It was nigh on half a decade ago that I first met the fell demon they call Goatse.cx. It haunted my dreams – the ring, the red, the evident pleasure – and even today I am loath to type in those five consonants and three vowels without a shudder.
Brave men and women, we need fear no more.
A group of powerful conjurers have banished the Dark Bane of Goatse to the Nether Regions and are changing the domain into an email provider. A safe, calm, and beautiful email provider.
They have created an IndieGogo page for their project and have all already surpassed their funding goal of $10,000. For $50, you can get a 10-year Goatse.cx email account and for $140 you can be part of the Goatse Hall of Fame, a graphical representation of your bravery in facing that foul demon once again. Incidentally, the conjurers note that the email address could exist for life if all goes according to plan.
I wanted to offer accounts “$50 For Life” but for legal reasons I am unable to offer services “For Life”. Instead, it is $50 with a 10 year service and I will then attempt to keep the service going without further charges. Moore’s Law will have hopefully reduced the running costs significantly by 2023, and the email forwarding will likely be cheap enough for me to keep the service running in perpetuity. In summary – I have every intention of maintaining this indefinitely but for legal reasons I can only commit to 10 years.
You will never have to visit the website (which is now SFW). You’re essentially getting the right to use your Goatse.cx email address with almost any email provider using “send as” functionality. Why anyone in their right mind would want to associate their name with the Gaping Goat Man Of Hades is beyond me, but it’s available and I’m sure there are a lot of good names still available.
N.B.: If you don’t know why this domain is unique or unusual, for heaven’s sake please do not look up goatse.cx on Google. I’m absolutely serious. To those not so lucky perhaps this piece of Goatse will help assuage that first, deep grief felt when you realized just what was going on in that picture.
Last week at CES, Netflix announced that a number of ISPs had adopted its Open Connect technology, which provides a more direct connection between it and a cable operator, lowering the cost of delivery and increasing the quality of its streaming video. And for those who do participate, Netflix has a bonus: Due to those efficiencies, it will be able to offer up Super HD and 3D video to their broadband subscribers.
But here’s the flip side: One cable provider is arguing that because Netflix isn’t offering it Super HD or 3D content, that it is essentially discriminating against ISPs based on whether they deploy Open Connect boxes. Time Warner Cable sent a statement to Multichannel News which reads:
“While they call it ‘Open Connect,’ Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs… We believe it is wrong for Netflix to withhold any content formats from our subscribers and the subscribers of many other ISPs. Time Warner Cable’s network is more than capable of delivering this content to Netflix subscribers today.”
Forgetting the irony of a cable provider for preferential treatment of the services it provides over their network, here’s the real punchline to this story. If Netflix weren’t witholding Super HD content, Time Warner Cable would likely be crying foul over how the streams its subscribers generate were choking its network and slowing down data connections for everyone. It’s true — Time Warner Cable can deliver that content today, but in doing so, it would be creating incredible strain on network peering points, and it would drive up Netflix’s CDN costs.
The whole point of Netflix’s Open Connect is to relieve that strain and to make delivery of high-quality video more efficient for all parties involved. And doing so makes ultra high-quality and 3D video delivery more affordable and actually kind of tenable. In that sense, providing access to providers who are willing to directly peer with Netflix and cache locally only makes sense.
But making sense doesn’t always count when you’re an incumbent video provider and you have a smaller competitor nipping at your heels with a lower-priced offering. Netflix already takes up about a quarter of all peak downstream traffic.
Even so, Netflix can’t match the quality that can be delivered via coax — not over IP — and Time Warner Cable and other incumbent providers have little incentive to enable it to do so. By installing Open Connect boxes free of charge and peering with Netflix, cable companies would basically be giving it the tools to also offer comparable picture quality. But why would they?
Meanwhile, some cable providers — most notably Comcast — have used their last-mile connections as a competitive advantage against streaming video services. At a time where data caps loom large, Comcast enabled its streaming video service delivered via Xbox game consoles to operate without counting against those caps. Not so for Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming services available via Xbox.
Time Warner Cable isn’t Comcast. And one of the reasons that this fight with Netflix is especially surprising is that, unlike Comcast, Time Warner Cable has been pretty straightforward about leading with its broadband services rather than its video services. It recognizes that in the future one of its key differentiators will be its ability to quickly deliver Internet services — including streaming video services — to its subscribers.
If Time Warner Cable were really serious about that, it would work with Netflix on making its delivery better. Instead, it’s blaming Netflix for not clogging its network further.
