Tuesday, April 18, 2006


What's up with the New York Times?

Tim Spalding thinks it odd that an idle website (Zunafish) can earn major coverage from the New York Times.

Of course, it's odd. Consider this. How long did it take the New York Times to cover the Wright Brothers flying machine?

Four years.

Zunafish beat man's conquest of flight by four years. Of course, once Zunafish was covered in the NYT, they were everywhere. As far as spreading memes or companies is concerned, bloggers are still no match for the NYT and the social proof they wield.

What is Zunafish? They take a dollar cut of trades that people do with each other. Huh? Taking money out of a transaction when there was no money in the first place? That's the online equivalent of Hazel Henderson's illustration of community decay: "If you want to have breakfast prepared by your Mom, go to McDonald's where she is serving it."

Companies (like Zunafish, Peerflix and Swapthing) whose business plans include siphoning money out of exchanges where money doesn't belong are grotesquely artificial and blueprints for community decay and the subversion of reciprocity. People can set up these exchanges for free. No middle man required.

Here's my comment: you're an idiot. I know these guys, and they spent 3 1/2 years of their lives, tirelessly developing this website, so that people would not have to buy everything new at very expensive retail prices. They devoted thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and endless mental energy to create a system that WILDLY benefits the public. And your thinking is what, exactly? That they should NOT benefit at all from their efforts? That's a pretty American thought...not. Or maybe they should just go away, so the corporations force everyone to buy everything from them directly? Now that would be a benefit to society...not. Are you railing at the videogame industry for charging $50 a game? Then how can you complain about Zunafish allowing you to get that same game for $1?? Here's an idea--maybe you should get a brain in your head before you start blathering about something like a moron...
Idiot? Moron? Wow.

Anyway, before they spent so much time on their project, they should have realized that the service they are attempting to monetize could be offered for free and reviewing some anthropology wouldn't have hurt. They would have learned that gift exchanges define communities and wherever these exchanges are subverted, communities and family bonds are destroyed.

For instance, Peerflix is like a potluck dinner where you have to pay the organizer if you want some potato salad, pay again before you grab a chicken leg and pay again to eat the peach cobbler. That's just wrong.

You are entitled to your opinions (and your name-calling) but not the facts.
Pretentious anthropology lessons aside, who exactly do you suppose is going to come along and spend the time (once again, THOUSANDS of hours) and the money (HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars) to bestow upon the public this free system you imagine. This is the real world, not some textbook. These guys have done the public a service (no one HAS TO use the site!), and you, in your cocoon of pseudo-academia, should be ashamed of yourself for attacking them. I'm sure you won't be, though--people like you are seldom capable of the introspection that would be required for that to happen.
switchdiscs.com is free. the writing is on the wall.
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