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YouTube Stars Are Pushing a Shady Gambling Site (thedailybeast.com)
270 points by smacktoward 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 185 comments



I'm actually pretty impressed by how clever and insidious the "YouTuber" advertising game is. All these 'personalities' and 'stars' put out whatever content continues to get views- and there's a beautiful survival of the fittest game going on there- and then once they have subscribed viewers they can subtly promote anything at all and be paid for it.

My wife watches a bunch of 'cleaning' and 'makeup/style' YouTubers. All I see when I view it are advertisements pretending to be personal videos. She loves it. The ones for kids are especially creepy when you really dig into what's going on.

They've convinced people to subscribe to advertisements so they see them as soon as they're posted. That's even better than Facebook convincing everyone to give them all their personal information so it can be 'shared'.


I tend to agree with you. The other day I was looking for reviews on some boots I was going to buy. Most of the videos I found had the same fake advertisement feel you described. There was probably 4 or 5 videos basically giving a history of the company, why they are so good, and a small bit about the boot. It felt much more like an ad than a boot review.

It took some searching to find an amateur YouTuber in the UK giving a review of the boots. He even had 6 months and a year update. It was a low quality production but the content was so much better. This guy even walked in a creek to show they were waterproof while everyone else sat in their bedroom talking.


The joy is, the guys with sponsored videos likely got $100s ($1000s?) of dollars to do their shill review. The guy doing the good review maybe made 10 cents off the views of his video.

Any time the financial incentives of a system encourage negative behavior, it is at least a hint that more regulation is needed.

In other media forms, the guy giving the shill would need to say up front "I was paid for this review". On youtube and instagram, I don't think this is the case.


The regulation exists, at least in the US; the FTC has sent notices to dozens of "influencers" on that regard[1]. I don't think they've fined anyone yet, though.

EDIT: I was wrong, they've already charged and settled with two: TmarTn and Syndicate[2].

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/04/ftc-s...

[2] https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/09/csgo-...


TmarTn had a crazy good lawyer on that case. The defense was

1) CSGO Lotto was never a gambling site to begin with because you could play for free simply by emailing support, akin to McDonalds Monopoly [0]

2) It was public knowledge that the owners of the corporation were TmarTn and Syndicate.

[0] www.polygon.com/platform/amp/2017/12/18/16782124/csgo-lotto-lawsuit-gambling-terms-of-use-tmartn


> It was public knowledge that the owners of the corporation were TmarTn and Syndicate.

So was the argument here that they expected children and teenagers who were primarily consuming their content to look up the public ownership records of CSGO Lotto? Since they weren't particularly open about their ownership in the videos that they advertised the site in.


Unironically, it seems so. As disingeneous as it sounds. Pretty horrible people all around.


Regarding #1, okay I actually have to clap and give them a "well done" for that one.


Notices are irrelevant. What relevant is the kind of a wine that wipes out 5-10 years of the money influencer made for a single violation. Get a dozen of those and suddenly every infuencer would make 100% sure he or she is playing within the rules.


Is there any evidence the FTC is going after the advertisers and platforms (youtube, twitch, etc) themselves? It seems purposefully ineffective to play whack-a-mole with individuals when the driving force is a multi-billion dollar industry built around avoiding disclosure.


It seems they are going after advertisers: https://www.cnet.com/news/warner-bros-settles-with-ftc-for-n...

Regarding the platforms, how are they supposed to know if the uploader got paid to do a video? If it was obvious, we wouldn't need these disclosures in the first place!


I spoke with a guy at a leather shop in Florence. He said all he had to do was give a few leather jackets to instragam or social media models. They would share his name, keep the nice leather products, and he said he could get 100s of orders.

The models didn’t even ask for payment. I can’t imagine what the Instagram models and YouTube superstars demand.


Other Youtubers have reported being contacted for the Gambling website this thread is based on. Each one reported being offered between 10k and 20k to push this scam.

It's speculated the biggest Youtubers pushing this are being paid up to 6 figures.


Keemstar said he was offered 100000$ but turned it down. Ricegum said in his followup video that he was offered more since he has more subscribers.


Because of you i know who Ricegum is, you owe me.


Very sorry but know you know what kind of individual are popular on the site. Keep that in mind if/when you have kids.


The people pushing the gambling site were offered around $100k for the sponsored video. Lots of money to be made when you have millions of subscribers.


How can we increase agreement around what constitutes negative behavior? This is the biggest blocker to effective regulation.


Well we can start with disclosure. If a product was given or money changed hands and it’s not clearly stated on the placement video then if they get caught, massive fines.


I saw a video where a guy did an incredibly thorough review of a product. Just a guy who bought something that didn't have a lot of reviews, so he threw together a video in his garage and backyard.

Eventually it got to the point where he had one of the top videos when you look up the product name on YT. A bit later the company sent him a bunch of their other products and he reviewed them. It's smart for the company to do that, but it makes the subsequent videos feel just a bit tainted.


Can you please share the channel? I also like reddit's r/goodyearwelt for personal anecdotes.


It's stuff like this that makes YouTube valuable for me, despite the crap that gets promoted on the homepage.


>I view it are advertisements pretending to be personal videos. She loves it.

Your wife has a normal response to ads when the topic is interesting to the viewer. That's the holy grail of "relevant ads": the boundaries of the "ad" get blurred and the message of the product being sold is better received.

Women buy Vogue Magazine for the ads of fashion. It's not just a female thing. Some males bought Computer Shopper[1] specifically for the ads. Why would consumers pay for ads?!? Because they're relevant to their interests.

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=Computer+Shopper+magazine&so...


There's a qualitative difference between being interested in learning the facts of the market -- what's on offer -- and being interested in editorial content that is actually an ad.

For one, market facts (price, features, etc) are more likely to be honest, and for two, self-touting advertisements aren't hiding their bias. Advertorial content is doubly deceptive -- the content is biased AND the bias is hidden.


The difference between computer products and make-up products is that computer products are aimed at people who think they are too smart to be sold anything they don't really want, so the advertisement must be subtle.

But that's it. Marketing products means advertising them to consumers. There's no gettting around that, no matter what the product is.


  computer products are aimed at people who think they are too smart to be sold anything
Hell there are ads right now on the front page of HN for job hirings..


Respectfully, makeup shoppers are chemists and biologists these days – they are also unaware that they're being sold, until their bathroom drawer overflows with $2000 worth of jars.