View original post here: In The Fight Between Netflix And Cable Operators, High-Quality Streaming Video Is Being Held Hostage
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Type and Budget: Fixed price ( $500 – $1,000) Escrow
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Paymill, the Rocket-Internet incubated online payments company that works like developer-friendly Stripe by offering users an API to quickly integrate card transactions, is today announcing that it has picked up €10 million ($13.2 million) in funding. Rocket regular Holtzbrinck Ventures participated, along with new investor Sunstone Capital, a backer of companies like Prezi and Trunk. Rocket has confirmed that this is the first time Sunstone has invested in a Rocket-backed company.
The Rocket Internet spokesperson also tells me that to date, Paymill, which is active in 34 countries, has now raised funding in the region of “double digit million euros” — although, as is par for the course with many of the Samwer’s businesses, we don’t have an exact figure yet. Other investors in Paymill are Rocket Internet and RI Digital (another Rocket vehicle).
The news comes as other Rocket businesses also continue to grow — among the most recent, fashion site Zalando has created a luxury goods spinoff, Emeza. I have also had a tip (along with others) that the Samwers may be looking to go public, although the company would not to comment on the report.
Paymill says it will be using the new funds to expand its footprint in Europe and elsewhere, as well as further develop its technology.
“The investments by Holtzbrinck Ventures and Sunstone Capital reinforce our leading innovative position in the European online payment market and will help us to continue our rapid growth,” said Mark Henkel, CEO of Paymill, in a statement. “Especially, we will use the funds to further improve our technical platform and to enhance our customer care. It’s our goal that everyone can accept online payments fast and easily.”
Like Stripe, which has been described as the “Twilio of payments” because integrating the payment service into an app or site is as easy as adding a line of code — making it possible for said app or site to then accept payments using major card networks at the touch of a button — Paymill has been building its service on the back of the rapid rise of native and web apps.
Its charges are similar to those of Stripe — in Paymill’s case, a per-transaction fee of 28 euro cents, plus a one-time fee of 2.95% of the transaction amount.
So far the two have not butted heads in any single market since Stripe is only in the U.S. and Canada, and Paymill is strongest in Europe. That follows the pattern that the Samwer Brothers usually take of building out their “clones” in markets where the originals have yet to move. And whether you are a fan of that strategy or not, more than once their clones have become the object of acquisitions for the originals as they look to expand with inorganic growth.
It’s fair to guess that Paymill will likely follow in the footsteps of other Rocket properties like Payleven (its riff on dongle-based mobile payments a la Square), Lazada (an Amazon take-off in Asia) and Dafiti (clothes and shoes, think Zappos here, in South America) and build up its business focusing on emerging markets.
In some, like Southeast Asia, Rocket is working hard to develop full-on “marketplaces” for other merchants to sit on its e-commerce platform — eg Lazada, which recently got a $26M investment of its own — so this would be an obvious place for Paymill to integrate and expand its business as well.
Full release below.
Paymill receives €10m investment to fund further expansion
Munich 7th, January 2013 – Paymill, the innovative payment service provider, has received an investment of 10 million Euro by Holtzbrinck Ventures and Sunstone Capital. The company gives online stores and service providers on the internet the ability to integrate common payment methods into their platform, especially online card payments. Paymill is already active in 34 countries across Europe and other regions.
Mark Henkel, CEO of Paymill: “The investments by Holtzbrinck Ventures and Sunstone Capital reinforce our leading innovative position in the European online payment market and will help us to continue our rapid growth. Especially, we will use the funds to further improve our technical platform and to enhance our customer care. It’s our goal that everyone can accept online payments fast and easily.”
Paymill is well positioned for further rapid growth and international expansion: Paymill is currently receiving a double digit million euro in total financing. Investors include Rocket Internet, Holtzbrinck Ventures, RI Digital and Sunstone Capital.
Paymill gives online stores and service providers on the internet the ability to integrate common payment methods and especially card payments on their websites. The very simple API, the fast onboarding process and the transparent price, in combination with comprehensive customer support set Paymill apart from other popular payment providers. Integration of the service is substantially facilitated for merchants by simple copying and pasting of a few lines of code into the source code of their websites. The service includes providing of payment methods and secure payment processing in the background. Paymill is the first provider to have brought this simple and user-friendly technical solution to Europe.
Paymill GmbH was founded in Munich, Germany, in June 2012 by Mark Henkel. The management team is complemented by Dr. Stefan Sambol, Jörg Sutara and Kilian Thalhammer. The company currently employs 25 staff, mostly with a technical background. Paymill is active in 34 countries across Europe and other regions. For more information go to www.paymill.com.