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Blip.tv deletes Python content (holdenweb.blogspot.co.uk)
79 points by ubernostrum 1417 days ago | hide | past | web | 25 comments | favorite

Maybe it's cynical of me, but this reads like an admission that the company is failing and trying to cut costs to keep the lights on a bit longer. As a content hosting company you don't irrevocably delete your customers' data without warning and then expect "the best original web series" to rely on your service.

Still, I'm a bit surprised that there was no offer to transition to a paid tier or an opportunity to download your media first. Yes, the users should have had local copies, but it's a fact of life that some people won't.

EDIT: I'm basing my assumption of no offer to download your content on of Osvaldo Santana Neto's blog post comment. From jsdalton's HN comment[1] and the replies to it, that may or may not be correct.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7008324

As noted elsewhere, notification seems to have been the big issue. I've spoken to some (reputable) people, who said that they basically just got lucky by randomly logging in shortly before the big wipe happened, and seeing a "This account is expiring" notice which gave them enough heads-up to grab copies if they didn't have them already. They didn't receive emails or any other type of off-site notification.

So someone who didn't log in to their blip account might well be totally screwed, since they wouldn't have known they needed to make or check on their backups.

For Adium we got an email confirmation ~3 weeks before things went away. I'm not sure how (if at all) we configured that. Seems like a short notification window, but at least we got an email.

Did the owner(s) of the Python account not get that email?

They were recently acquired by Maker Studios. I wonder if this part of some sort of migration or shutdown of the service.


I don't know how similar the situation was, but Blip.tv did this to Rich Hickey's Clojure videos a year ago.


    > @blip tv cancels the #Clojure video series without 
    > warning, after 4 years of my being a paid customer! 
    > If you were a viewer, let them know.
(Vids were since moved to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ClojureTV)

Blip was already going downhill for a long time, but this is the final nail in the coffin. By deleting without the option of recovery (so that content producers can't retrieve and re-host elsewhere), they have demonstrated firmly in my mind that they cannot be trusted with content, and the broader community should be aware of this.

> [...] they cannot be trusted with content

It's sad to see that this has not become a standard assumption. I knew people over a decade ago who lost awesome websites they created/curated because their hosting provider had a data loss event and no relevant backups.

It makes no more sense to trust a hosting service as the sole repository of critical data than a single hard drive. Consider the rule of thumb that important data should have three physically separate copies to significantly reduce the risk of data loss. (E.g. RAID does not count.)

As Blip illustrates, organizations have many non-technical SPOFs[1] even if we assume (chuckle) they have taken all possible measures against normal physical data loss. This means that individuals and even online communities need to practice methods to preserve important data under the assumption that all storage devices and/or providers will ultimately fail.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_point_of_failure

That's really sucky, but I'm surprised that they didn't give the opportunity to download the source content? We got the exact same notice but were given 30 days to download our videos. This is the relevant part of the email I received:

We want to give you the opportunity to download your episodes if you don’t have them saved or backed up. We’re giving you a 30-day window to do this using the following page on the producer dashboard:


People I've talked to say that they didn't get any emails or such about it. Some content may have been saved due to someone fortuitously logging into their account and seeing a "You're about to expire" notice.

But overall the way this was handled seems to be terrible, and not even close to how I'd go about trying to show off a company as a place to bring content to.

I am a long time reader of HN. I was planning to introduce a site that we are working some time in the coming month and get HN feedback. But based on the discussion in this thread, I believe this will be a good time to talk about it. The URL for the site is www.reedwith.us and is currently in beta.

This is a site where you can upload any professional content like a video, a pdf or a presentation using your LinkedIn user name and password and discuss. To serve the professional community needs, in the topic and discussion sections physical, mathematical and chemical equations and code snippets can be included.

For example, if you type "perceptual" in the search bar, Perceptual grouping presentation will be shown as a result. You can look at the presentation. If you scroll down on the page you will see the Topic and Discussion sections. There, you will see code snippets, equations etc. You can start a new topic or participate in the discussion. You can also form groups and discuss privately with members of your team.

We are very interested in hosting the videos that were deleted by blip.tv. In addition, you can upload any professional content that you would to like share with public or a private group.

It is still a work in progress and I would be very happy to hear from you through this site or using the contact us form located in http://reedwith.us/contact.html

That looks nice, and useful, but giving you access to my linkedin account is a no-go. I get enough spam from it as it is.

Thanks for your feedback. We are using LinkedIn authentication, to ensure that the content and discussion in the site will be professional.

We do not intend to send any unnecessary email to any of our users. I hate getting spam and I do not want to spam my users. We have set up the site, so that users have to opt-in for us to send any news-letter etc. They can choose to receive news-letter by going to their 'Settings' page.

When users form private groups, groups members will be notified via email. This is the only occasion when we send email to users.

Also, you do not have to login to view the content or read the discussion. However, you need to login to upload content, participate in discussion, form private groups etc.

Some might be saved at https://archive.org/details/bliptv see http://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Blip.tv

Also long ago IIRC blip.tv had an upload option to make a copy of the the upload at the Internet Archive. Not sure how many uploaders used it or how long it was in place.

Copying your important media to the Internet Archive is always a good idea, whether you're originally publishing to someplace like blip or yt, or self-hosting.

I'm wondering whether this would be a good moment for the tech communities to implement their own decentralized video hosting infrastructure.

I'd imagine a specialized command line capable bittorrent client that automatically transcodes content to the best/preferred video format for streaming.

Each community could then setup a couple of official servers to share the load by indefinitaly seeding the content. These servers could autosubscribe to each others contents, knowing that their content is curated by the respective community. Determined individuals and companies could setup slave clients for these official master nodes.

If the communities agree on the core functionality they could even have a kind of competition over the best imlementation in their respective language, python, clojure, whatever.

This way we could get away from the proprietary video hosting sites and their annoyances (eg. automated DCMA takedowns without proper review).

not all python content was removed.

this account was specifically kept open as a service to the community: http://blip.tv/pycon-us-videos-2009-2010-2011

if anyone knows of other important pycon content that was deleted in the past few months, please email links or blip account names to support at blip tv.

You do know that you're doing this backwards, don't you?


They did the same with clojure videos a year ago.

Anytime you use a free service, you do so with the full knowledge that this is the likely eventual outcome. I'm amazed that people are still so 'shocked and outraged' every single time something like this happens.

As noted in another comment, paid customers who put up developer-education material have also been shut down, since they're no longer the type of content Blip wants to have.

To be fair, paid services can also go out of businesses abruptly. There's really no substitute for keeping backups of your own data.

Why would this be intrinsic to a free service?

"As of $date, our pricing tier no longer allows for $X GB of data. You have until $otherdate to upgrade before we delete the difference."

"We're shutting down so here's a refund. Oh, and we're going offline immediately. Bye!"

A subscription or paid option doesn't make a business solvent even a little bit. It might be easier, but the business model must still be sustainable & viable.

True. But when a company is giving you something for free, it's absurd to expect that company to keep giving it to you. It could disappear at any moment and you don't really have a leg to stand on in terms of wanting any more from them.

I bet it was the Killer Joke they removed for our sake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I3zCQzZx68


It's not just python content, they have been doing this with various content that has small audiences ("underperforming content").

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