I did not write that makeup shoppers do not include chemists and biologists. You're assuming too much.

Edit: and it's very irritating.


> The difference between computer products and make-up products is that computer products are aimed at people who think they are too smart to be sold anything they don't really want, so the advertisement must be subtle.

What makes you say that?


Do you really want to live the rest of your life without ray tracing?


Bias is ever-present. Even a listing of "facts" is biased by what's included in the list, what order it's displayed in, what features are listed, etc. If you read/watch all of these types of pieces as opinion, you'll likely end up with a more accurate understanding of your choices.


The fact that it's impossible to eliminate bias completely isn't a reason to avoid doing to reduce and make explicit bias in information sources.

Perfect vs good


Most of the youtubers I watch are as unbiased as possible. Its the same idea as using wirecutter [0], if you find the right youtube channel. They can still provide super valuable subjective opinions since they are experts.

https://thewirecutter.com/


That is essentially the sole reason I (edit:used to) read cycle world (plus the Kevin Cameron tech articles). Oftentimes the ads would be almost as interesting as the articles, since it was one of the most effective ways of keeping track of any interesting new models.

And there is an excellent reason equipment manufacturers send electronics test equipment to the EEVblog channel. Even though there's a good chance it will be reviewed harshly, that channel definitely drove my last scope purchase.

And I don't have a problem with this, since I don't find the content objectionable. I DO have a problem when the promotion is disguised or not disclosed, it is deceitful to not mention the product was free or that the company has compensated you. And there's no good reason not to, in fact I become suspicious otherwise.


It's not just a good idea, it's the law (in the UK): https://www.asa.org.uk/news/making-ads-clear-the-challenge-f...


Where does the law stand if a promotional video made where disclosure is not required is available in the UK?


>that channel definitely drove my last scope purchase.

Did you buy a Rigol like everyone else? ;)

Agreed on that channel, but as gruff and seemingly honest as that guy (Dave) is, at some point he’ll likely fall victim to some advertising shanannagans, it seems everyone does eventually.


This reminds me of having a wealth manager that is broker/dealer. They recommend investments, but those investments don't have to be the best ones the advisor knows of for your situation. They merely need to be suitable. So while you may not be paying management fees for advisory services, the broker is compensated by commission, so it's basically advertising dressed up as advice.


>This reminds me of having a wealth manager that is broker/dealer. [...], so it's basically advertising dressed up as advice.

And your comment reminds me of one of my other examples of the "buyers buying ads":

It isn't just small subscription amounts where people buy the ads in magazines; sometimes people will pay $12000 to be bombarded with ads. Who are those people and why would they do this?!?

The example is the attendees to the Milken Institute conferences[0]. The ticket price is ~$12000 and it allows attendees to listen to "ad presentations" from fund managers. (Example.[1])

Yes, it's formally called a "discussion panel" but everybody knows that the fund managers on the stage are really advertising their firms' investing expertise without the vulgarity of explicitly labeling it "ads".

If one only has an uncompromising view that _all_ ads are evil, it will not make any sense why pension fund custodians would pay thousands to view ads. On the other hand, if there's wiggle room for "relevant ads", the payment of $12k for ad presentations is perfectly rational.

[0] https://www.milkeninstitute.org/events/conferences/

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpFOPHUhRBg


Presentations/conferences in general serve as an excuse to network and have off the record conversations. Plus people don’t necessarily pay out of their own pocket.


Do the attendees pay for their own tickets, or are they able to get their fund to pay? If the latter, it just tells us that the fringe benefits of the conference are worth more than zero, and nothing about the benefits of ads.


>Do the attendees pay for their own tickets, or are they able to get their fund to pay?

There's a mixture of both. The pension officer for institutions like California Retirement System will have his/her ticket paid but other folks that run their own small fund will pay their own way.

The attendees all have the problem of "where do I put my institution's money?" and they go to the conference to listen to various presentations to be persuaded. Yes, there are also chances for networking and "meet & greet" but the event is largely a marketplace hub for "sellers" (funds) and "buyers" (institutions). The sellers (e.g. the hedge funds and the billionaire managers that appear on the stage) sponsor the show which in effect also funds Milken's 501c charity institution.


The value proposition of a $12k conference is not in the seminar content.

It's in getting into a room of sales prospects and potential investors who have already demonstrated that they can afford to spend $12k on a conference. It's like deliberately going to a bar with a steep cover charge so you only have to mingle with the "right people".


From my own personal experience I’ve found that the more expensive a full conference pass is, the more the sessions are just sales presentations.

The best events I’ve been to, with the most interesting and talented speakers, were always cheaper.


Isn't this similar to say, the mechanic who 'recommends' you do additional work not related to the reason you brought in your vehicle? Obviously that could be entirely legitimate, or not... To be cynical, it's the situation of anyone going to a specialist for a service - a dentist could just as easily 'recommend' procedures that aren't needed, for example.


I can see the appeal of watching ads to learn what new products are available, but I would like to see them clearly identified as ads so people know they should be skeptical of any claims they make.

Edit: and apparently that's required by the FTC as well.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18824620


>Your wife has a normal response to ads when the topic is interesting to the viewer. That's the holy grail of "relevant ads": the boundaries of the "ad" get blurred and the message of the product being sold is better received.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that it's normal to love "relevant ads" when you know that it's actually an ad and not organic content? Because I personally disagree, I absolutely hate that and I feel scammed when it happens to me.

It's fundamentally dishonest because it plays on the trust you have for the person doing the "ad". They betray this trust by pushing a product for money, not because they genuinely like it.

Now if they actually say something like "okay, this is a sponsored video but I actually genuinely like this product" I can give it a pass. But if you don't actually care about the product and are just pushing the script given to you by the marketing dept without any obvious disclaimers then it's plain and simple scam in my book. Actually I expect that it's probably illegal in many places, especially when it's about gambling websites like in TFA.

Now if you're saying that it's normal to like this content if you don't know it's an ad then yeah, I agree, but that's the scam.

>Women buy Vogue Magazine for the ads of fashion. It's not just a female thing. Some males bought Computer Shopper[1] specifically for the ads. Why would consumers pay for ads?!? Because they're relevant to their interests.

