Archive for February, 2007

The Ratio Problem


We couldn't have said it any better:

"1. It is impossible for all users to maintain a ratio over 1."

It constantly amazes me how many sites require a ratio over 1 because doing so is a mathematical impossibility."

Thoughtkeeper dives into the math, but what he basically says is that as soon as one downloaders' ratio goes up, someone else's goes down.

We've found through our own research that the best system is one that maintains overall network efficiency. Just like Amazon's very-Swooshable S3 storage service, our network uses the power of cloud computing to make sure that downloads are always reliable, always fast, and never bog down your own bandwidth with all that super annoying "super seeding" nonsense.

Thanks, Thoughtkeeper, for giving us a shout-out at the end of your post. As we roll out new services and gradually emerge from "stealth" mode, we expect many more people to have their "Swoosh" moment.

Hmmm....maybe we've said too much already???


  • Wait Periods.
  • Pop-up ads.
  • Misleading interfaces. (Where's the Download Button? is the new Where's Waldo?)
But who would blame a file-hosting service? They're hosting our files, aren't they? For free, right? And they need to recoup their bandwidth costs, right? Oh, right. The age of bandwidth costs is over. What do you think? Would you prefer an integrated P2P network, or are you comfortable with the Wait-N-Download model?

Exile on Hype Street

Johnny Cakes

It's the best thing to happen to music since the Rolling Stones.

It won the super-puba grand prize at the recent Mashup Camp conference, and has gotten a level of exposure and success that few of its geeky, aggregating-data web service brethren could dare hope for, nevertheless achieve.
It's the Hype Machine, and it helps you find music.

Well, let's be more specific. The Hype Machine helps browsers find music. It helps long-tail musicians and DJs get more exposure. And most importantly, it helps blog-owners attract new people to their sites based on targetted, contexual interests.

But for blog owners, the added attention from the hype machine is a double-edged sword. The focus is contextual, which is brilliant. When I search for "Peter, Bjorn, and John" on the Hype Machine, I get brought to sites like Discobelle and Palms Out Sounds.

And then I download the songs.

Now multiply this process thousands of times for popular tracks, and you can begin to fathom the problem: that's a lot of bandwidth for little-guy bloggers, who often have stringent limits on their entry-level web hosting contracts.

So this puts the Hype Machine in a strange position. Success for a web service has everything to do with going with the flow - finding the momentum and riding it.

The Hype Machine sucks at this.

No offense, Anthony, but bloggers aren't really hosting their own content anymore. Now that Blogger is offering custom domains for $10 a year, even fewer people are going to pay for web-hosting services.
Instead, they're opting for file-hosting services like ZShare, which allows for an unlimited number of downloads, and Swoosh-powered solutions like FileHo.

The emerging explosion of file-hosting services success is really not a good thing for the Hype Machine. Especially as the file-hosters plan to unveil their own vertical aggregation engines, which will allow direct downloads. That's bad for the Hype Machine, and bad its constituency of long-tail bloggers.
So here's our challenge to Anthony Vlodkin and the Hype Machine (and any other services that want to beat Vlodkin at his own game, because it's never too late):

  • Offer to reduce your bloggers' bandwidth usage by more than 90%.

90% is actually a safe bet. Expect something more like 96-98%.

And wait - the bloggers don't have to do anything! All they have to do is continue to host files on their own servers, but they won't have to worry anymore about eye-watering bandwidth bills every month.

And all you (the aggregator) have to do is automatically add the following prefix to each file:


(more info here)

The code is super-easy, and we can help you out with it. Just holler in the comments, and we'll get in touch. Once you get that nailed down, we have some other goodies like our in-page downloader and embeddable media player that will make your site even easier to use for end-users than it is right now.
If we don't help reduce your entire blog network's bandwidth hassles by at least 90% and double the end-user speed and usability, we'll owe you a coke. And an apology.

So go ahead and try it out. Let's take this thing to the next level.

-Johnny Cakes thinks this PB & J Girl Talk remix is the best song of the year, of the week.