it founded in 2009 together with Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media Company, and E1 Entertainment.

Google declined to comment when contacted by MailOnline.

Commenters on the Sony YouTube channel gloated over the major record labels’ apparent comeuppance.

User Lattentreffer posted on SonymusicSME: ‘Pretty much f*** you, sonymusic…. Hahahaha.

‘You got the axe on your black hat viewcount manipulating….!’

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Satan’s Altar Call: ‘666 Park Avenue’ Cancelled on ABC

by on Dec.21, 2012, under Uncategorized

By Tim Kenneally
TheWrap

“666 Park Avenue” is now an abandoned property.

The drama, which starred Terry O’ Quinn and Vanessa Williams, has been pulled from its Sundays at 10 p.m. timeslot, ABC said Friday. In November, the network said it would not order any further episodes.

The network’s comedies “Happy Endings” and “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” will air in the place of “666 Park Avenue” on Jan. 6. Other reports say those two shows will continue for three more Sundays, but ABC has not responded to TheWrap’s calls for clarification.

(Vanessa Williams Stars in the short lived show 666 Park Avenue)

The remaining four episodes of the freshman supernatural drama will air over the summer, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

The new drama “Red Widow” will assume the Sundays at 10 p.m. timeslot beginning March 3.

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Satan’s Altar Call: Global doomsday hot spots draw believers, revelers

by on Dec.20, 2012, under Uncategorized

By VANESSA GERA
Associated Press

Though the Mayans never really predicted that the world would end on Friday, some New Agers are convinced that humanity’s demise is indeed imminent. Or at least that it’s a good excuse for a party.

Believers are being drawn to spots where they think their chances of survival will be better, and accompanying them are the curious, the party-lovers and people wanting to make some money.

Here are some of the world’s key doomsday destinations and other places marked by fear and fascination.

MEXICO

About 1,000 self-described shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis are gathering in a convention center in the city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula about an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, convinced that it was a good start to the coming “New Era” supposed to begin around 5:00 a.m. local time Friday. These are not people who believe the world will end on Friday: the summit is scheduled to run through Dec. 23. Instead, participants say, they want to celebrate the birth of a new age.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s self-styled “brujo mayor,” or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, who warned followers to stay away from all gatherings on Dec. 21. “We have to beware of mass psychosis” that could lead to stampedes or “mass suicides, of the kind we’ve seen before,” he said.

Also, organizers of Yucatan’s broader Mayan Culture Festival saw the need to answer some of the now-debunked idea that the Mayas, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, had somehow predicted the end of the world. The Yucatan state government asked a scientist to talk about the work of Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to debunk the idea it could produce world-ending rogue particles.

FRANCE

According to one rumor, a rocky mountain in the French Pyrenees will be the sole place on earth to escape destruction. A giant UFO and aliens are said to be waiting under the mountain, ready to burst through and spirit those nearby to safety. But here is bad news for those seeking salvation: French gendarmes, some on horseback, are blocking outsiders from reaching the Bugarach peak and its village of some 200 people.

One believer, Ludovic Broquet, a 30-year-old plumber, made his way to the mountain after a year of preparation, hoping to find a “gateway, the vortex that will open up here (at) the end of the world.”

Local residents, instead, are skeptical – and angry at having their peace disturbed. “What is going on here is the creation of an urban legend,” fumed resident Michele Pous, who blamed those who spread Internet rumors. “They created a media frenzy, they created a false event, they manipulated people.”

RUSSIA

For $1,500, a museum is offering salvation from the world’s end in former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s underground bunker in central Moscow – with a 50 percent refund if nothing happens.

The bunker, located 65 meters (210 feet) below ground, was designed to withstand a nuclear attack. Now home to a small museum, it has an independent electricity supply, water and food – but no more room, because the museum has already sold out all 1,000 tickets.

BRITAIN

Hundreds of people have already converged on Stonehenge for an “End of the World” party that coincides with the Winter Solstice.

Arthur Uther Pendragon, Britain’s best-known druid, said he was anticipating a much larger crowd than usual at Stonehenge this year. But he doesn’t agree that the world is ending, noting that he and fellow druids believe that things happen in cycles.

“We’re looking at it more as a new beginning than an end,” he said. “We’re looking at new hope.”

Meanwhile, end-of-days parties will be held across London on Friday. One event billed as a “last supper club” is offering a three-course meal served inside of an “ark.”

SERBIA

Some Serbs are saying to forget that sacred mountain in the French Pyrenees. The place to go Friday will be Mount Rtanj, a pyramid-shaped peak in Serbia already drawing cultists.

A local legend has it that the mountain once swallowed an evil sorcerer who will be released on doomsday in a ball of fire that will hit the mountain top. The inside of the mountain will then open up, becoming a safe place to hide as the sorcerer goes on to destroy the rest of the world. In the meantime, some old coal mine shafts have been opened up as safe rooms for the dozens who have arrived already.

“We got calls from as far away as Holland from people trying to seek shelter,” said Vlada Minic, a local villager. “They are asking to be as close as possible to the mountain.”

TURKEY

A small Turkish village known for its wines, Sirince, has also been touted as the only place after Bugarach that would escape the world’s end. But on Thursday there were more journalists and security officials present there than cultists – to the great disappointment of local restaurateurs and souvenir shop owners.

Nobody was quite sure where Sirince’s alleged powers to survive the Mayan doomsday come from, but the idyllic village in western Turkey is close to an area where the Virgin Mary is believed to have lived her final days, and some New Agers reportedly believe the region has a positive aura. For months, local business owners have been promoting the village and even produced wines with special labels to commemorate the event.

ITALY

Another spot said to be spared: Cisternino, in southern Italy, plans a big party Friday with hot-air balloons and music in the main piazza. “Nobody will want to sleep anyway as they await the end of the world,” Mayor Donato Baccaro was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Stampa on Wednesday. Though Baccaro goes on to say he doesn’t really believe the end is coming, hundreds have reportedly booked hotel rooms.

CHINA

A fringe Christian group has been spreading rumors about the world’s impending end, prompting Chinese authorities to detain more than 500 people this week and seize leaflets, video discs, books and other material.

Those detained are reported to be members of the group Almighty God, also called Eastern Lightning, which preaches that Jesus has reappeared as a woman in central China. Authorities in the province of Qinghai say they are waging a “severe crackdown” on the group, accusing it of attacking the Communist Party and the government.

UNITED STATES

For some, doomsday will be a chance for mockery.

Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, producer and host of the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” program, is throwing a party in New Orleans on Friday where he will descend onstage in a mock spaceship. Tsoukalos is a leading proponent of the idea that ancient myths arose from visits by alien astronauts, an idea rejected by many mainstream researchers. Still, Tsoukalos scoffs at the idea that the world will come to an end Friday.

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Satan’s Altar Call: Loaded gun found at Newport News middle school

by on Dec.19, 2012, under Uncategorized

Newport News, Va. – Officials tell NewsChannel 3 a loaded gun was found on school grounds at Dozier Middle School Wednesday morning.

According to Newport News Spokesperson Michelle Price, the loaded gun was found at around 8:30 a.m. in the possession of a sixth grade male student Wednesday morning at Dozier Middle School. According to Price, other students saw the gun in the sixth grader’s possession and told an administrator. The administrator and the school resource officer recovered the gun. The student was arrested.

Officials say the student did not threaten anyone. It is not clear why he brought the gun to school or where he got it from, but officials do not believe he planned to use it.

The school was not placed on lockdown. The school day is proceeding as normal. Parents have already been notified via the school’s auto call system.

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