It's not the same thing, those are explicitly ads. The equivalent would be those fake articles that you can find in some magazines (especially the free newspapers they distribute in the subway in my experience, but also in online publications) where they mimic the format of real articles to push an ad. I actually fell for those a couple of times, generally you only have a small disclaimer in the top or bottom margin saying "this is sponsored content" or something similar. It's clearly meant to deceive.


Men have lifestyle/fashion magazines too GQ, Esquire, Men's Health, etc..


I remember looking forward to the Sunday paper for the electronics store ads more than the paper itself (except maybe the sports section).


I was always excited to see what amazing deals Fry's Electronics had


Most people prefer the superbowl adverts to the actual game


Truly, I think that’s an indictment of the game, and to some extent the audience, not an endorsement of the advertisements.


I don't necessarily think it's and indictment of the game, but by the time it gets to the Super Bowl, 30/32 fans have had their team eliminated, so it's kind of become a fun tradition. For me, personally, it is probably the only NFL game I do not watch tape delayed to skip the boring ever repetitive commercials. Seriously, if you watch a game live, you're going to see the same handful of commercials probably at least a dozen times each over the 3 hours a typical game last. Gets annoying and repetitive.


I used to watch boring Saturday morning TV shows as a kid, because I knew they would have Atari 2600 ads during the breaks. It was the only exposure you would get to them as a kid in the 70s/80s.


Indeed. Still doesn't change the fact that they are deceptive and manipulative.

If I want to be a good homo economicus and update my information about the market, it's probably not the best idea to do so via a means that is by definition one-sided and actively tries to undermine my attempts at rational descision making.

You wouldn't consume data from a web service that actively tries to hack you.


Noticed the same thing, my wife has a few personalities she follows on YouTube and looks forward to skincare product launches and other things being announced. Coincidentally, one of them pushed out their own mystery makeup box and it was a race to purchase one before they "sold out." I see this as just one big marketing ploy to make a bunch of money by selling cheaply made products at high prices because of an image and really pretty branding.

I don't get it, but she enjoys it. As much as I hate to admit, I'm sure I've been sucked into some tech or office product in a similar fashion.


There is a kids' channel called Ryan's Toy Reviews that branched out into Christmas surprise gifts this year, at £50 and all sold out. We had to ban the channel at that point.


I remember my son crying and telling me "but I miss it..." when I told him he couldn't watch that channel anymore. It's like a bunch of toy commercials, but I think kids also feel some connection to Ryan, which is what makes the channel work.


>All I see when I view it are advertisements pretending to be personal videos.

I can't stand videos like that. Especially if you have to sit through 2-3 minutes of intro bullshit before finding out it's all an advertisement for some product.

The ones I don't mind, that I've been seeing a lot more lately, are the ones that simply have an actual ad in them done by the video creator. They're usually pretty bad and sometimes you can tell they're not usually too happy about the product they're advertising but it still feels more honest to watch. You know it's an ad there's no pretending and i've seen a few videos where the creators actually put some effort in and did a pretty good job with the product placement part of their video.


I guess it depends on what your threshold for "advertisement" is...

Is a video tour of the Grand Canyon a National Parks advertisement? Is someone fixing their broken-down car and advertisement for that car brand? Is a guy tearing down a drill an advertisement for that tool brand? What if he talks about all the shitty design in the tool? What about if most of his videos come down hard on the tools, and then one he declares "not teabag" (Canadian for "not too bad")? Is that an advertisement for that brand that didn't suck? Are political commentary videos advertisements for a party or politician or idea?

Are cat videos an advertisement for cats?

I guess it depends on what you are getting out of the video. I, personally, mostly watch youtube videos to be entertained or to learn things. Now, many of them will change my perception about brands or ideas, either positively or negatively. But, to me, they are serving a "higher purpose". Hell, I've even watched make-up videos like you describe (my daughter needed help with doing winged eyeliner), so I know what you're talking about.

I'm not saying your point is invalid, it very much is. I have a pretty low threshold for traditional advertisements. But I think it's important to talk about the good and the bad, because there's a lot good on youtube that can get painted bad by ideas that all of this is advertisements.

But the paid shills? Ugh! They have to be teaching or entertaining me a lot for me to be able to stomach them. I'm looking at you, Wranglerstar.


Sure but at least you see a tangible product being sold.In this case, all they are selling here are "prizes" from a slot machine with no odds or verifiability that the product even exists. The most outrageous example was a $250 million home in LA (had a description going along the lines of "The most valuable real estate in the city). It's obvious that no one is going to win this and it is just a picture placed there to trick people.

It's amazing that you have people with over 1 million subs taking this money when there are so many red flags. Then again some of these are just young kids who only care about cash and are fine selling out their young impressionable audience.

If you watch any of these videos it is so obviously rigged, they "win" a bunch of prizes off screen such as high end nike shoes and computers (on screen they get low tier prizes like random shoes or ear buds) and have it delivered in unmarked boxes immediately in the next scene.

I expect some form of federal intervention in this case because it's absolutely insane from a simple cursory glance how brazen this is.


Reminds me of branded t-shirts - people will pay you to advertise your company on their own bodies.


that's any clothing with a logo, not just tshirts


Only if they're in strategic places in the clothing.

Compare Uniqlo minimalist logos vs Polo logo directly on their breast pockets.


Further down the rabbit hole, there are questions being asked about how much of the creepy content for kids is even being produced by actual humans, or to what degree:

https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-in...


> They've convinced people to subscribe to advertisements so they see them as soon as they're posted. That's even better than Facebook convincing everyone to give them all their personal information so it can be 'shared'.

Except Facebook also gets people to subscribe to advertisements so they (have a chance of) seeing them as soon as they are shared.

But Facebook actually builds it's business model around that, unlike YouTube, and charges the advertisers more to reach more of the subscribers even after they've expressed interest, while YouTube treats videos as a venue for ads it sells, but doesn't treat the channel-subscriber relationship as an advertising channel to monetize the way Facebook does with Pages.


I feel way disconnected as ... I can't belive people subscribe to this garbage. Who the hell wants to watch these obnoxious ads for this?


Dewayne Johnson's account is horrible in this way, despite being a super likable person: he's being essentially used by Under Armor to promote them, despite that company having shady ties to things like trophy hunting, which The Rock surely isn't aligned with. I find it curious how good folks get coopted by crappy corps.


"trophy hunting, which The Rock surely isn't aligned with"

I'll bet $1000 that the real Dwayne Johnson doesn't care that much, as most people don't care or think about it that much.

