… and advertise with me, Mark Cuban

Steve Rubel over at Micropersuasion has a brief interview he did with Megaphone Mark Cuban, billionaire media mogul and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, in which the two talked about things like the “Long Tail” of the Web (and Mark’s own coinage — the “vert ramp” — and how it affects new media. As is his wont, Mark shot from the hip about what the future holds and where advertisers should be putting their money, saying:

I think most blogs, vlogs , podcasts, broadband TV shows that sneak out of the Long Tail, my blog included, will have a tough time staying out and earning more than minimum wage for their efforts.

He also said that advertisers will inevitably “work with aggregators,” and that therefore “those who host the Long Tailers will get paid, those who create for the Long Tail rarely will.” Kind of a bleak view, but hey — Mark has a billion or two and you don’t. The big risk, he says, is the “inevitable saturation of ad inventory” in new media and the Web.


Steve and Mark went on to talk about high-definition, which Cuban — being the founder and CEO of HDNet.com — not surprisingly sees as the future. He also asks whether anyone thinks that “all those LCDs hanging on walls will be connected to computers anytime soon or show Internet video? They won’t.”

I think he’s probably wrong, especially with Google Video looking at putting YouTube content on mobiles and elsewhere — and with Xbox offering gamers the ability to download video to their TVs — but maybe that’s just me. Could Mark be one of the broadcast types my friend Stuart talks about here?

In other words, the Long Tail is largely crap; those who create it will starve; advertisers should pay attention to HD; and anyone who thinks TVs will show Internet video anytime soon is an idiot. Classic Cuban.

I think Mark Cuban is losing it

I’ve never met Mark Cuban, but I like him a lot. I love his courtside ranting and raving, I like the whole billionaire in a T-shirt thing, and I really like the fact that he lets things pretty much just hang out on his blog and says what he feels — how many billionaires or CEOs do that? And I even like his blog when I think he’s wrong, like I did with the whole “only a moron would buy YouTube” thing. But sometimes I think maybe he could use an editor — or at least a friend.

In his latest post, Mark takes another stab at the whole Google-YouTube-DRM thing, but this time he does it in a kind of stream of consciousness format that makes me wonder whether he isn’t spending some of those billions on British Columbia’s leading export. He talks about looking for music and videos, and how YouTube’s new quicklist makes it easy to find things, and programs like Total Video Converter let him convert movies so he can watch them on his iPod. And then he loses it — here’s a sample:

Wait a minute, who is the little guy hovering in front of me ? Dang, it looks like a Google lawyer ! Is he using a juet propulsion pack to fly ? No, its a floating Segway. Wow ! He is saying “No problem mark. You didnt crack any DRM, we dont use any !. You just downloaded a file from one of the most popular sites in the world and converted it to a format that works for your Ipod. We put it up there for you to take, so take it !

If copyright owners didnt want it there, they would have sent us a Take Down Notice !. I must be right because millions of people do it every day ! You wonder how I can fly with this Segway ? Its the DMCA Safe Harbor laws keeping me safe and floating. Take all the music, movies and videos you want, our users will upload more ! Enjoy , enjoy, enjoy !

Mark, buddy — time to step outside and maybe get some fresh air, dude. Or at least put down the bong for awhile. In other Cuban-related news, Deep Jive Interests has coined a new buzzword: To “Cuban.”

Please, let’s not call it GooTube

Well, all those rumours about Google and YouTube turned out to have more than a little truth to them. And kudos to Mike Arrington of TechCrunch for getting out there first with the story. He had the Wall Street Journal and New York Times not just following him but giving him credit for breaking the news, and that is definitely a feather in his cap.

Meanwhile, whether out of plain old stubbornness or devotion to his argument, “Megaphone Mark” Cuban refuses to admit that maybe he was wrong to call anyone who bought YouTube a moron, and is still convinced that the Google gang are in for a world of copyright pain.

Could he be right? Maybe. Or maybe the deals that YouTube has signed with Warner and Universal and BMG are a sign that things are changing. In any case, as Rex Hammock points out, Mark Cuban is an expert on crazy, so there has to be a pretty big piece of him that is cheering on the guy with the surfer dude name — YouTube CEO Chad Hurley — and co-founder Steve Chen.

Om Malik admits he was wrong to side with the nay-sayers, but then throws in at the end that he thinks it might be an “HP-Compaq kind of deal.” That’s harsh, Om 🙂 And Eric Schmidt says on the conference call that this is the “next step in the evolution of the Internet.” I don’t know about that, but it sure is going to be fun to watch.

I think YouTube’s valuation is irrelevant

Maybe it’s just been a slow period for “real” news from the blogosphere over the past few days, or maybe Mark Cuban’s comments about YouTube have stirred up some conflicting views about Web 2.0 and the New Bubble and that sort of thing, but there has certainly been a lot of back and forth about the issue since Megaphone Mark made his “moron” statement.

Fred Wilson of Union Square said he thinks YouTube is one of the best things to happen on the Internet over the past several years, which got a couple of people going — including my friend Rob Hyndman, who took issue with this statement, and got a response from Fred in his comments. Rob also got kind of riled up by Bob Lefsetz’s rant against Cuban, which had that kind of breathless, drunk-guy-with-a-sticky-caps-lock thing to it that Bob does so well, and so Rob helpfully advised him to “put down the bong.”

Unfortunately, there seem to be a whole bunch of tangential — and in many cases ad hominem — arguments getting in the way of this debate. Is Mark Cuban jealous because he wishes he had come up with YouTube? Is Fred Wilson just trying to hype something Web-related because he has a vested interest in another bubble, as Rob suggests in a comment on Fred’s most recent post? Has Bob Lefsetz been spending too much time with his hash-pipe recently? And so on.

To me, there’s a litle bit too much talk about how much YouTube will (or might) be worthl. I couldn’t care less. As was the case with Napster, I’d rather focus on how YouTube is changing (or could change) the old media model, just as Slingbox and other technologies are. And one of the ways it has done so has nothing to do with technology, as Jason Calacanis points out — and has everything to do with distribution. That’s where the real value lies.

Only a moron listens to Mark Cuban

As my friend Mark Evans points out, billionaire sports-team owner and media mogul Mark Cuban is often a refreshing blast of sanity amidst the hype and hoopla surrounding Web 2.0 and Internet business models in general, but his recent diatribe on YouTube and how only a moron would buy it is a little off the mark, I think (pardon the pun).

I wonder what someone like Mark might have said about a little Internet venture called Broadcast.com way back when the first Internet bubble was being inflated. Would they have said that only a moron would pay $5.7-billion for such a wild dream about the future of online video? I bet they would have. Luckily for Mark, Yahoo wasn’t listening and it coughed up enough cash to make him a billionaire, and now he can play with his sports team and tell everyone else how stupid they are. I think Don Dodge and I are on the same page.


As Umair points out at Bubblegeneration, YouTube is trying disrupt the entire video value chain, and has gotten a least a couple of rights-holders interested in pursuing that opportunity, and others such as NBC seem to be thinking along the same lines. That doesn’t mean YouTube will necessarily succeed, nor does it mean that someone should pay $2-billion for it. But there is value there.


Fred Wilson says we should stop the YouTube hating, and points to a great rant from music industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz, as well as a recent piece on YouTube with comments from Chad Hurley in the New York Times. And Jason Calacanis has some further thoughts on the issue, in which he says that YouTube’s genius has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with distribution.