'The Rock' and everything you've ever seen about him is a performance.


Same thing's been happening to me; I watch videos from a successful person in a hobby I like. The content's good because he genuinely enjoys the area. However, recently there's been videos about gear and nutrition, and the product name and praise is a LITTLE too obvious for comfort. Though my initial reaction was 'wow those seem like great products, I should check them out'. There's a camaraderie and intimacy that's gathered when you watch someone's videos, and I feel like it's little different from product marketing of celebs though a little more subverted since it's newer and less regulated.


I think fashion magazines have been mostly ads with style guides and tips mixed in for a long time -- and those aren't event free to read!


A fashion magazine is sort of like walking into a market or bazaar. Part of the reason for being there is to see all the interesting things people are trying to sell to you.

It's slightly different than what's going on here, which might be more akin to the interesting conversation you struck up with the stranger on the bus getting awkward around for third or fourth time them mention how much they like their new jacket, which is both stylish and waterproof.

That's not to say it's all one or the other. Fashion magazines have advertising masquerading as editorial content also, I'm sure, but I imagine most people are expecting their being pitched some product most the time while reading the magazine.


This is no different from any content based advertising - product placement in TV shows and movies, magazine articles, blogs, morning talk shows, and even traditional books have employed the same strategy. In fact I would say some of these other forms are more insidious. PR firms essentially do the same thing for news shows and publications too.


I agree. I like the FTC's requirement that "influencers" have sponsorship disclosures on their YouTube videos and Instagram posts but it doesn't make sense that the same rules don't apply to other forms of product placement. Movies and TV shows don't have to disclose that they've been paid for the main character to drive a specific model car or wear a specific brand jacket.


This [1] is the video which made me fed up and stopped watching Smarter Every Day.

The only way that video made me smarter is realising how blatantly most social media offers low quality content crammed with advertisement.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ8JqQuKW_o


I watch tons of Youtube, and it's fairly obvious when someone is just pushing a product or when they're adding unique valuable content. If the content is good and engaging, I really don't care. I have disposable income, I do kind of want to know about products out there that can make my life easier/more interesting.


i've been noodling on an idea about price transparency to lessen consumer information asymmetry, and this case might be a neat application: any ads should be accompanied by at least the highest all-inclusive price for the product in the expected viewership area. in this case, the mere inclusion of a price tips the viewer off that it's an ad.

this price would include all fees and taxes to get the exact item shown in the ad. in cases where the fees and taxes vary for the viewership, you show the highest possible price. you can show other price variations, but the highest must be the most prominent. not only would consumers get better information but markets would be more competitive and ads would be better targeted (so as to show the lowest price to each viewer).


say what now? are you basically just saying location aware pricing? that is nothing nuanced of course - look no further than any fundamental supply chain management firm - it is the crux of their business.


meanwhile lots of smaller channels that do interesting content and support themselves with sponsoring deals but being upfront about it are getting their margins squeezed and a lot of their stuff taken down with no recourse by automated copyright claims...


I have been pointing out subtle commercials to my son since he was old enough to know the word.

Also, not on youtube, but Bill Burr does some fantastic advertisements on the Monday Morning Podcast. I never want to skip them.


What you've described sounds like my son & I when we get our Lego catalog. It's not just digital.


Wait until I tell you about Hacker News, which contains many advertisements that people like and discuss all while claiming to be against this type of advertising.


At least it’s free and explicit. It’s a place to show off startups my g.


I can't tell if this article was the original or if H3H3's video was the original, but H3H3 also covers this -

https://youtu.be/3ewyEF3Wd9M

TL;DW - Youtubers with large young audiences are promoting loot box style gambling.

Youtube seems like the wild west.

On the dark side we have channels bursting with (possibly) human trafficked vietnamese women producing sexual content masquerading as slice-of-life, huge youtubers promoting gambling to children, elsagate, etc.

On the light side we have people's videos being flagged for copyright violations over literal sounds of nature, music they produced themselves, or music playing in the background. Also "fair use" doesn't exist on YouTube - a 1 second clip is enough for a company to claim your video apparently.

There are still a lot of niche channels I love on YouTube but I would never want to try to make a living producing content on that platform myself... seems too volatile.


>Youtube seems like the wild west.

YT to me is more like Kowloon Walled City - massive and amazing as a monolithic entity, and you can find amazing gems - but when you look closely, its a lawless cess-pool with a confusing and almost evil method of getting around - and things that shouldn't be anywhere near each-other are practically roommates, rather than neighbors. And you should not trust any strangers you come across, no matter what they promise you. Also, its a terrible place for children to be unattended - and is largely ungoverned by those who should be governing it...


H3H3 is just as guilty of this. They were one of MANY channels advertising a scam "therapy" service called Better Help to viewers with mental health issues. While he did acknowledge it, it was only after being called out in a Pewdiepie video, and he seemed much more upset about getting caught than promoting such a scam of a service.


If you watch H3H3's original videos, it's clear that the edit that PewDiePie watched was misleading to make it seem like Ethan was claiming BetterHelp personally helped him. It took a clip out-of-context from an advertisement-free video. To Ethan's credit, it was clear in his videos that it was paid advertisement and he didn't personally use the service, and he did stop advertising for them.


I'm not sure that's entirely the same as this. If you didn't know exactly how Better Help was setup, it could be difficult to understand that. Also, Better Help may actually provide some value, but just a value that is in a gray area.

Gambling sites masquerading as merchandise seems like it is not in any grey area, it's purely negative. This type of service may even be strictly illegal, so it's a pretty strange situation to see it being advertised so heavily in a major way.


What's scammy about Better Help?


A few months ago Pewdiepie posted a video[0] that roughly took the piss out of Better Help and their practices and pointed out the irony of an online counseling service that claims to be a cheaper alternative to actual therapy, but still lists in their terms of service that you need actual therapy and that what they offer is only supplemental in nature.

So basically they're engaging in borderline false advertising targeted at people who are by definition emotionally and psychologically vulnerable and compromised.

And the youtube side of it is that a whole host of youtubers promoted this service on their platforms.

Not to mention that their terms dictate they can sell your data. Which obviously is unexpected from a“medical” company.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PLgOaVXmGU


> Not to mention that their terms dictate they can sell your data. Which obviously is unexpected from a“medical” company.

That seems like it must be skirting the HIPAA line very closely.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXUEnagP69c

This happened a while ago so I don't remember everything, but I believe the company was like an Uber for therapy, rather than providing therapy directly.


I have used their services once and it seems like the biggest issue is that remote therapy probably isn't as beneficial as being in-person. The prices are high for what you get and good luck trying to figure out how to make a claim to your insurance with them.


> On the dark side we have channels bursting with (possibly) human trafficked vietnamese women producing sexual content masquerading as slice-of-life

Can you explain for those of us out of the loop...


paymoneywubby did a video about it [1]. Basically its a woman casually interacting with her children but behaving in very suggestive ways such as opening her legs to expose her underwear or seductively washing the car. Hundreds of videos across lots of channels with one woman, but its part of a whole lot of "super soft-core" youtube.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc4HzbD0GLI


I guess the target market for this is people trapped behind porn filters that can still get YouTube? Seems like a very niche market. This is the Internet, it's not that hard to find porn. If someone is scouring your browser history those softcore channels don't seem like they would be hiding much, unless they have titles like "small engine maintenance -- carburetor cleaning".

I'm trying to imagine some 14 year old boy trying to explain to an angry mother that yes, he's that interested in the boring day to day life details of an Asian mother.


They were (just read that youtube took them down) getting millions of views. From what I understand, ad revenue on a site like youtube is much higher per view than on adult sites because most advertisers are so reluctant to put their product next to adult content. I'm not sure who watches them either, but they were clearly making money producing the content.


Thinking about it some more I bet part of the appeal is the voyeuristic nature of it. It probably feels a lot more like real life, where you very rarely get jumped by horny housewives looking for an anonymous lay, and more realistically get some sideboob or a panty flash from people wearing hot weather clothes.

But as you note, it's mostly a good deal for the producers that can monetize the videos a lot easier on a legit platform like YouTube, and there is probably a reasonably big captive market of people who are trapped behind porn filters.


I came to that video after watching the one about children doing ASMR.

On the one hand, there's a woman providing hours and hours of gratuitous upskirt shots and flashing her panties, made creepy because of the role the children play in it. The sheer scale of the content being uploaded makes it feel less innocuous to me, so it's hard to think this is just a woman indulging in a mild fetish...something else must be going on.

After watching the ASMR video though, I felt utterly disgusted. The mother was on record saying it was fine, and that she was writing 'sassy' role-play stuff that has blatant sexual undertones. It felt to me like a clear case of child exploitation, given the number of subscribers and the mildly pornographic subtext.

I remember some time ago there was another popular youtube channel that was basically a case study on the root cause of Complex PTSD: the father would consistently gaslight one of his kids, under the guise of horseplay, in order to broadcast his kid's reaction to such bullying to a wider audience. Presumably because the parents were making bank from it.

This should not come as a surprise—the internet is full of anything you could imagine and 'rule 34' came about for a reason—but I didn't expect to see something bordering CP on Youtube. Given the monetisation model Youtube has now, I can see why popular YT 'stars' will completely detach from their humanity in order to bring home more bacon.


> I remember some time ago there was another popular youtube channel that was basically a case study on the root cause of Complex PTSD: the father would consistently gaslight one of his kids, under the guise of horseplay, in order to broadcast his kid's reaction to such bullying to a wider audience. Presumably because the parents were making bank from it.

You're thinking of DaddyOFive.

They lost custody of two of their kids (the ones they treated the worst) and eventually got banned from YouTube. Now they have a website, FamilyOFive (he numbers still work because 7 - 2 = 5), where they offer paid content.

I can't begin to understand what it takes, mentally, to lose two of your kids, and then come back to the internet asking for more eyeballs. They have a "Meet The Family" page on their site that omits two of the children, who are no longer part of their family as a result of their behavior. I would have probably had suicidal thoughts just writing that page, and I'm not making a joke or hyperbole here. Sure, who am I to say what sort of punishment they deserve? But good god, you lose two of your kids, you should either be angry or depressed or both, not going straight back to the life you had that led you there. I feel bad for these people.


I'm not sure if it's the same as what OP was referring to, but there are videos of an attractive Vietnamese woman and her children doing random things (e.g. playing with toys) on the floor, with the woman being in an otherwise decent dress, but then revealing bits of her body seemingly by mistake throughout the video. That is masked as "the life of a Vietnamese family" and gets +1M views, but is clearly just softcore nudity.


I don't understand why people do feel the need to sneak such videos as if they were innocent, in bloody YouTube... And why have children there present at all?!


Making the viewers/audience feel like they know or have some connection to the actress (or actor) makes what's effectively porn more rewarding for a lot of people. It's like a more mild form of the difference between looking at boobs on the internet vs your girlfriend sending you nudes (the latter being considered the superior product by most people). Pretty much every porn actress has a twitter/insta/snapchat they use to share mundane stuff in (often in addition to NSFW content). Celebrities in all industries (not just porn) do it too for the same reason. They want to "connect with their fans". Ocean Spray features its farmers on the back of its juice bottles for the same reason. People prefer a product (be that porn, music or a hipster beer) when they feel like they have a personal connection (genuine or not) to the people making it. Of course there's always a risk you rub the customers the wrong way.


Helps people remain in denial about what they are watching?


I think he is referring to these sorts of videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5aPc2wlLiA which are "slice of life" videos taken to their extreme. For an example, here is a slice of life one that isn't so extreme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhkE3e7lT_g


Could bootstrapping one or more YouTube channels starring trafficking victims be profitable enough to attract organized crime? Could someone who knows a bit about YouTube channel growth & revenue streams crunch some numbers to post here?

I assume that "bikini girl" prepended to any video title attract more views than videos of me. "old, chubby bald dude fishing in real life" doesn't seem like a great clickbait title. If there's enough money to be made in "slice of life" videos, I guess it could attract the attention of human traffickers.


> For an example, here is a slice of life one that isn't so extreme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhkE3e7lT_g

That was beautiful, and nothing at all like the sexual ones we're discussing.


I tried googling around for a couple minutes, but only found videos about human trafficking hosted in YouTube. I'm curious, too.


paymoneywubby did a video about it last month. https://youtu.be/hc4HzbD0GLI


I think the Internet has created a world in which the number of steps one needs to take before running headfirst into the Earth's greatest evils is getting shorter by the year. It's just going to get harder and harder to insulate yourself from this stuff.

I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing.


> I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing.

How do you think that could be a good thing? Seems like an obviously bad thing to me.


More awareness of evil means more political will to clean it up.


> More awareness of evil means more political will to clean it up.

Maybe, but it seems like people who fall into the echo chamber just vote for the evil doers instead.


I love me some H3H3, and watched this the other day. To me, the craziest part is that YouTube promoted it. To be fair, I'm sure it was an automated system that did it, and not by choice of YouTube but still. Seems like a thing they should have easily been able to quickly correct/fix manually.


Does YouTube have enough (any) moral compass to avoid making profit in preference to promoting gambling to children?

If they're not fined more than they profit then they're not going to change it.

The incentives of YouTube and Youtubers are aligned against the better interests of society; but that's true of a lot of capitalist activity -- the only way it is going to change is via mass action of the populous (direct action [which might be as simple as changing viewing habits], or legislation).


Yeah that’s why Lizzie-fair doesn’t work. We say that in 18th century UK!


Wait, do you mean "laissez-faire" ?


Yes


YouTube has gotten flak for being biased in their "Trending" promotions recently, so maybe they've taken more of a hands-off approach.


Yeah, I'm sure it's somewhat of a lose-lose for them. If they do it by hand, people will bitch about them "playing favorites", but if a automated system does it, you have problems like this.


Which is how you get people like me screaming at the platforms:

"Stop with this trending nonsense, stop with this "your friends liked" nonsense, stop with this "in case your missed it" nonsense, take your hands off me and just let me mindlessly click and watch whatever videos I feel like watching and react to the tweets I want to react to, I don't need your damn help knowing what my friends are doing or feeling like I need to like something because the platform detected that Jim liked it six hours ago since my last login".

For all this talk about FOMO, it's impossible for me, personally, to NOT look at the culpability the platforms have in it by nagging me all the time about what everyone else is doing and be annoyed by it. I know what they're doing, I see it. I don't need your helicopter parenting to know that, twitter. Keep the trolls in line, keep the lights on, otherwise get out of the way.


In the absence of deliberate algorithms a site like YT has few things to fall back on:

- Sort by time.

- Sort by creator/channel.

- Sort by creator selected content type (fallible).

- Search (a la Google, which sucks on Youtube).

- ???

I wonder if these would be sufficient? Maybe something like Reddit/HN is necessary; some human aggregation and interaction. Would a Reddit style interface work well for video?

A landing page with trending videos (upvotes, comments, threads, etc.), links out to popular subjects/sub-reddits, and so on. Perhaps with an interface like HN which forces people together in one kind of communication (in threads), generous wait periods for new members, and so on...

I suppose that only considers the viewer's use-case. What about monetization? What about creators?


> On the dark side we have channels bursting with (possibly) human trafficked vietnamese women producing sexual content masquerading as slice-of-life,

Wait what?


Why would you assume that woman (singular) is trafficked, and not an entrepenuer? Do you think her whole family was abducted and held hostage?


I honestly don't know if the woman in paymoneywubby's video is trafficked or not, but there were a lot of red flags that made me really uncomfortable when combined:

- Frequency and quantity of the uploads indicated she was doing these videos more than full-time

- No verbal interaction other than an occasional glare at cameraman

- Vietnam, not (say) America or Europe

I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt, but something makes me deeply uncomfortable about it.


[flagged]


I wasn't really thinking of race when I considered Vietnam as a red flag, though I suppose it could be taken that way.

In America I generally trust that the FBI will have no mercy when cracking down on human trafficking. I also trust that the vast majority of sex workers are legit, consenting people who consciously chose to do it.

I don't know much about Vietnam, but I am guessing police/FBI-esque corruption is much higher than America/Europe which is why I would also guess that this accounts for the larger percentage of sex workers there that are trafficked.


Your entire explanation is exactly what unconscious bias is. You look at Asians as "others" without knowing anything about their situation, automatically assume that the corruption is worse in Asian countries than "white" countries, even though there is immense amount of force prostitution and human trafficking in the US and Europe. I'm not attacking you but just pointing out that this is truly the definition of unconscious bias.


According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, at least, GP is exactly correct. Maybe it’s not unconscious bias so much as a general awareness of world affairs?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index


Prostitution is much more prevalent in vietnam than in the us. So I'm inclined to think there's a chance this could be a 'legit' operation.


> "Just because she's Vietnamese and not white"

How can you say "just because"? Several other reasons were plainly listed?


No, it's not. Southeast Asian, specifically Filipino, Thai, and Vietnamese women are the most commonly trafficked ethnic group worldwide.



That article doesn't address the discussion. First, it's five years old, and second it's talking about something that is somewhat different.

I might also note that I lived in southeast Asia for many years. There's a huge amount of trafficking that isn't being reported to the Atlantic website or the US State department there.


So, you have nothing to base your assertions on except for anecdotes and your own self-confidence in being right? I referred to a documented and researched article, and you dismiss it without any evidence?


Would you please not post in the flamewar style to HN?

If you'd review the guidelines at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow them, we'd appreciate it. This one is particularly relevant: "Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."


These 'mystery boxes' thing are super common in the gaming world. There are many websites in which you can bet money to open a mystery box containing a game, or in case of some games a skin for the game's weapons.

The websites themselves are very manipulative. First of all, many offer a "test spin", which usually gives you a very good prize just to lure you in. Secondly, they use popular Youtube personalities to perform "box opening" videos, they get e.g. 30 free box openings. What isn't told, is that it's trivial for the mystery box website to boost the winning chance for the youtuber so that people think "wow, it's so easy, I can win that too". Thirdly, when doing the spin animation, they usually show you that the prized possession you were after was just around the corner, you were very close. Just give it a one more spin, you'll surely get it this time!


Back in the legacy world of arcades and carnivals, Mark Rober did some nice videos about the analog/physic and electronic tricks of scam games:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_ZlWJ3qJI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXBfwgwT1nQ

It's quite a problem that all these gambling scams are (to more or lesser extent) regulated in geographic jurisdictions, but Internet-bsaed systems bypass all local sovereignty.

How long before the governments step up and demand that all Internet businesses get import licenses and traffic must pass through "customs" at each ISP "port of entry" for their goods and services?


Even CDPR (the darling of the gaming world) isn't above this. GOG (which is part of CDPR) has done this in the past. Give money, and get a random game.


Not just games - toys like Hatchimals and LOL dolls are just loot boxes targeting an even younger demographic, with similar unboxing videos to market them.


It was mostly the mobile games at first, then Valve went ham with the idea in their games and now that's the only original content they release.


The Paul brothers really give me the creeps. I'm old (50+) and don't understand them. My hipness crapped out around the time of Jackass on MTV, and this feels like the rich grandchild of that moment, except now they are entirely focused on money.

Same goes for PewDiePie. Who the hell sits down to actually watch him? I tried watching all three, and clearly I'm not their target.

The fame and influence they wield, is it more or less nefarious than using celebs to market pre 00's? It feels more so to me.

I finally understand the cultural gap my grandparents must have felt when I played my Atari 2600 all day and they just shook their heads.


I'm with you, and I'm not nearly as old as you (low 30s).

The YouTubers I follow rarely shill for anything I care about. In fact, I don't subscribe to much at all because I honestly don't want to get a stream of mediocre content. I don't understand Twitch (I only watch gameplay videos to get a sense of the gameplay, not to live vicariously through someone else), and I don't understand those stupid "unboxing" and "playing with toys" videos that my kids like so much. In fact, I go so far as to actively discourage YouTube with my children, instead moving them toward Netflix, which had much better production value and usually includes some education.

However, I have acquaintances that love watching streamers, and my wife follows a few live streamers religiously and gets involved in live chat and whatnot. I see that they enjoy that content and I've read literature about it, but I cannot relate.


> Who the hell sits down to actually watch him?

Children



Regardless of whether gambling or gambling advertisements are ethically acceptable: A "provably fair" system [1] ensures that no one is scammed and the client can be 100% sure that the odds are not manipulated in any way.

However, when examining the "provably fair" system used by this specific site mysterybrand.net, one can see that the commonly used algorithms have deliberately been manipulated in a way such that the actual draws done on the server can be arbitrary without respecting any predeclared odds.

E.g., the verification site just checks whether md5($randomClientSeed + $publicServerHash) == md5($randomClientSeed + $publicServerHash), based on things which are all known pre-roll, and which is obviously true, not involving the $secretServerSeed at all. It's a joke. They even link to the URL mentioned above, but their implementation is completely wrong.

Still not saying that I am pro/con gambling, but just seeing a website at least implementing the provably fair system in a non-malicious way, it would be a start.

[1] https://dicesites.com/provably-fair


Please change my mind if you believe otherwise but I feel like this is all a consequence of YouTube completely screwing creators over when it comes to copyright and ad-revenue. The site's been going downhill since YouTube's refusal to actually fight for its content creators and decision to run with big name corporations as their preferred content producers. While corporate channels are gaining incredible amounts of promotion, immunity and power, others had their incomes completely gutted.

Some people have seen something like this ahead of many others, people like LinusTechTips, who, for years now worked on partnerships with companies to gain relevant sponsors but many others didn't and were hit hard by all this. YouTube even removed their abilities to link their Patreon as part of their videos, if I remember correctly.

Realistically speaking, I'm unsure what the real solution to this would be, other than YouTube doing its best to provide its creators a stable source of income..

(And on a small side-note: ads on YouTube itself have become quite dodgy, here in Eastern Europe. I keep seeing video and image ads for shoddy gambling sites, Russian singles sites (not even kidding!) and weird Jesus-cults. I am having very real flashbacks to the early 2000s Warez-internet.)


From the TOS of the company website:

> These terms are interpreted and are subject to the jurisdiction and the laws of Poland

Which is really intriguing, since organizing any form of lottery or chance-based game is so complicated, that virtually nobody who knows anything about the subject would dare to try.

When I worked in advertising nobody in their right mind would create a promotional campaign with prizes given away to randomly picked winners, there had to be objective criteria (skill, talent, popular vote etc). E.g. when we made a memo-like browser game, the lawyers said we need to show all the cards for a few seconds, so there's an element of skill (memorization of the board) instead of chance (the cards being randomly distributed). And if my memory serves, finishing the game was required to enter the contest, but to win the prize there was an extra text field where participants had to answer something like "why would you like to win the prize?", and the best answer, picked by a jury, was awarded.

There were people playing poker with family and friends raided by police. (I think poker is now considered at leat partially skill based and some laws were fixed since).

There were teachers going trough hell when trying to make a simple lottery as a part of school fund raiser event.

If they really operate in / from Poland, it may not take long for this to get shut down if the authorities get involved.

Edit: found a detailed overview of the regulations in English here: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/8-635-6028?transi...


If they are really a lottery, they are betting it on nobody from Poland taking interest in them, because lotteries in Poland are de-facto state monopoly due to amount of requirements imposed on lottery organizers:

Lottery draws are done in presence of commission including members of state's Commission of games and gambling (Komisja gier i zakładów - KGiZ).

Commission members are named in document describing game's terms and conditions.

Commission records and protocols drawing process, and stores those because lottery participants have unconditional right to request access to them.

Possible fines went into millions of PLN - enough to sink small company and piss off larger one.

I've been working at advertising agency doing lotteries for certain big home brand. The way we did that was paying 3rd party company with ties to KGiZ for organizing those, because it was crazy to try doing it otherwise.


> There were people playing poker with family and friends raided by police. (I think poker is now considered at leat partially skill based and some laws were fixed since).

Only if they take a rake. There is nothing illegal about playing poker for money privately with friends. However, if there is a fee paid to the house, especially in the form of rake for tournaments or hands in ring games, then you are now breaking the law, if you are transacting in USD in the US.


Other than being youtubers, what's the difference between them and NJTransit promoting DraftKings for months?

TV networks and media outlets like thedailybeast also push gambling ads to casinos, vegas, online gambling, etc.


Casinos, and maybe draft kings are regulated on how much they have to pay out, and actually do pay out. These sites may not bother to pay out, and who knows the odds...


If you haven't seen the videos, one of the prizes that is redeemable in the "box" is a $250 million home in LA, only there is no evidence that this is even in the box, no pictures outside a stock photo off the internet, no odds of winning, nothing. They could easily just have put it there as a joke to trick people. As far as I know draft kings actually works as intended, you bet and win/lose depending on real world results that are verifiable. Here it is a super obfuscated slot machine with no guarantees of anything.


Audience is mostly minors.


I was curious about the videos in question. This is Jake Pauls': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wO2RIEKMSg

It's so awful! How is this so popular?


https://youtu.be/fTu8jzVXTi0

It's popular among children who like the high energy, intense emotions, and jump cuts. They also mix in base humor while heavily cross promoting among themselves. So their viewers feel like they're part of team or a movement or whatever.


It's fashion, crossed with cult.

The death of fixed-timetable broadcast TV feeds in to it too - as with soap operas it gives people some common ground to use in social situations (kids at school, for example).


That's a very interesting video, thanks for sharing.


From the article:

> Paul, for example, has acknowledged that the bulk of his fanbase is between 8 and 15 years old.

An age range not known for taste.


It's not abouse taste, its about youthful ignorance and trust/gullibility and child-abusing predators who prey on them, and their caregivers (parents but also governments) that fail to educate and protect them.

Let's also not forget that the Paul brothers fame was created by the Disney regime.


Should a kid of 8 even be able to watch those video's without violating the terms of agreement Youtube requires users to accept? Or are these video's available on Youtube's kids channel as well?


A youtuber called tmartn got into trouble doing something akin to gambling and lootboxes a few years ago. So scummy considering most of his subscribers were kids.


tmartn's trouble was especially disgusting because he owned the site that we was "advertising" that he had "found".


I guess if you see Blizzard, EA, etc. making money hand-over-fist then there's a strong temptation to replicate that?


I find the linked tweets from another Youtuber [1] and a random person [2] quite informative about the mentality that is apparently present in the Youtuber sphere. Reminder: this is about channels with a significant acknowledged underage audience.

[1] https://mobile.twitter.com/KEEMSTAR/status/10802743994109542...

[2] https://mobile.twitter.com/protecdaniel/status/1080384613988...


This is straight up evil and Google and the shills for the gambling should all be held accountable.


PewDiePie just called them out in his latest video.


The linked site seems broken ATM (no certificate being served, page content blank), but the WBM has it: https://web.archive.org/web/20190103122009/https://www.theda...


This has been an ongoing issue in the world of CSGO for a very long time, and CS is finally slowly beating it. It took a lot of great journalism from Richard Lewis to beat it.

If you're curious you can for example check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFpwOzfXErs


The television industry has had many years to build out rules/regs and basic standards for content. Is it time to start treating youtube posters as television stations and regulate them similarly?


[a bit of a tangent rant here]

Beyond how despicable it is that these YouTube "stars" are promoting this, it's really interesting to see how these concept of a website even came about. I don't know much about the origins of it, but I'm going to assume they took a play from the modern gaming industry playbook. It was only a matter of time that someone realized modern gaming companies are "geniuses" in their execution of this same thing in their games. It's crazy that these gaming companies are causing such big problems for our youth by all the microtransactions and addiction problems in their triple A title games. I know some countries have done a great job regulated it (Germany, I believe?), but that regulation really needs to make its way to the USA to kill off these greedy parasites. It really is starting to be a black cloud around a lot of the modern gaming industry. I would rather pay double the price of a game (~$60), and have no microtransactions at all, vs these games that charge full price and then put have the content behind a paywall of microtransactions -- cosmetic or not. /rant haha


It's kinda Valve's fault. Team Fortress 2 was the first major game in the west to implement loot boxes; the CS:GO skins economy spawned a legion of scummy third-party gambling sites, from which this site is clearly derived.

Weirdly, it may also partly be the fault of former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/economics/it-all-began-with-a...


Isn't it ironic to blame Valve, when they're pretty much the only ones doing it right ?

By restricting microtransactions to cosmetic elements, the thing they play on is one's vanity. Players who are content exploring the gameplay can do so unencumbered. There is no "special club" for players who buy items. They don't beat you more easily in the games. The main focus is still on winning the matches.

There is no incentive to buy those cosmetic items except players thinking "I want to look cool". Whatever Valve may do, that's not a vice they are responsible for creating, or that anyone is ever exempt from (we all have to buy clothes). They merely brought it, opt-in, to their games.


"I want to look cool" is a very strong motivation. A particularly rare and sought-after CS:GO skin could be worth as much as $2000. Valve actively support the exchange of virtual items for real money via the Community Market, and provide market access to third-party sites via an API.

That combination of factors has created a hive of scum and villainy. CS:GO skins became the ideal unit of value for unregulated gambling sites - they're highly liquid, they have a stable value, they're freely exchangeable for real money and there's no KYC or age verification checks.

The mechanics and appearance of Mystery Brand are almost identical to numerous existing CS:GO gambling sites; they even use the same colour-coding for the rarity of items. Some CS:GO gambling sites already offer real-world prizes like electronics and designer clothing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_gambling

https://hellcase.com/en/open/knifelife

https://www.csgolive.com/case/Millionaire%20Case%20%28vIRL%2...


Your thesis rests on the opinion that merely "creating freely exchangable tokens of value" is a sin in itself.

I'm sure that's a defensible position, but far from common sense. I certainly don't agree with it.


The issue is that children should not have access to gamble with real world currency.


Except they created a market place without restriction to sell / trade those items. So yes Valve is to blame. The whole thing with auction house on third party sites is Valve fault, not sure how you can defend them.

Also it's not only cosmetic since you can have weapons / items in those crates.


+ many items can be bought very cheaply (cents) for TF2 if you want to have some fancy hat or skinned weapon on marketplaces (most of my TF2 items are << $1)


Right. Most hats are worth 1.33 ref, which works out to be around 7.4 cents max.

The issue is that unusuals (with only a 1% chance of unboxing) are the real prizes of mann co crates, and because regular hats are so cheap, the base level of "coolness" rises such that regular hats just aren't that fashionable.


Valve wasn't "doing it right". What they did was deeply immoral and if there was any justice in this world many Valve employees would be rotting in prison. They knew their system was promoting gambling to children and they thought that was great. Valve is a despicable company.


I think it's fascinating, in a dark way, how this site has just stripped the most valuable part from modern AAA games and simply done away with the video game facade.


It goes back farther than "modern gaming" -- it harkens back to classing "gaming" industry -- casino gambling.


YouTube is a website that entirely fulfills the idea that no publicity is bad publicity.

Which is a shame, because there's shows like Binging with Babish which are quite nice.

edit - remove comment because apparently Logan Paul and Jake Paul are not the same person, they just seem like it.


That was a different Paul brother - Logan Paul - albeit he's an equally awful person.


The suicide forest incident was Logan Paul, his brother.


People were saying that for years. We didn’t listen. Now we are all ears. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage...




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